Acting Director Takes Over as Head of State’s Opioid Command Center

    The acting director of the Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center will take over as executive director on a full-time basis, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced Wednesday.

    Robin Rickard, who had been the agency’s deputy director, took over as acting director when Steve Schuh was named deputy secretary of health care financing and Medicaid for the Maryland Department of Health.

    The Opioid Operational Command Center facilitates collaboration between state and local public health, human services, education, and public safety agencies to combat opioid addiction in the state.

    “Here in Maryland, we have been shining a spotlight on the heroin and opioid crisis, which has become even more acute during the pandemic,” Hogan said in a statement. “This is more than just a healthcare crisis, it is tearing apart families and communities. Robin has dedicated her career to solving these problems, and she is passionate about public service.”

    Rickard was an assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County. She later became involved with Anne Arundel County’s drug courts, and oversaw both the District and Circuit Drug Courts for the State’s Attorney’s Office while prosecuting drug distribution cases.

    She has served as the deputy director and chief of staff of the Opioid Operational Command Center since March 2019.

    “Anyone who knows me either personally or professionally knows that saving lives of individuals who suffer from substance use disorder has been a passion of mine for over a decade,” she said.

    With Rickard’s promotion, Marianne Gibson, the center’s director of planning and state partner coordinator, will become deputy director.

    Prior to joining the agency, Gibson served as the behavioral health prevention administrator with the Howard County Health Department, where she managed the county’s overdose prevention programs, and as a program manager with the University of Maryland Baltimore, where she supported Maryland’s 24 local jurisdictions in implementing a public health planning model to address consequences from substance use.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.