A. Thomas McLellan, the former University of Pennsylvania professor whose appointment as the top federal official on addiction treatment was widely seen as signaling a dramatic shift in drug policy, is planning to resign, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There's no deep dark secret here – I'm just ill-suited to government work,” McLellan told the newsletter Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly. McLellan, 62, is the deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
McLellan 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, who has repeatedly stated 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. 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, has been expected for more than two months but repeatedly delayed. It was not known whether the delay had anything to do with McLellan's decision.