“I woke up in the hospital to find I’d flipped my car and killed the woman I loved. I’d lost everything: Laura, our future together, the career in law I had been working toward. I was both the victim of a horrible crime and its perpetrator.”
Mark experienced intense grief, guilt, and trauma. Sometimes he wished he’d died with Laura. But he ultimately found forgiveness, love, and meaning. Mark rebuilt his life to honor Laura’s memory, started a family, and went on to become one of the nation’s top advocates for criminal justice and addiction policy reform.
Mark L. O’Brien is a recognized expert and sought-after speaker on criminal justice and addiction. He is the Executive Director of Trauma Informed Inc, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about trauma and empowering people who have experienced trauma, and founder and CEO of Springlake Solutions, where he works with nonprofits and state and local governments to advance common-sense reforms that improve public safety and health.
He previously served as Executive Vice President of Addiction Policy Forum where he led efforts to educate the public, policymakers, families, and patients about the disease of addiction and support those grieving a substance-related loss. Mark was Baltimore City’s Director of Opioid Overdose Prevention where he managed a high-profile overdose response cited as a model by President Barack Obama. As the Director of Communications and a Senior Policy Associate at the Legal Action Center, Mark worked with advocates, members of Congress, and White House staff to reduce barriers for people with criminal records and expand access to addiction treatment for those in the criminal justice system.
Mark is an experienced keynote speaker and has presented at Congressional briefings, conferences, and before the Executive Office of the President, American Bar Association, U.S. Interagency Reentry Council, NASA, American Constitution Society, Poynter Institute, and many others.