CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, is coming back to the Mountain State.

Dr. Gupta will arrive in Charleston tomorrow evening, Tuesday, Aug. 16 to meet with local, state and federal leaders, health officials and law enforcement throughout the next couple of days. A major component of Gupta’s visit will be to discuss President Joe Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy, a comprehensive plan to fight the overdose epidemic by focusing on untreated addiction and drug trafficking.

Gupta will begin by meeting with University of Charleston President Dr. Martin Roth for a question and answer session on ways UC is working to beat the opioid epidemic in the community.

Amid meetings with law enforcement and recovery center leaders, Gupta will also attend the Dr. Rahul Gupta Public Health Merit Award Ceremony. The newly created award was created by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to recognize health leaders who have shown “outstanding commitment to public health leadership in Kanawha County.”

Dr. Gupta served for years as the director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and then became the state’s public health officer. He was sworn in as the country’s “drug czar” in November 2021.

In March 2022, the KCHD announced the inaugural award will be posthumously bestowed to Mr. Paul Nusbaum. Nusbaum, former member of the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health and former Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, passed in February 2022 at the age of 71.

On the last day of Gupta’s visit, he will meet with youth leaders in Putnam County, ride along with a Quick Response Team, meet with health leaders at Marshall Health and attend a round table with U.S. center Joe Manchin.