INQUIRER: A. Thomas McLellan, the former Penn professor whose appointment last year as the top federal official on addiction treatment was widely seen as signaling a dramatic shift in drug policy, is planning to resign. “There’s no deep dark secret here – I’m just ill-suited to government work,” McLellan said in an interview with the newsletter Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly. McLellan, the deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is known as a straight-talking, get-it-done kind of scientist. “I guess I could be called a ready, fire, aim kind of guy,” McLellan, 62, said in an interview with the Inquirer earlier this year. “Government is ready, aim . . . aim . . . aim . . . you get the drift?” But friends, colleagues – and McLellan himself – had had hoped that his passion for the field would hold him in Washington. McLellan, a leading scientist on drug addiction who cofounded the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, pioneered the view that addiction is a chronic disease like diabetes that needs to be managed over the long term. His views dovetail with those of his boss, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, the former police chief of Seattle, who has repeatedly stated his belief that treatment is at least as important as law enforcement in attacking the nation’s issues with illegal drugs – a view that has been politically unpopular in the past. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: Two years ago, happily rehabbing his boat and content directing a leading research center on Independence Mall, McLellan had no interest in Washington. Then his 30-year-old son died of a combination of antianxiety medication and alcohol poisoning; his older son was in treatment at the Betty Ford Center at the time. When Joe Biden called and personally asked him to join the new administration, McLellan said, he saw the personal tragedy as “maybe a sign” that he should go where he could have the greatest impact. His job, as deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is to reduce demand for illegal drugs. A big test of his influence is due in the coming days, when President Obama releases his National Drug Control Strategy. The document, written by McLellan and his boss, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, will guide the actions of 11 federal agencies that deal with drugs, from education to homeland security. MORE
RELATED: The release of the National Drug Control Strategy, a detailed blueprint for how the federal government deals with issues of illegal drugs and underage drinking that is written by McLellan and Kerlikowske, has been expected for more than two months but repeatedly delayed. Both men have talked in bits and pieces about its emphasis on treatment, and it was not known whether the delay had anything to do with McLellan’s decision. MORE
RADIO TIMES: Philadelphia is moving toward changing how minor marijuana possession offenses will be treated. Joining Marty to discuss the changes and what prompted them are Philadelphia District Attorney SETH WILLIAMS and CHRIS GOLDSTEIN of Philly NORML, an advocacy group opposing marijuana prohibition. Then, we’ll talk to Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, about a recent poll they conducted that showed widespread support for the legal use of medical marijuana, as well as growing support for marijuana legalization.
WEBCAMGATE UPDATE: The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district. More than once, the motion asserts, a laptop camera took photos of Harriton High School sophomore Blake Robbins as he slept in his bed. The motion, filed in federal court late Thursday by his lawyers, says that each time the camera took Robbins’ picture, it fired the image off to network servers at the School District. Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into “a little LMSD soap opera,” a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program. “I know, I love it,” she is quoted as having replied. MORE
A NEW LOW: Matthew Clemmens, a 21-year-old from South Jersey, took boorish behavior at a sporting event to an all-time low at Wednesday’s Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, authorities said. Police said that Clemmens shoved his fingers down his throat and vomited on the 11-year-old daughter of off-duty Easton Police Capt. Michael Vangelo, then slugged the cop in the head several times. “It was the most vile, disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” said Vangelo, “and I’ve been a cop for 20 years.” MORE