By Alison Knopf
Longtime methadone and opioid treatment program (OTP) advocate and professional Edward J. Higgins died peacefully at home in Toms River, New Jersey on October 8.
Mr. Higgins began working in methadone treatment in 1973. In 1984, as clinic director in charge of state methadone programs in Asbury Park and Toms River, he helped 13 methadone programs form a group of private non-profit entities called JSAS HealthCare Inc. The next year he helped found the Northeast Regional Methadone Treatment Association, which eventually became the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD). Mr. Higgins represented New Jersey at AATOD.
Mr. Higgins was CEO/Executive Director of the non-profit JSAS HealthCare Inc., Neptune N.J., from July 1984 until his death.
“Ed was profoundly helpful in organizing the New Jersey providers during the early period, and he also worked with our northeastern colleagues to lay the groundwork for what would become the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence,” said AATOD president Mark Parrino, MPA. “Besides being an extremely knowledgeable administrator, Ed was always generous with his time and efforts in moving our association’s agenda forward.”
Mr. Higgins was chair of AATOD’s finance committee and a mentor to many program administrators and staff, Mr. Parrino said. “All of us will miss him dearly. His legacy is the treatment program he leaves behind, and many grateful patients.”
Mr. Higgins, 74, was a frequent source of information for AT Forum throughout the years. We will miss him.