Agency History #26


The Division of Substance Abuse was created in 1947 as the Board on Alcoholism. Its mission was to ensure that quality, cost effective, comprehensive treatment and prevention services for alcohol and other drug abuse problems are available to the people of Utah. The division was abolished in 2002 upon being combined with the Division of Mental Health in 2002 to create the new Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (#3195).

The agency was known by four different names: the Board on Alcoholism (1947-1967), the Committee on Alcoholism (1967-1971), the Division of Alcoholism and Drugs (1971-1988), and the Division of Substance Abuse (1988-2002).


The original Board on Alcoholism was created to investigate the causes of alcoholism and provide education about the causes and treatment of alcoholism. Board members were authorized to cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous as well as state agencies.

The independent State Board on Alcoholism was again charged with the same functions and empowered to provide a wide range of educational materials and to furnish hospital care and treatment for alcoholics who were unable to provide themselves with such treatment. The 1957 legislature provided for the financing of new programs through an increase in liquor permit fees. Lawmakers in 1967 delegated all of the functions, powers, duties, rights, and responsibilities of the State Board on Alcoholism to the Committee on Alcoholism. The functions of the Committee on Alcoholism and those of the year-old Division of Drugs were assumed by the newly formed Division of Alcoholism and Drugs in 1971.

The Division of Substance Abuse functioned primarily as a coordinating, consultive agency and acts as the single state authority for the federal funding of both alcoholism and drug abuse programs. According to legislative intent, the division was responsible for educating the general public regarding the problems of alcoholism and drugs, including certification of instructors in such programs, establishing community-based preventive programs, promoting cooperative relations among agencies that deal with or serve alcohol or drug abusers, and operating or promoting the establishment of public and private clinics and rehabilitation services. The division was authorized in 1988 to provide for the inspection and proper operation of such facilities.

The division was directed not to duplicate treatment or educational facilities already being provided by other government and private groups, but to work in conjunction with existing units. The division contracted with public and private drug units to conduct its operations. Passage of the Public Intoxication Treatment Act in 1981 authorized the division to promote or establish programs for publicly intoxicated persons in order to provide an alternative to incarceration. A 1985 amendment allowed the division to designate, upon request, county commissioners as the local alcohol and drug authority for their county. Alcohol and drug prevention and treatment services in such counties, as of 1990 all except Rich and Wasatch, were provided by the individual counties or in conjunction with other counties. Each local alcohol and drug authority plan for funding and service delivery was reviewed by the division. If the plan included state funds, the county had to establish and maintain programs only in coordination and cooperation with the division director. The division had no law enforcement duties but was to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies in drug abuse control.


The Division of Substance Abuse was under the administration and general direction of a division director and under the policy direction of the Board of Substance Abuse (Agency #39). The division director was appointed by the executive director of the Department of Human Services (#1116) with the concurrence of the board and was required by statute to be experienced in administration and knowledgeable in matters concerning substance abuse. Prior to 1988, the division director was appointed by the Board of Substance Abuse. The director also served on the interdepartmental coordinating council on alcohol and drug programs (1970-88).


The Board of Alcoholism was statutorily created within the Department of Public Welfare (#1284) in 1947 by the 27th State Legislature. It became an independent body in 1949. Lawmakers passed new legislation in 1957, enlarging the board and providing funding for new programs. A decade later, lawmakers renamed the Board on Alcoholism the Committee on Alcoholism and placed it within the Division of Health (#484).

Upon recommendation of the Drug Abuse Evaluation Committee, formed in 1969, the 38th State Legislature created the Division of Drugs within the renamed Department of Social Services during the 1970 budget session. The Division of Drugs was combined with the Committee on Alcoholism in 1971 to form the Division of Alcoholism and Drugs, as recommended by Governor Calvin L. Rampton. Amendments to the Social Services Act in 1988 included changing the name to the Division of Substance Abuse and termination of the interdepartmental coordinating council on alcoholism and drug programs (established in 1970). Division services were administered through programs for treatment, education and prevention, and community services. There was also an administrative unit.

The Fifth Special Session of the 2002 Legislature (HB 5008) abolished the division by combining it with the Division of Mental Health in 2002 to create the new Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (#3195).


Board on Alcoholism, 1947-1967

Committee on Alcoholism, 1967-1971

Division of Alcoholism and Drugs, 1971-1988

Division of Substance Abuse, 1988-2002


Patrick James Fleming, 2001-2002

Frank Leon PoVey, 1984-2000

Dr. Judy Brady, 1980-1984

Jurgen (Yogi) H. Schwermer, 1978-1980

Robert L. Christiansen, 1975-1978

Gary F. Jensen, 1972-1975

C. Lavar Rockwood, 1970-1972

Clyde W. Gooderham, 1952-1969?

David R. Trevithick, 1949-1950

Judge Reva Beck Bosone, 1947-1949

COMPILED BY: W. Glen Fairclough, Jr., September 1990; January 2003


Administrative Reports (Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1960), p. 90; (June 30, 1963), p. 83.

Agency History Research Files (Human Services and Substance Abuse).

Annual Budget (July 1, 1969, to June 30, 1970), p. 345.

Annual Report (1971-72), p. 36.

Appropriations Report (1977-78), pp. 257-58; (1982-83), pp. 184-86; (1988-89), pp. 178-80; (1989-90), pp. 237-39.

Committee on Executive Reorganization, Report to the Governor and 1981 General Session of the Legislature (December 1980), "Preliminary Recommendations Concerning the Placement of the Divisions of Aging, Alcoholism and Drugs, and Mental Health" (April 1980).

Consolidated Social Services Plan, FY 1987-89, pp. V-21 et seq.

Directory of Services (DSS), 1988, pp. 7-8.

Evaluation of the Administrative Functions of the Division of Alcoholism and Drugs, Aug. 1974.

Laws of Utah, 1947 (Chapter 86), Board on Alcoholism created within Department of Public Welfare.

Laws of Utah, 1949 (Chapter 58), Independent Board on Alcoholism created.

Laws of Utah, 1957 (Chapter 112), amendments to previous law; board enlarged, provision for funding new programs.

Laws of Utah, 1967 (Chapter 174), Committee on Alcoholism created within the Division of Health.

Laws of Utah, 1970 (Chapter 22), Division of Drugs created within DSS.

Laws of Utah, 1971 (Chapter 168), Division of Alcoholism and Drugs created within DSS by combining the Division of Drugs and Committee on Alcoholism.

Laws of Utah, 1981 (Chapter 151), Public Intoxication Treatment Act; provided alternatives to incarceration for publicly intoxicated persons.

Laws of Utah, 1985 (Chapter 106), Local alcohol and drug authority.

Laws of Utah, 1988 (Chapter 1), Social Services recodification; (Sections 199-217 deal with the Division of Substance Abuse).

Manual for Legislators.

Operations Budget (1981-82), p. 115; (1982-83), p. 96; (1984-85), p. 99.

Organization Charts (Division)—1971, 1972, 1981.

Southwick, Stephanie, DSS Manuscript History, Research File.

State and Local Government in Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Foundation, 1954), p. 107; (1962), p. 144; (1973), p. 142; (1979), p. 146.

Touche Ross & Co., Recommendations for Reorganization . . . (December 1971).

Utah Code Annotated, 1953 (1988 amendments), 62A-1-101 to 116, 62A-8-101 to 111, 62A-8-201 to 204, 62A-8-301 to 304, 62A-8-101 to 403, 62A-8-501.

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.