Melody Heaps Gets SAAS National “Excellence in Leadership” Awards

(Springfield, IL) — The State Associations of Addiction Services (SASS) bestowed its “Excellence in Leadership” on Illinois TASC President Melody Heaps in Orlando, Florida on June 2008.

“The SASS award recognizes an individual who exemplifies excellence in leadership, one who advocates nationally in behalf of addictions treatment and prevention,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Howe, right, nominated Heaps and presented the award in Orlando.

Heaps is founder and president of TASC, Inc., an independent, not-for-profit agency that provides access to treatment for certain drug-involved individuals in Illinois who are referred by criminal justice, corrections, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems. TASC conducts clinical assessments, matches clients with appropriate community-based treatment programs, and provides ongoing client monitoring and recovery management services.

Under Ms. Heaps’ leadership, TASC has grown from a small pilot program in Cook County (IL) to a statewide organization that serves more than 20,000 individuals in Illinois each year. TASC also conducts research, advances public policy, and provides training and consultation services nationally and internationally.

Recognized as an expert on improving system responses to drugs and crime, Ms. Heaps has served on numerous federal, state, and local task forces, committees, and councils dealing with criminal justice, substance abuse, child welfare, and other social issues.

She was asked in 2003 to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Advisory Committee on the Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. In 2001 she was appointed to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Demand Reduction Advisory Council, and in 1996 was selected for the Drug Control Research, Data and Evaluation Committee of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Additionally, Heaps has been appointed to a number of committees and councils for the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), including the Technical Expert Panel on “Financing, Cost and Access to Substance Abuse Treatment” in 2001, Partners for Recovery in 1999, and the National Advisory Council in 1994.

A committee appointed by the SAAS President reviewed the award nominations and recommended that Heaps receive the award.


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