NH will fund drug czar another year

Oct 26, 2015

BY: Citizens Count

On Friday, October 23 the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery voted to use state money to continue to fund “drug czar” Jack Wozmak.

The drug czar position – formally known as the Senior Director of Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health – was originally funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. 

According to a press release from the Governor, the position’s responsibilities include coordinating state resources related to substance abuse prevention and treatment, identifying barriers and gaps in care, filing grant applications, and more. 

Since taking the job January 1, Wozmak has faced criticism for failing to reach out to local law enforcement and the New Hampshire Medical Society.

"If the vote is to have this position, I would suggest we need a different person," said Cheryl Coletti, the Business and Industry Association's representative on the Commission.

However, at Friday’s Commission meeting several state commissioners argued that Wozmak helps coordinate state agencies and takes on projects other agencies do not have time to complete.

 “Give the position some more time,” said Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes. “This position is not a miracle worker, there’s not going to be dramatic change over this short period of time.”

The Commission’s vote was part of a larger discussion on how to spend money from the new state budget earmarked to combat substance abuse.

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