State drug czar McClelland announces retirement

The state’s first drug czar is retiring, and his deputy director will replace him.

Jim McClelland, who was appointed the state’s executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement in January 2017, announced his retirement Thursday during a meeting of the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse. His retirement will be effective Jan. 9.

Douglas Huntsinger, deputy director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, will take over. The state said Huntsinger has been overseeing operational aspects of the state’s response to the drug crisis  since 2017.

Prior to his current role, Huntsinger was executive producer and director of government affairs for the Indiana State Fair Commission and policy director in the office of former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

In January 2017, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order creating the role of Indiana executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement and appointed McClelland to oversee the state’s efforts to combat the drug crisis. Since then, McClelland has coordinated the governor’s Next Level Recovery initiative, working with partners across Indiana to increase access to quality treatment for substance use, implement prescribing guidelines and enhance prevention efforts to help young people avoid becoming substance dependent.

Holcomb actually called McClelland, who previously served as CEO of Goodwill Industries, out of retirement to fill the position, McClelland told IBJ last year.

“On the day I took office, I called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat the drug crisis and help more people recover, and Jim McClelland selflessly set his retirement aside to answer that call,” Holcomb said in a written statement. “His passion and expertise in building systems that work to help people have given Indiana’s response to the drug crisis strong positive momentum. I’m grateful for his service to our state and congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement.”

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