Huber: A Tireless Advocate For Drug Addiction Awareness

There are still miles to go before Jamestown, and the rest of Chautauqua County, wins its collective battle with drug addiction.

We would have further to go, however, were it not for Rick Huber. Huber, the longtime executive of the Mental Health Association, recently retired from the position, though he expects he will still be involved with the organization in some capacity. Kia Narraway-Briggs has taken over the reigns of the organization that Huber had led since 2005.

Huber has been a tireless advocate over the years. It was Huber who helped educate many in the community about the depths of Chautauqua County’s opioid problem. Often, it was Huber who helped put a face to the addiction crisis, explaining countless times how many of the people who found their way to the Mental Health Association were initially addicted through a legal prescription before branching out into illegal drugs. It is very likely that the county’s very open public discussion of the addiction problem and ways to solve that problem wouldn’t be happening were it not for Huber’s persistence over the years.

That work is important. Huber’s work helped lay the foundation for the treatment options that will begin coming online soon — though they are admittedly not happening nearly quickly enough for Huber’s taste. Huber was a bull in a china shop; that’s what happens when you see so many people lose their battle with addiction because services weren’t up and running when they were needed. The need for treatment options takes on a different importance when it’s your telephone ringing in the middle of the night and the voice on the other end of the line is begging for help.

Huber told The Post-Journal’s Katrina Fuller that he doesn’t feel he did anything special –he just opened the door. That’s really an understatement.

Rick Huber didn’t just open doors. He knocked them down with a sledgehammer. And thank goodness that he did. We are all better for it.