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Idaho drug czar resigns post

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Debbie Field is resigning her post as director of the state's Office of Drug Policy. Field, a former lawmaker and campaign manager for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, told staffers this week she was stepping down. Her last day in the office will be Friday. Otter appointed Field as Idaho's Drug Czar in January 2007. In 2009 she was awarded the President's Award from the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors for her work on substance abuse treatment. She also promoted the Idaho Meth Project. Field says she's looking forward to spending more time with her family and that she'll stay involved with some projects via contract. Click below for a full report.

Idaho drug czar, campaign vet Debbie Field resigns
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Debbie Field, a former lawmaker from Boise and a veteran political strategist who helped many of Idaho's most notable Republicans win state and congressional campaigns, is stepping down as head of the state's Office of Drug Policy.

Field, appointed Idaho's so-called drug czar by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter four years ago, officially notified her staff this week of her plans to leave her post Friday to spend more time with family, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Thursday by the governor's office.

"This is the best job I've ever had," Field, 56, told the AP. "But I really want to go back now and spend some time with family. It's hard to leave a job that you love. It has been an incredible opportunity that has been worth every step on the path."

Field hinted in her letter to staff that she would be open to playing a role in future drug policy projects on a contractual basis.

Otter appointed Field in January 2007 to head up the Office of Drug Policy, just months after she managed his first gubernatorial campaign. She also managed Otter's re-election effort last year, a resounding victory over Democrat Keith Allred.

A former six-term House lawmaker from Boise, Field helped the agency and state respond to a growing prison population driven in part by a rise in the use of methamphetamine statewide. She was an early advocate of the Idaho Meth Project, a program modeled after a campaign that originated in Montana to curb use of methamphetamine among teens and young adults.

Under her watch, the ODP worked with other state agencies to coordinate substance abuse strategies, including the creation of one single assessment test for helping agencies and providers identify an individual's abuse issues and determine the appropriate level of treatment and care.

In 2009, she earned the President's Award from the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors for her work on substance abuse treatment. She also leaves behind her spot as chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment, which seeks a statewide strategy for tackling substance abuse.

"Debbie has been a dear friend ... and a faithful servant to the people of Idaho for many years," Otter said. "I'm grateful to her and public service will miss her, but I'm glad her advice and counsel will still be close at hand."

Field's resume as a political strategist over the last four decades includes some of the biggest names state Republican lore. She got her start working for former U.S. Sen. Jim McClure, signing on to work in his Washington, D.C., office shortly after meeting him in the wake of the 1976 Teton Dam collapse in eastern Idaho.

She also served on the campaigns for U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, U.S. Sen. Steve Symms and former Gov. Phil Batt.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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