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West Virginia names Christiansen director of Office of Drug Control Policy

CHARLESTON — Dr. Matthew Christiansen Friday was named director of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy.

Christiansen replaces Bob Hansen who has announced his retirement. The appointment is effective immediately and he will transition into the position over the next month.

“I am truly humbled to serve on behalf of my fellow West Virginians in this position,” Christiansen said. “Working with individuals in recovery has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I look forward to working at a state level to expand and support recovery services continuing Bob Hansen’s legacy with the ODCP. I look forward to the day that we see our state recover from this terrible epidemic.”

The drug crisis has not taken a break despite the worldwide pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice said.

“Luckily, Dr. Christiansen is familiar with West Virginia’s issues and has worked closely with Bob Hansen,” Justice said. “I think he’ll step into the job with one-foot running.”

Christiansen practices primary care and addiction medicine at Marshall Health and PROACT and is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Health, Division of Addiction Sciences, at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Additionally, he is the medical director and board president of Ebenezer Medical Outreach, a free clinic in Huntington.

“Combating our state’s drug crisis has been a number one priority of this administration,” said Bill J. Crouch, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, said. “I am pleased that Dr. Christiansen will offer a seamless transition to this most important position. We are very grateful for Bob Hansen’s service to the state and his countless efforts.”

Christiansen has a bachelor’s from Denison University, an medical degree from Marshall University and a master’s in public health from Marshall University.

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