CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Jim Justice has appointed a new director to oversee West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control Policy.
Justice on Friday appointed Matthew Christiansen to replace Bob Hansen, who announced he was retiring earlier this week. Christiansen practices primary care and addiction medicine at Marshall Health and PROACT, he is also an associate professor at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
Hansen had been the agency’s director since December 2018, making him the third person to oversee the office since it was created by the Legislature in 2017.
“West Virginia’s drug crisis has not taken a break even though we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic,” Justice said in a statement. “Luckily, Dr. Christiansen is familiar with West Virginia’s issues and has worked closely with Bob Hansen. I think he’ll step into the job with one-foot running.”
According to a news release, Christiansen’s appointment is effective immediately and he will transition into the position over the next month.
The Office of Drug Control Policy has reported that the state has seen an increase this year in the number of emergency calls and emergency room visits involving drug overdoses. However, information on fatal overdoses for 2020 won’t be available until next year.