West Virginia 'Drug Czar' Retires

Before he became the state's "drug czar," Johnson had been director of the Huntington (W.Va.) Mayor's Office of Drug Control Policy and previously had served as police chief and officer for the city of Huntington for more than 40 years.

Jim Johnson, director of the the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy, has resigned effective Jan. 22. He had started that job on Sept. 2, 2017, after state legislators created the office in 2017.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch announced the retirement on Jan. 18 in a statement saying he was "extremely grateful for Jim's invaluable service to DHHR for the time he was here and ... happy to say that Jim is only semi-retiring. At a time when West Virginia's drug overdose death rate is the highest in the nation, Jim has set the stage for DHHR to help us turn the corner on the drug problem. Jim will transition to a part-time basis and help continue the work that he started. His commitment and passion to tackle the drug problem in this state will not allow him to retire completely. He has been instrumental in establishing this critical office and paved the path forward. Although Jim feels the need to spend at least a portion of his time enjoying retirement with his family as he had planned, I am pleased that he will continue to offer his wealth of knowledge to DHHR by assisting us on special projects."

Before he became the state's "drug czar," Johnson had been director of the Huntington (W.Va.) Mayor's Office of Drug Control Policy and previously had served as police chief and officer for the city of Huntington for more than 40 years.

"I am hopeful that my tenure at DHHR has been impactful and that many of the projects we have initiated will help combat this horrible epidemic," Johnson said. "I have decided that after 45 years, it really is time to enjoy retirement, although I am still excited and appreciative for the opportunity to continue some of those efforts to combat this terrible disease."

The announcement said Susie Mullens, program manager of theOffice of Drug Control Policy, will serve as interim director.

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