Harter resigns as head of BAAP

Michelle Harter

BURRILVILLE – After less than two years leading efforts to address addiction and recovery in Burrillville, Coordinator Michelle Harter has resigned from the role.

Harter was hired in January of 2018 to launch the Burrillville Addiction Assistance Program, an outreach effort run through the Burrillville Police Department.

Under Harter’s watch, BAAP has grown to include the Recovery Coach Academy, a program that trains citizens to help those struggling with addiction, and was recognized at the Community Overdose Engagement Summit.

Col. Stephen Lynch said that Harter resigned over personal factors and time constraints.

Town Council President John Pacheco pointed out that when a committee sought to launched the program in late 2017, Harter originally applied for a position leading the other arm of the town’s effort to battle substance abuse, the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition.

BPAC works in local schools and conducts other outreach efforts on the prevention side, to curb the use of dangerous substances before it begins.

While the job leading BPAC ultimately went to Monica Blanchette, and Harter, who was open about her own past struggles with addiction, was instead hired to lead BAAP, and help others focused on recovery.

“She was custom made for that position,” Pacheco said.

The pair has worked side by side for the past 21 months in an initiative aimed at curbing the town’s high rate of overdose deaths.

Town Councilor Amanda Gingell was appointed Wednesday night to represent the council on the screening committee that will seek Harter’s replacement.

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