Charles O’Keeffe, M.B.A.
Virginia Commonwealth University
From his youthful days as a World Health Organization consultant riding camels to assess opiate addiction in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, to his recent role as a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Charles O’Keeffe has worked tirelessly to educate policymakers, law enforcement officials, and health care professionals around the globe about addiction policy and treatment. Along the way, he advised three U.S. presidents on international health and drug policy issues, serving as deputy director for international affairs of the Office of Drug Abuse Policy under President Jimmy Carter. Mr. O’Keeffe played a key role in securing U.S. approval for the 1971 United Nations (U.N.) Convention on Psychotropic Substances and served on U.S. delegations to the World Health Assembly and the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs. He has been a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization and other U.N. agencies. During his career as a pharmaceutical company executive, Mr. O’Keeffe worked with National Institute on Drug Abuse scientists and government officials in France and the United States to secure approval for buprenorphine to treat opioid dependence. He also developed the first abuse-resistant packaging for take-home doses of methadone and ran the largest clinical toxicology laboratory in the United States. At VCU, Mr. O’Keeffe worked with colleagues at King’s College London and the University of Adelaide in Australia to create the online master’s degree program that prepares its international students to become leaders in translating addiction research into effective treatment, prevention, and policy.
The NIDA International Program presents the 2014 Award of Excellence in International Leadership to Charles O’Keeffe.