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After more than 25 years of public service and 19 years at the Department of Human Services, Drug Abuse Strategy Officer Carol Falkowski will retire Sept. 14.
Over the course of her career, Falkowski has delivered professional and community workshops in 28 states, as well as in Canada, Mexico and Europe. She is the recipient of national awards, writes often and is author of the reference book Dangerous Drugs. A nationally-recognized addiction content expert and skilled communicator, Falkowski has provided expert testimony to U.S. Congressional committees and other elected bodies.
“Carol is a leader in her field and DHS is extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her for so many years,” said DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “Her retirement marks the end of a remarkable career in state service.”
While at DHS, Falkowski directed an evaluation on the use of two-day jail sentences for drunk drivers in Hennepin County and founded the AIDS Substance Abuse Partnership. As director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, she initiated community-based recovery organizations in Minnesota and the integration of alcohol screening into primary care settings. For the past 26 years, she has also represented the Twin Cities in a nationwide epidemiology workgroup with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which she plans to continue after retiring from state service. The Community Epidemiology Work Group monitors emerging drug abuse trends and is comprised of researchers from 20 U.S. cities.
Falkowski began her career in state service as a student intern with the Governor’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Control in the 1970s. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she went on to design and direct a multi-year research study of plea negotiations, sentencing and court delays in Minnesota District Courts before joining DHS in 1983. In 1997, Falkowski went to work at the nonprofit Hazelden Foundation in various capacities involving research, public policy and communications before returning to DHS in 2007.
“You haven’t seen the last of me—I’m not done yet,” said Falkowski, who will continue her work in the drug abuse field after her departure from state government. “I hope to do even more writing, education and public speaking over the next few years.”