HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico Deputy County Manager Anthony McDowell has been tapped to lead the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority as its first executive director.

McDowell has lead public safety efforts for the county since 2018, after a career as a firefighter and later fire chief in the county.

Now, he’ll lead the newly-established Opioid Abatement Authority, a state body that oversees funds won in settlements with opioid manufacturers over their role in creating the opioid crisis. The purpose of the fund is to support programs aimed at “treating, preventing, or reducing opioid use disorder.”

“With these settlement funds, we have a real opportunity to make a difference and to turn back the tide on the opioid epidemic in Virginia,” McDowell said.

McDowell also served as the Henrico Board of Supervisor’s representative to the Community Criminal Justice Board and James River Juvenile Detention Commission. The board has nominated Cari Tretina, chief of staff to the county manager, to fill those roles.