Northampton Prevention Coalition leader moving on to new job with drug abuse task force in Franklin County

Last modified: Thursday, April 03, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — City resident Marisa Hebble, who has served as coordinator of the Northampton Prevention Coalition for the past year, is moving on to a new job as coordinator of the Opiate Abuse Task Force of Franklin County.

Her last day with the Northampton group, which works to reduce teen substance abuse in the city, will be April 11.

A search is now underway for a replacement for Hebble, who first joined the 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 (SPIFFY), and as a prevention specialist for the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Karen Jarvis-Vance, program director for the Northampton coalition, said while she is sorry to see Hebble go, she is “thrilled” her colleague will be working for the new task force.

A joint effort of the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, the Franklin County Register of Probate and Sheriff’s offices, the task force is aimed at stopping the spread of heroin use and abuse of related prescription painkillers.

“This is a good move for Marisa and for the task force,” Jarvis-Vance said. “They need a strong leader and that’s what she is.”

In a recent email to Northampton coalition partner groups, Hebble said the decision to move on was difficult, “as I have had such a wonderful time doing important work in this community.”

“A lot has been accomplished and will continue to be accomplished with what has been built through the dedicated efforts of so many,” she wrote. “I look forward to doing good work in Franklin County and collaborating with Northampton and Hampshire County community members as often as possible.”

The city’s Prevention Coalition began as a task force in 2008 managed by SPIFFY. In 2010, the group was awarded a five-year grant from the National Drug Free Communities Support Program to expand its substance abuse prevention work with Northampton teens. Its offices are now located at Northampton High School.

The coordinator position is being advertised at an annual salary of up to $58,000. Applications are due by April 18. A job description is available online at on the “City Jobs” page.

For more information about the prevention coalition, visit


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