BURRILLVILLE – The coordinator for the Burrillville Police Department’s addiction prevention program has been named a Community Star by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.
The Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition’s Monica Blanchette was nominated for the honor, which recognizes women, men and organizations who make a difference in the health of the rural communities they serve. Her work in Burrillville will be featured in a book along with others from across the country with similar achievements, to be released next month on National Rural Health Day.
Now in its 10th year, the program highlights the work of those positively impacting their communities in several vital health-related areas.
First formed in 2013 as a collaboration between local police and school officials in reaction the opioid epidemic, BPAC brings together representatives from varying sectors in the community – from healthcare and education, to government and rescue services – with the common goal of addressing the factors that lead to substance abuse and addiction.
The effort got a boost in 2019 with the hiring of Blanchette, and the organization now meets monthly to plan and discuss outreach efforts.
For her part, Blanchette leads both the meetings, and the resulting community events and activities. She also works to build relationships and support student prevention initiatives at the middle school and high school level.
And while many prevention organizations across the region have seen decreased participation and dwindling numbers amid the ongoing pandemic, BPAC has continued to grow and flourish.
The Burrillville School Committee presented a citation to Blanchette recognizing the honor.
“She is a true asset to our schools and a valued member to the school community,” said Chairman Mark Brizard
“”Burrillville School Committee hereby offers its sincerest congratulations to Monica Blanchette, BPAC coordinator,” the citation read. “Burrillville School Committee and Burrillville School Department extend our deepest gratitude for your service to the town of Burrillville and its students.
The book including Blanchette’s story will be released both online and in print on November 19.