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July 14, 2021

Doctor with ties to W.Va. nominated to serve on Biden administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAZ) - A former Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Director and West Virginia Health Officer has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as the next Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday that Dr. Rahul Gupta’s nomination can only help the state.

“During his time in West Virginia, Dr. Gupta led the way in our battle against the opioid crisis – something that has and continues to touch the lives of nearly every one of our residents in some way. Under his leadership, our state had turned a corner in that fight,” said Gov. Justice. “There’s still much more work to do, especially with the additional challenges brought on in the past year by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe that there is no one better-suited to this important job than someone who represented a state and a people where this crisis really hits close to home. I have full confidence that Dr. Gupta will continue his distinguished record of public service on behalf of all Americans, while also putting a positive spotlight on the high quality of professionals we have working in West Virginia every day. I wish Dr. Gupta nothing but success in this critical role.”

In November, Dr. Rahul Gupta was listed on the Biden-Harris transition website as the team leader of the office of National Drug Control Policy.

Dr. Gupta served as the leader of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department from 2009 until 2014.

He then went on to serve as West Virginia’s State Health Officer from 2015 through September of 2018 when he left for go work as the March of Dimes Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer.

The Kanawha County Commission posted a picture of Dr. Gupta Tuesday saying, “Kanawha County is certainly proud of him, as should the whole State.”

Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement about the nomination:

“Dr. Rahul Gupta’s nomination to serve as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy means someone with firsthand knowledge of the opioid crisis, especially in West Virginia, will be coordinating the national fight against the drug epidemic that continues to ravage our nation. West Virginia has continued to lead the country in drug overdose rates for over 20 years. Dr. Gupta will bring over a decade of extensive experience combatting the drug epidemic to ONDCP – the office charged with addressing the drug epidemic that has killed over 90,000 Americans just last year. He will also be the first physician in charge of ONDCP, bringing needed medical knowledge to this public health crisis.”

On twitter Tuesday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said, “Dr. Gupta understands the crippling impact the addiction crisis has had on West Virginia. Looking forward to working together to increase drug prevention efforts, support treatment and recovery, and reduce the supply of deadly drugs in our communities.”