- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for 13th Annual HEAT Conference to explore “Navigation to Recovery”
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Woburn, MA — Monday, June 17, is the last day to register for the 13th Annual HEAT Conference, “Navigation to Recovery,” an event that typically draws more than 300 law enforcement, Massachusetts Probation Service, and treatment and health services professionals. The Friday, June 21 conference, from 8:30 am to 1 pm, is where the latest substance abuse trends and new approaches to addressing opioid addiction will be explored. The event will take place at the Hilton Hotel Boston/Woburn.
"Thirteen years ago, we discovered that there was an acute need for the HEAT Program to help address the issue of opioid abuse in our community as well as educate parents and families of those suffering with addiction. The need for HEAT is as strong as ever. It is our hope that this year's conference will answer questions about addiction and provide invaluable resources to human services and criminal justice professionals who are on the frontlines of the opioid crisis,” said Woburn District Court Chief Probation Officer Vincent Piro, co-founder of the HEAT Program.
The half-day event will feature speakers who are substance abuse treatment, prevention or enforcement experts. Colleen T. Labelle, Director of Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) Training and Technical Assistance Program for the state, is the founder and director of Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) Clinic. Labelle will discuss evidence based medications for opioid use disorder and the benefits of treatment with medication. HEAT Co-founder and Program Coordinator Michael P. Higgins, who is also the Substance Abuse Coordinator for the Billerica Town Hall, will give an overview of the future of treatment in the Bay State. Louie Diaz, Navigator for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Matador Program will discuss the path to recovery.
The three other presenters will include Brian Teague, Director of Michael’s House Sober Living in Wilmington and Patrick’s House Sober Living in Andover; Matthew CW Page-Shelton, a Jail Diversion Clinician for the towns of Tewksbury, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Dracut; and Roy Frost, Deputy Chief of the Billerica Police Department.
Teague will discuss the continued efforts of men in recovery in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Page-Shelton will talk about diversion programs, their roles with law enforcement, and resources to aid those in recovery. Frost will cover the utilization of ODMaps “facilitates inter-agency cooperation through information sharing by providing near real-time surveillance data across jurisdictions to support the efforts of public safety and public health to mobilize a response to overdoses.”
HEAT organizers said conference participants will be able to perform the following tasks after attending the conference:
-Identify evidence-based medications for opioid use disorder
-List the benefits of treatment with medication
-Describe how to properly navigate the system in search of recovery
-Recognize continued efforts for men in recovery.
-Illustrate jail diversion programs, their design and their roles with law enforcement
-Describe jail diversion program resources and how they aid those in recovery from mental health, substance use or co-occurring disorders
-Explain the use of ODMaps to identify high-risk areas of overdoses in the community
Since its inception, HEAT has educated more than 8,000 people about opioid addiction and has helped 3,200 individuals find treatment. HEAT was developed to help educate parents about their children’s addiction, including providing tips on what to look for if a relative is using drugs. Its primary mission is education, prevention, and treatment of substance abuse, according to Piro.
Pictured above: HEAT Co-founder Vincent Piro, Woburn District Court Chief Probation Officer