FRANKFORT, Ky. – Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence and Sylvia Lovely, interim executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy, met today with John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to share ideas and discuss efforts on the national and state level to reduce substance abuse.
During the meeting, Walters expressed that he was very pleased with Kentucky’s aggressive approach to the drug problem and equally impressed with the Commonwealth’s unique direction in requiring a balance in the domains that address substance abuse – prevention-education, treatment and enforcement.
"Kentucky faces a variety of drug threats which can be reduced by a balanced approach that attacks both supply and demand. Nationally teen drug use has gone down by 11 percent. This is because when we push back against illegal drugs the problem gets smaller. I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence to combat those who wish to traffic illegal drugs in our communities," Walters said.
Walters emphasized the need to assure that prevention-education, treatment and enforcement remain unified in their approach and continually understand the need to have a centralized office not to usurp their authority or control their missions, but to effectively administer a policy that works in contrast to what has been in the last 30 to 40 years.
The meeting between Walters, the lieutenant governor and Lovely was arranged based on the national director being scheduled nearby in Ohio to announce that six new counties in that state had been added to the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The group decided to meet at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to talk about Kentucky’s Statewide Drug Control Assessment Summit, the new Office of Drug Control Policy and outcome-based initiatives, among other issues.
"This was the perfect opportunity to share with Mr. Walters and the Office of National Drug Control Policy about the Commonwealth’s new plan to address the drug problem and to hear his thoughts from the national level," Lieutenant Governor Pence said. "The ONDCP and Kentucky’s ODCP are like-minded in that they both understand the importance of a balanced policy involving prevention-education, treatment and enforcement in impacting the drug problem."
Lovely, who is heading the Commonwealth’s ODCP until a permanent director is in place, said she was pleased that the group was able to meet.
"Since Governor Fletcher announced the creation of the ODCP, we have been meeting with people from every area of substance abuse to talk about issues and ideas, and it was a pleasure to be able to do so with the director of the ONDCP," said Lovely, who also is the executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities. "That federal agency has grassroots initiatives to fight the drug problem. They know, like we do, that community involvement in reducing substance abuse is essential. That is where the victories must be – at the local level."