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Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2015

Contact:
Communications Office
(603)271-2121

Governor Hassan Names John Wozmak Senior Director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health
Wozmak to Coordinate State’s Efforts to Combat Substance Misuse

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to improve the health and safety of New Hampshire’s communities and families by addressing substance misuse from a behavioral health perspective, Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that she has named John G. “Jack” Wozmak of Walpole as Senior Director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health for the Governor’s Office.

In a position funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Wozmak will work with state agencies and other stakeholders to coordinate the state’s substance use and related behavioral health policies to better combat substance misuse in order to better serve people with co-occurrences of substance misuse and other behavioral health issues and to reduce long-term costs to the State of New Hampshire, counties, local communities and businesses.

“Substance misuse, which frequently co-occurs with mental illness, is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing New Hampshire, straining our families, hurting the productivity of our workers and undermining the safety of our communities,” Governor Maggie Hassan said. “The public-private partnership with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to create this position is another important step in our ongoing efforts to address our substance misuse challenge, including our expanded behavioral health efforts, the substance use disorder benefit that is part of our bipartisan health care expansion plan, the launch of our prescription drug monitoring program, the increase in the safe and effective use of Narcan for emergency responders, and our regional strategy with my fellow New England governors.”

“With a broad range of experience dealing with substance misuse through his roles in the public sector and in private substance abuse treatment, Jack will help strengthen our efforts to improve the health and safety of Granite Staters, and I thank him for his commitment to serving the people of New Hampshire, as well the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for making his position possible.” Governor Hassan said.

Since 1998, Wozmak has served as the County Administrator for Cheshire County, where he worked with local stakeholders to establish in 2001 the state’s first alternative sentencing program for individuals with a history of alcohol and other drug-related problems. In 2003, he helped initiate the Cheshire County Mental Health Court Pilot Project, and he recently helped create a Drug Court that works within the Superior Court, which held its second graduation ceremony in November 2014.

From 1975-1984, Wozmak also worked as the licensed administrator at Beech Hill Hospital, an alcohol and substance abuse treatment facility in Dublin. He serves on the board for Monadnock Voices for Prevention, as well as the New Hampshire Public Risk Management Exchange, and he is currently on the Board of Trustees for the New Hampshire Retirement System. Wozmak received his undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and his Juris Doctor from the Massachusetts School of Law.

“Combating substance misuse and related behavioral health challenges is not only critical to the health and safety of our communities, it is critical for workforce development and economic growth, and I thank Governor Hassan for choosing me for this important position,” Wozmak said. “I look forward to working with state agencies and all other stakeholders to coordinate our substance misuse policies.”

As Senior Director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health, Wozmak will be advised by and work directly with the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery.

His responsibilities include: coordinating state resources, state agency spending and budget proposals in the areas of mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment; reducing unnecessary duplication of state efforts and resources; identifying evidence-based treatment practices and working with state agencies to ensure quality delivery of such services; identifying barriers to and gaps in New Hampshire’s system of care; recommending strategies to address those barriers and gaps; and leading grant-application efforts that may assist in the state’s efforts to address substance misuse and other behavioral health challenges.

Wozmak’s position was approved by the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee on November 24, 2014, and the grant was approved by the Executive Council on December 3, 2014.

Since entering office, Governor Hassan has worked to address the rising rate of substance use in New Hampshire, signing a bipartisan health care expansion plan that includes a substance use disorder benefit and working to implement the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. The Governor has also joined her fellow New England governors to announce a regional strategy to address this growing problem and increased the safe and effective use of Narcan by first responders to treat overdoses.