“We join with our colleagues in congratulating Dr. Rahul Gupta on his appointment to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Dr. Gupta served here in West Virginia with heartfelt sincerity and the utmost professionalism. President Biden has shown favor to West Virginians through his appointments, and we applaud this leadership choice. Dr. Gupta’s selection is good news for the American people as we seek to combat the trauma of substance abuse,” Minority Leader Senator Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) said in a press release.
Dr. Gupta led the Kanawha County and statewide public health efforts through some of their most difficult years, including the 2014 Elk River chemical spill and 2016 great floods. He was awarded West Virginian of the Year in 2017.
“Dr. Gupta began important work in combating the opioid crisis here in the Mountain State, and left big shoes to fill,” said Baldwin. “Currently, we do not have a full-time drug czar at the cabinet level in West Virginia. SB 715, which would have created a State Recovery & Hope Office and put one full-time person in place as drug czar, died in the House this year. As we rightly and unanimously praise Dr. Gupta’s selection today for the good of our nation, let us not forget that we still need a full-time drug czar in West Virginia to continue his efforts.”
“Once again, the Senate led on a critical issue and the House majority failed to enact overdue critical responses to the opioid crisis,” said Minority Whip Senator Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell). “Dr. Gupta recently testified in the first national opioid litigation, where I was present representing Cabell County. His testimony was compelling and his leadership in this field is unmatched. The Governor needs to declare a State of Emergency regarding this drug epidemic, and I urge the majority in the House to come to the rescue of our citizens in this regard. The time for lip service is over. Circumstances demand action.”