Hassan Picks Prosecutor For Drug Czar

Mar 21, 2016

James Vara gives a press conference in Dover related to a homicide arrest.
Credit Jim Cole/Associated Press

Governor Maggie Hassan named a drug prosecutor to be the state's new 'Drug Czar.' James Vara helped draft newly enacted legislation to stiffen penalties for Fentanyl distribution.

James Vara has been an assistant county attorney, a homicide prosecutor, and since 2013 has led of the NH Department of Justice's Drug Prosecution Unit.

Vara serves on the state's drug task force, co-chairs the opoid task force, and worked on the law that brought penalties for Fentanyl on par with heroin. 

Late last year, Vara told lawmakers the change was a needed tool to fight drug dealers.

"You have a strong population of people who are using and dealing for their own use, and then you have a certain subset of people who are selling directly for profit, and the penalties should be appropriate if someone is selling large amounts of this drug."

Vara also sits on the council advising the state on rules concerning Medical Marijuana.

Vara succeeds Jack Wozmak, who stepped down form the job last month amid criticism from Republicans.