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NECC Does Its Part To Address Addiction Crisis

Submitted by on March 29, 2017 – 8:02 pm

NECC Alumna Mary Crockett ’96 Program Director, Gloucester Opioid Treatment Center

The best part of Mary Crockett’s job as program director of an opioid addiction treatment center is watching people change their lives knowing she had a part in that transformation.

“It’s amazing,” she says. “They may come to us emotionally and physically exhausted, and, after treatment, they’re productive members of the community, working, raising families, and contributing to society in other ways.”

Crockett is just one of the many graduates of NECC’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Program who are on the frontlines of the addiction epidemic, helping patients during their recovery. And with growing awareness of addiction, the demand for substance abuse counselors is stronger than ever.

Approximately 50 students are enrolled in the college’s 12-month program, and graduates have a 100 percent placement rate, says Brian MacKenna-Rice, program coordinator.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for substance abuse counselors is $39,270 and employment is expected to grow 22 percent between 2014 and 2024 which is much faster than average growth.

The great majority of students in the program are adults who are working and raising families while in college and many attend college part-time.

Crockett enrolled at Northern Essex after a couple of decades working as a florist in the Greater Boston area. The field interested her because, like so many, she knew people who were struggling with addiction. Once in the program, she found “that I was good at it, and I liked it.”

Her certificate led to an Associate Degree in Human Services and she eventually transferred to UMass Boston where she earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling. For more than 20 years, she has worked in methadone clinics and detox facilities in roles ranging from counselor to director.

In her job as program director of the Gloucester Opioid Treatment Center, Crockett oversees the day to day operations of a medication-assisted opioid treatment program with responsibility for 240 clients from the Cape Ann area. She has worked at eight different facilities during her career and come into contact with many co-workers who are graduates of Northern Essex’s program. “I see NECC graduates employed at all levels of care. Through its graduates, the college is playing an active role in addressing addiction issues within our communities.”

To learn more about enrolling at Northern Essex, visit the website at or contact Enrollment Services at, or 978-556-3700.