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FBI honors St. Mary's health officer for efforts in opioid crisis

 

Leonardtown, MD – The Baltimore Field Office of the FBI has awarded St. Mary’s County Health Officer, Dr. Meenakshi G. Brewster, MD, the 2017 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA).


The DCLA award was created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating terrorism, cybercrime, illegal drugs, gangs and other crimes leading to violence in America. Dr. Brewster is one of 56 individuals or organizations across the United States to receive the award for their service above and beyond the call of duty.


Dr. Brewster is being recognized for her dedication and commitment to working with law enforcement, other government entities and the community to combat the nation’s opioid crisis while educating the community on awareness, prevention and treatment. She leads the local health department’s efforts to provide resources to the community and implement interventions to address the opioid crisis. Most importantly in helping local, state and federal law enforcement agencies complete their mission, she recognizes the value of a relationship with law enforcement and a multi-faceted approach to combating this epidemic.


In conjunction with some of the outreach initiatives, Dr. Brewster has provided training and medication to citizens and law enforcement allowing for individuals to administer naloxone to someone believed to be experiencing an opioid overdose.
“The work that Dr. Brewster does can go unnoticed or can go without acknowledgement,” said Gordon B. Johnson, FBI Baltimore Field Office Special Agent in Charge. “The work that you do, partnering with us and law enforcement, is absolutely critical in solving the problem and we can’t thank you enough.”


The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County also recognized Dr. Brewster with a commendation for the work she has done to combat the crisis in the county. “She’s been outstanding in keeping us informed about what’s happening and what we need to do as far as our participation regarding this crisis,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy.

Additionally, as St. Mary’s County Health Officer, Dr. Brewster has issued a county wide standing order for naloxone to be dispensed by local pharmacies to qualified individuals, prior to a similar statewide order being issued. The standing order helped expand access to naloxone to those at-risk of experiencing an opioid overdose and make it easier for people to get naloxone from their local pharmacist when needed.


St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron presented Dr. Brewster with a Sheriff’s Salute Award in recognition of her efforts. “We are blessed to have leadership like yours,” said Sheriff Cameron. “We told the public that this is not a law enforcement challenge, that this was a public health emergency and you have led the way very effectively.”


Dr. Brewster chairs or participates in numerous boards to include Overdose Fatality Review Board and the Behavioral Health Action Team while playing a key role in assisting the St. Mary’s County Detention Center with issues related to mental health and addiction.


FBI Director Christopher Wray will personally recognize and honor Dr. Brewster at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 20.

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