The opioid crisis is a true public health emergency. Thankfully there is work being done in the field to address the problem at its roots. At our annual meeting we look forward to recognizing the leadership of an individual who is working intensively, strategically, and collaboratively to reduce addiction and prevent overdose deaths. Marisa Hebble, MPH, Director of The Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region leads an impressive, coalition that is a joint effort of the Northwestern (MA) District Attorney’s office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Franklin County Courts.
Since assuming the director’s role in April 2014 Hebble has focused the Task Force’s efforts on a multi-sector approach to: 1) prevent heroin and prescription drug misuse and addiction; 2) prevent overdose from prescription drugs and heroin; and 3) help more people get treatment and recover from heroin and prescription drug addiction. The growing coalition that Hebble leads includes law enforcement leaders, medical professionals, teachers and other school staff, public housing staff, treatment/recovery providers, probation staff, family members, and some former users. With an executive council that includes representatives from Greenfield Community College, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and the DA’s Office, some see this Task Force as a model for a statewide program.
Working together, the Task Force has implemented the First Responder Narcan program. In addition, they have implemented a broad education and community outreach program and improved data collection at local hospitals and police departments. Additionally, they work to ensure sober-housing for people leaving treatment programs.
MPHA applauds Marisa Hebble’s continued efforts to weave an ever-stronger network of education, prevention, and support to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic. We are proud to present her with the Public Service award at our Annual Meeting on November 13, 2015, in Worcester, MA.