Agency History #39


The Board of Substance Abuse was created in 1970 as the Board of Drugs. The board is the policy-making body for the Division of Substance Abuse (Agency #26). Originally named the Board of Drugs (1970-1971), the agency was called the Board of Alcoholism and Drugs from 1971-1988. The current name was adopted in 1988.


Since its creation by the 1970 legislature, the board has had authority to establish programs and policies for discharging the duties of the division. The functions of the Committee on Alcoholism and those of the year-old Board of Drugs were assumed by the newly formed Board of Alcoholism and Drugs in 1971.

Policy-making authority specified in the 1988 revision of the Social Services Code includes: coordinating with local substance abuse authorities (county commissions); establishing by rule procedures for developing policies which ensure that local substance abuse authorities are given opportunity to comment and provide input on any new policy of the board and on proposed changes in existing policy of the board; and providing a mechanism for review of its existing policy and for consideration of policy changes proposed by local substance authorities.


Seven members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate make up the Board of Substance Abuse. Membership requirements specify that at least one member be a registered pharmacist licensed to practice in Utah, another must be a physician licensed to practice medicine in Utah, and at least one member must be recovered or recovering from substance abuse. Members are appointed to four-year terms and are eligible for one reappointment. None may serve more than two terms. A chairperson is elected from among the members of the board. The board is empowered to adopt bylaws to govern its activities.

The 1988 revision of the Social Services Code transferred the responsibility for appointing the division director from the board to the executive director of the Department of Social Services. The appointment of the division director requires the concurrence of the board.


Upon recommendation of the Drug Abuse Evaluation Committee, formed in 1969, the 38th State Legislature during the 1970 budget session formed a five-member Board of Drugs as the policy-making body for the newly created Division of Drugs. The Board of Drugs was merged with the Committee on Alcoholism in 1971 to form the Board of Alcoholism and Drugs, as recommended by Governor Calvin L. Rampton. Four members of the Committee on Alcoholism and three members of the Board of Drugs made up the new seven-man body. Amendments to the Social Services Act in 1988 included changing the name to the Board of Substance Abuse.


Board of Drugs, 1970-1971

Board of Alcoholism and Drugs, 1971-1988

Board of Substance Abuse, 1988-present


Bill Athas, 1985-present

Morris Kjar, 1984-1985

Jan Pearce, Ph.D., 1982-1984

Robert N. Hanson, Ph.D., 1980-1982

Alice Jensen, 1977-1980

Agapita Archuletta, 1975-1977

George R. Edison, M.D., 1973-1975

Douglas W. Love, 1969-1973

Rex Hughes, 1955-1969

N. Blain Winters, 1952-1955

Seth M. Oberg, 1950-1952

Thomas F. Kerns, 1947-1950

COMPILED BY: W. Glen Fairclough, Jr., September 1990


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 (1971-1972), p. 36.

Appropriations Report (1977-1978), pp. 257-58; (1982-1983), pp. 184-86; (1988-1989), pp. 178-80; (1989-1990), 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 1987-1989, 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), Board of Drugs created.

Laws of Utah, 1971 (Chapter 168), Board of Alcoholism and Drugs created by combining the Board 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, 1988 (Chapter 1), Social Services recodification; (Sections 199-217 deal with the Division of Substance Abuse).

Manual for Legislators .

Operations Budget (1981-1982), p. 115; (1982-1983), p. 96; (1984-1985), 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-8-401 to 403, 62A-8-501.

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.