U.s. Official Appointed Drug Czar

March 17, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff writer

An administrator for federal drug abuse prevention programs has beenappointed to the $50,000-a-year post as county drug czar.

The appointment, made by County Executive Robert R. Neall, was announced yesterday.

Charlestine Fairley, program officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, will assume the post as director of the county drug and alcohol abuse prevention program April 1.

The job means overseeing a $423,000 annualbudget and 10 staff members in an office set up to curb drug and alcohol abuse through youth tutorial and mentor programs, seminars in parenting skills and doling out grants. The office gave out $60,000 in grants last year, said David Almy, the former drug czar.

Fairly sees her top priority as implementing the 20-page plan aimed at fighting drug and alcohol abuse drawn up last November.

Billed as an "aggressive" and "measurable" effort, the plan includes new school programs, partnerships with civic groups and business workshops, and surveying 2,000 households every month to gauge the county's drug problem. The drug survey had been put on hold until a new director is appointed, county officials said.

Fairley said that because of her federalposition, she brings to the job a knowledge of the county's drug problem and a relationship with the people trying to fight it.

"Thesepeople are no longer wrestling with the issue of denial," she said yesterday.

The position has been vacant since Dec. 19. Almy, who man aged Neall's 1990 campaign, resigned to write speeches for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward R. Madigan. Neall had appointed him acting coordinator in June 1991 after the resignation of former drug coordinator Huntley J. Cross.

"Dr. Fairley has got a lot of work cut out for her," Almy said yesterday. But he also described the position as "a great job." He added that he's heard a lot of positive commentsabout Fairley and that "she should do well."

Fairley, who declined to give her age, has been program officer for the Health and Human Services' Office of Substance Abuse Prevention for the past two years. The job includes evaluating $40 million in drug prevention grants.

She also is on the faculty at Nova University, in Fort Lauderdale,Fla., where she flies once a month to teach a course in program development and curriculum design.

From 1989 to 1990, she was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education.

Before that, she was on the faculty at the University of South Carolina. She has taught in the department of history/social sciences at Claflin College in Orangeburg, S.C., where she was also director of special programs for disadvantaged students, among other duties.

She began her career as a caseworker in the Burlington County (N.J.) Welfare Department.

A graduate of Delaware State College, she holds a master's degree in education in counseling from South Carolina State College and a doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina.

She is married, has three adult children and lives in Rockville, but said she plansto move to Annapolis in the next few weeks.

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