Gov. Maggie Hassan is appointing New Hampshire's top drug prosecutor as the new "drug czar," tasked with coordinating the response to the ongoing opioid and heroin crisis.
James Vara is a senior assistant attorney general who has led the drug prosecution unit for three years. He primarily deals with felony drug prosecutions and drug-related death cases.
Vara says in a statement that the job has allowed him to witness firsthand the devastating effects of drug addiction across New Hampshire. More than 400 people died from drug overdoses in 2015.
He replaces Jack Wozmak, who resigned from the job earlier this year after facing scrutiny over his performance. Funding for the job is already available, and the Executive Council will vote to approve its use in early April.