Opioid task force leader hired
GREENFIELD — Marisa Hebble has been hired to coordinate the regional volunteer Opioid Education and Awareness Task Force.
Hebble, of Northampton, was one of eight or nine candidates interviewed for the position and stood out for her experience, said task force organizer John Merrigan.
“She has a great background in public health and has a good understanding of the various grant agencies that we’re going to be looking to for resources,” Merrigan said.
Hebble has served as coordinator of the Northampton Prevention Coalition for the past year, having joined the teen substance abuse prevention coalition in 2010 as a community health specialist. Prior to that, she worked as a health specialist for the Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth, and as a prevention specialist for the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The Task Force is an ad-hoc collection of professionals and recovery advocates from Franklin County, Hampshire County and the North Quabbin Region, led by Merrigan, the Franklin County Register of Probate and Family Court, with Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.
Area legislators secured $40,000 in immediate state funding for the position through the sheriff’s budget. Merrigan thanked Sen. Stan Rosenberg, Rep. Steve Kulik, Rep. Paul Mark and Rep. Denise Andrews for the effort.
“They really went to bat for it in the supplemental budget,” Merrigan said.
Finding more money will be a big part of Hebble’s job, as well as coordinating the efforts of the task force sub-committees. Merrigan said many good ideas have been generated that the committee members have not been able to follow through on due to their full-time jobs.
Hebble starts work April 14.