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Provo • Substance-abuse programs are no longer a part of the Utah County Health Department.

The County Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to turn the department's substance-abuse division into the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment.

"We felt the time has come for them to go on their own," Commissioner Doug Witney said. "We thought it was a win-win for everyone."

Richard Nance, who was the substance-abuse division director, will head up the new department.

Nance said the commission's action codifies what already exists. He said the division had its own budget and was under the jurisdiction of the commission rather than the Board of Health.

"For all intents and purposes, we have been operating as a department rather than a division," Nance said.

Substance abuse is now the county's third-largest department — after the Sheriff's Office and Health Department — boasting more than 100 employees.

Pat Bird, Utah County's substance-abuse prevention coordinator, said the elevation to department will not change how it works with communities to educate people and reduce substance abuse.

The new department also oversees the Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team, a coalition that conducts public-awareness campaigns and sponsors activities such as the annual "clean out the cabinet" program to help people get rid of expired prescriptions.

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