Jan 15, 2016 4:43 PM
Landrigan: State drug czar is leaving Feb. 1; Gov. Maggie Hassan commends him, GOP legislative leaders happy to see him depart
CONCORD - Only a year on the job, Dr. Jack Wozmak, the state’s drug czar is on his way out the door.
Wozmak turned in his letter of resignation today confirming he’d be leaving the job on Feb. 1 the day that a non-profit grant paying for the position runs out.
"It’s been an honor to serve in your administration and to represent you and New Hampshire in our effort to respond to the drug abuse epidemic,’’ Wozmak said in a statement. "I am proud of what we have accomplished together on behalf of the citizens of New Hampshire.’’
Hassan issued a praiseworthy statement about Wozmak commending him for "working tirelessly" on the drug abuse epidemic.
But Wozmak’s brief tenure was marked by controversy and often criticism of the job he did.
Republican legislative leaders were not impressed with Wozmak’s job and they refused Hassan’s attempt to try and identify state dollars for his position.
Councilor Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, said it took Wozmak much too long to even to identify the key initiatives needed to do the job.
"Jack Wozmak’s tenure as Governor Maggie Hassan’s drug czar was marked by a troubling pattern of ineptitude and ineffectiveness,’’ said Republican State Chairwoman Jennifer Horn. "Under Governor Hassan’s leadership, Mr. Wozmak refused to work with local officials and repeatedly failed to reach out to the physicians and members of New Hampshire’s law enforcement community who are on the front lines of combating our state’s heroin epidemic.
"Given the seriousness of New Hampshire’s substance abuse crisis, Governor Hassan should have already replaced Mr. Wozmak with a competent person who could have done a better job.’’
Also several city officials in the state said Wozmak was not accessible to them as he should have been.
Hassan Press Secretary William Hinkle confirmed Hassan would replace Wozmak and that there was enough money for the position in the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.