Apr 15, 2016 4:31 PM

NH's new 'Drug Czar' James Vara sits down with NH1 News


CONCORD - It may only be James Vara's seventh day on the job as the state's new "Drug Czar," but he's not new to the state's efforts in the drug crisis.

Vara worked as a prosecutor for 11 years, he was with the Attorney General's office for 6 years and most recently he headed the Drug Prosecution Unit at the Department of Justice for the last 3 years.

"This is beyond politics," Vara said. "We have people dying at a rate that we haven't seen before and we have people who are addicted to drugs. My goal is simply those people."

With an average of one person dying every day, he said it's critical to approach this from every angle.

"To think that law enforcement is going to fix this problem exclusively is not the right attack," Vara told NH1 News.

He said one of the first steps is helping addicts when are hitting rock bottom.

"There's a bridge of people who are overdosing, brought to a hospital and what is happening with them next? I think that's a strong thing that we can look at and what's happening today and that will really help us as a short term goal," Vara said.

His long term goals include allocating money and resources to law enforcement and the recovery community.

Education is another important component. As a father, concern over the next generation hits close to home.

Vara said he's optimistic and he finds reassurance in those who are in recovery and are dedicated to helping others.

"They're so passionate about it and it's refreshing. It gives me hope," he said.

Colleen Shaughnessy is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at cshaughnessy@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @ColleenNH1.


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