Michael Botticelli's speech about drug addiction draws from his personal experiences, as well as the ways in which he has been involved socially and politically to end the stigma and improve treatment for this disease.
Botticelli spoke about his experience with coming out in the 1980s, when there was enormous stigma associated with the gay community – particularly in relation to HIV/AIDS. He talked about how this stigma, while still prevalent, exists much less now than it did just a couple decades ago. He compared this plight to drug addiction, and the fact that despite evidence that suggests the drug addiction is a disease, there is still a heavy stigma attached to addiction and as a result, he feels more comfortable coming out as a gay man than as a recovering addict.
Botticelli has done more than just lead by example through his recovery – he was employed as the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control policy under President Obama, where he worked towards his goal of expanding health services and reducing the stigma that is associated with this disease.