In between slurps of soup and sips of coffee, Jindrich Voboril tells a story of his youth that would sell out a Broadway theater. He lived on and off the streets in his hometown of Brno, Czechoslovakia, running with local gangs. By age 12, he was burning through 30 cigarettes a day and says he moved on to hard drugs by his teenage years. By the mid-’80s, Voboril was a 17-year-old dropout who played guitar in a rock band and had joined the nation’s preeminent anti-communist organization, Charter 77, before becoming … a Catholic, organizing underground religious activities — back then, religious people were persecuted by the government.
Friends, meet the unlikeliest top-level bureaucrat on planet Earth.
The 49-year-old Voboril isn’t your typical paper pusher. Think of him as the drug czar, coordinating drug policy for the Czech Republic. But he’s no hammer-fisted police officer. He’s a psychotherapist and the founder of one of the country’s largest drug-related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), who’s using a variety of progressive programs to tackle record-high underage drinking and smoking as well as rising meth production. Though little-known even in his own country, Voboril has a sophisticated approach to drug policy that has countries from Latin America to neighboring Eastern Europe seeking to emulate him. And he’s trying to make the upcoming 2016 Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on the World Drug Problem his big stage with a resolution that will open the door for progressive policies like decriminalization of use and possession.
– Read the entire article at Ozy.