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Welcome remarks for Nixon Legacy Forum “No Final Victories: Lessons from President Nixon’s Drug Abuse Initiatives”

Good morning.  I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the Untied States, and am here to welcome you to another of the Nixon Legacy Forums that we co-sponsor with the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Welcome to those attending in person here in the William G. McGowan Theater in the National Archives Building in Washington DC, and also to those of you tuning in through our YouTube Channel.

We started doing these in 2010 and have now put on over three dozen such programs, which feature in-depth discussions of various public policy initiatives undertaken by the Nixon administration. 

Documents concerning these initiatives are housed in the archives kept at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.  What these programs add are the insights and explanations of the discussions and debates behind those documents – by the very people who created them -- which can provide unique insights into the policy development and implementation process utilized by President Nixon.

What we are adding today is the ability to electronically retrieve relevant documents from the Nixon Library archives, which will be posted on our website at the same time as the video of today’s presentation.  We are most pleased to be working with the Nixon Foundation to make this combination of documents and their authors available to future researchers and scholars.

Today’s presentation is titled, “No Final Victories:  Lessons from President Nixon’s Drug Abuse Initiatives,” and we’re going to hear from several people, from both the treatment and law enforcement side, who were involved in responses of the Nixon administration to the spread of Heroin addiction in our inner cities in the late 1960s.

Here’s the essence of the issue:  Heroin has been a scourge to society ever since it was first developed as a treatment for morphine addition by Bayer in 1898.  Did Nixon administration initiatives really have Heroin addiction on the run when we lost focus – or are opioids a continuing threat that can never be eliminated?

Please let me introduce the moderator of today’s forum, Geoff Shepard.  Geoff joined the Nixon administration as a White House Fellow in 1969 and then served for five years on President Nixon’s White House Domestic Council.