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Charleston City Hall

Charleston City Hall

The head of a city office established to address Charleston’s substance abuse crisis has resigned after nearly two years.

Emily Hanna, director of Charleston’s Coordinated Addiction Response Effort Office, has accepted a new position with Cabin Creek Health Systems. Her last day with the city is Friday, she said.

“It’s just a better opportunity for me and my family,” Hanna said Wednesday. “I haven’t worked in health care before, so it will be a nice change.”

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin’s administration established the CARE Office in 2019 to address substance abuse. Hanna has been director since January 2020.

Besides the director, the CARE Office also employs a quick response team coordinator, homeless outreach coordinator and a mental health coordinator.

When Goodwin earlier this month asked state lawmakers to convene a special session to address challenges with mental health, substance use disorder and homelessness facing municipalities, she used the CARE Office as an example of the city “doing everything it can” to address those issues in Charleston. Gov. Jim Justice rebuffed that request during a COVID-19 news briefing earlier this month.

Under Goodwin’s proposed plan for the coronavirus relief funds from the American Rescue Plan, the city would add staffing and resources to the CARE Office, including case workers and nurse/emergency medical staff, a vehicle, 24-hour response and training.

In a written statement, Goodwin said she’s proud of the work and dedication Hanna has provided, and will continue to provide to the city and residents. The mayor said Hanna was instrumental in helping create the CARE Office and build relationships with vulnerable people and social service providers in the region.

“This hard work has undoubtedly saved lives and helped countless families dealing with mental health issues, substance use disorder and those experiencing homelessness,” Goodwin wrote.

“As Emily transitions into her new role in the healthcare field, we are thrilled she will continue to help folks get the help that they need and deserve.

“Emily has helped provide the blueprint to ensure the success of the CARE Office for decades to come and we are most grateful.”

Lori Kersey covers the city and county. She can be reached at 304-348-1240 or Follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

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