Former Fort Smith Lawmaker Named State Drug Director

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – Former state legislator Denny Altes of Fort Smith has been named Arkansas drug director, according to a news release Wednesday (May 13) from the state Department of Human Services.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Altes, a Republican who served in the state House and Senate, to replace Fran Flener, who retired last year. Since Flener’s retirement, Steve Varady has been the interim drug director.

The Arkansas drug director coordinates alcohol- and drug-abuse prevention and treatment initiatives in the state and oversees the Arkansas State Drug Abuse and Prevention Coordinating Council, the release states.

Altes was a state House member from 1999 to 2003, and then from 2011 to 2015. He also served in the state Senate from 2003 to 2011.

The news release notes that Altes sponsored several measures in the Legislature to curb substance abuse, including legislation to prevent physicians from overprescribing drugs.