NCHRC Staff + Key Contractors

 

STAFF

Jesse Bennett, GED, MSW, LCAS, Executive Director, Raleigh and statewide

Jesse Bennett MSW, LCAS is a former drug user and a formerly incarcerated person. He works as the executive director for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. He participates in the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina through leadership, advocacy, resource and policy development, and education. Jesse has a master’s in social work from North Carolina State University and is a certified in integrated harm reduction psychotherapy. 

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Michelle Franklin Blackmon, Linkage to Care Specialist- Haywood County 

Michelle is a life-long resident of Haywood County. Her commitment to helping others through harm reduction is informed by her lived experiences with homelessness and struggles with mental health and substance use disorder, as well as having lost several loved ones to overdose. Michelle and her partner Mark are passionate about helping out unsheltered neighbors in Haywood,  Michelle is a mother of three as well as having two grand-babies

Michelle's email is: mblackmon@nchrc.org

Phone: (919)703-3997

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Alicia Brunelli, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker - Raleigh/Johnston County 

Alicia has been around harm reduction in many ways throughout her life. Alicia came to us by way of Urban Survivors Union (USU). 

Alicia's email is: alicia@nchrc.org

Phone number: 919-703-5599

 

Rivette Cole, Linkage to Care Specialist- Fayettville/Cumberland

Rivette's email is: rivette@nchrc.org

 

 

 

James Frazier, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker- Wilmington/New Hanover

James started as a volunteer and has a  charismatic personality. He Is Your New Gay, Former Drug User and Local Activist. He Is A Believer in the Following: Equal Rights are Human Rights, That Black Lives Matter, It's Her Body Her Choice and LGBTQ+ Rights are Mandatory Rights. He Is An Outreach Worker/Syringe Exchange Worker for North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) and He Looks Forward To Making Difference For A Better Future.

James's email: james@nchrc.org

Phone: (910) 228-7605

 

Reid Getty, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker/Phlebotomist - Durham

 Reid is a non-binary harm reduction advocate who hails from Carteret County, North Carolina. They are a former drug user who currently lives and works in Durham. Reid started as a volunteer at NCHRC after completing an Associate’s in Substance Abuse Counseling and realizing that the traditional forms of treatment taught were not reacting to the diverse populations and experiences that exist.

Reid offers overdose reversal trainings, distributes naloxone and information at local events, and works on the Durham mobile exchange as well as operates the Friday fixed site in Durham. They are excited to begin phlebotomy training and be able to provide HIV/HepC testing for participants. Reid is a proud believer in harm reduction, prison abolition, and securing rights for sex workers and drug users.

Reid’s email is: reid@nchrc.org

 

Becca Goldstein, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker- Haywood

Becca's email is: beccag@nchrc.org

 

Toni Holcombe, LEAD Harm Reduction Outreach Worker- Haywood

Toni's email is: toni@nchrc.org

 

Melissia Larson, Law Enforcement Programs Manager - Statewide

Melissia Larson manages the development and implementation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) sites across North Carolina and provides training to law enforcement on harm reduction topics.Her professional interests include increasing awareness among law enforcement on how harm reduction plays a critical role in their response along with creating understanding of the intersection of co-occurring disorders within the justice system.

 She is an experienced public safety project director with over 19 years within the area of criminal justice and public safety initiatives. Melissia has directed numerous collaborative initiatives including preventing and responding to human trafficking, domestic violence homicide prevention and diversion of justice involved people with mental illness. During her career, Melissia has provided technical assistance on a variety of issues and was on the forefront for North Carolina law enforcement agencies implementing permanent drop-off boxes for unwanted prescription pills and for law enforcement’s deployment of naloxone. Melissia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. 

 Melissia’s email is: mlarson@nchrc.org   

Phone number: 252-341-5102

 

Karen Lowe, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Outreach Specialist - Statesville

Karen is a Certified Peer Support Specialist with over 10 years of harm reduction experience. She has served communities affected by HIV/AIDS , homelessness, substance use disorder and mental illness.  She has a long history of social justice advocacy including meeting with elected officials on the local, statewide and national level in order to affect policy change.  

Karen is also the co-founder of a faith-based harm reduction organization in western North Carolina. She currently serves as a subject matter expert for the NC DHHS Injury and Violence Prevention Branch’s Syringe Exchange Academy.

Karen’s email is: klowe@nchrc.org

 

 Dorothy McNair, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker- Fayettville/Cumberland

Dorothy is Dorothy and no one is gonna change that! 

Dorothy's email: dorothy@nchrc.org

 

 

Kayla Moore MSCCJ, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program Case Manager – Statesville

Kayla currently serves as NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Case Manager (LEAD) for the Statesville location. She provides intensive case management, develops individualized intervention plans and connects participants to comprehensive services.

Kayla has a Master of Science Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and has 6 years of case management experience in corrections. During her work in corrections, she has helped over 60 offenders receive their High School Equivalency Diploma and implemented a Combating Hunger Program inside the prison. Kayla has personal experience with addiction and is dedicated to helping those affected by substance use.

Kayla’s email is: kmoore@nchrc.org

Phone: 828-291-4925

 

 Rene Pate, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker, Goldsboro-Wayne County 

Rene has been a volunteer naloxone distributor for NCHRC since 2014. In 2020, Rene came aboard full-time as our only dedicated outreach worker in Wayne County. Rene is a force to be reckoned with and exudes unconditional positive regard.

Rene's email is: rene@nchrc.org

Phone: (910) 800-1571

 

Rebekah Paulson, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker, Wake/Raleigh, Johnston County 

Bekah began her harm reduction journey many, many moons ago. She was pivotal in the implementation of a syringe services program (SSP) in Dare County, NC, with one of the first church based SSPs, or what we like to call Faith in Harm Reduction. Bekah is a force to be reckoned with.

Bekah's email is: bekah@nchrc.org

Phone: (910) 228-6090

 

Charlton Roberson, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker/PORT/LEAD- Fayettville/Cumberland County

Charlton's email is: charlton@nchrc.org

 

Becca Rose, Eastern Regional Coordinator – Wilmington, Fayettville, Statewide

Becca Rose has been a volunteer for NCHRC since 2014, before syringe exchange became legalized, sorting files, holding Naloxone kit parties and occasionally managing the underground office.

In 2018 Becca came back in full force to become NCHRC’s best and brightest Outreach Worker for New Hanover and surrounding counties. Becca manages the fixed site Syringe Exchange in Wilmington, runs our Mobile Delivery program, leads our Overdose Prevention class in the New Hanover County Jail for women, conducts several Naloxone trainings for various organizations around town, and provides resources to participants who need housing, food, clothing, medical, MAT, and employment referrals.

Becca has been a guest speaker on several local podcasts to speak about Harm Reduction in an effort to build Community Partnerships and continues to grow the attendance in our Naloxone kit making parties more and more each month through the use of these partnerships as well as social media. Becca is also passionate about perinatal participants. Having been directly impacted, Becca knows exactly how to navigate the various healthcare systems for women who use drugs before, during, and after their pregnancies, and offers a great deal of support throughout that time. Becca has also spoken on panels relating to breastfeeding and childcare for women who use drugs and how healthcare systems can better empower women despite drug use.

Becca’s email is: becca@nchrc.org

 

Voni Goodson-Simpson, Linkage to Care Program Manager, Wilmington and Statewide

Voni M. Goodson-Simpson is a Wilmington native. For more than twenty years, through her work; she has been a committed advocate for those battling mental health issues ,substance abuse, and survivors of domestic violence. Her current position with Norh Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition allows for her community service to continue.

Voni's email is: voni@nchrc.org

 Phone: (919) 703-8867

Brandi Wilson, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker - Henderson

Brandi provides harm reduction services and naloxone to people who use drugs, do sex work and/or take bupe/methadone in the northeastern rural counties.

Brandi’s email is: brandi@nchrc.org

Phone: 910-821-3461

 

Loftin Wilson, Harm Reduction Programs Manager – Durham and statewide

Loftin Wilson is a Harm Reduction Programs Manager at NCHRC. He started as a volunteer in 2010 and then worked part-time as an outreach worker for five years, before starting as full-time staff in the fall of 2015. 

Loftin now divides his time between providing direct services and doing program management and development for NCHRC’s harm reduction programs. His areas of focus include making harm reduction accessible for people who are transgender, people who live in rural communities and people who are incarcerated. Loftin grew up in Alamance County and now lives in Durham.

Loftin's email: loftin@nchrc.org

Phone: 919-370-0671 

 

Gariann Yochym, LEAD Case Manager - Waynesville

Gariann provides harm reduction services throughout Haywood County and case management services for the Waynesville LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Program. Prior to her current work, she taught high school English for 8 years. During her tenure, she was involved in a number of social justice campaigns and, ultimately, decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work to further her efforts to effect change, with specific interest in drug policy and criminal justice reform.

She has worked as a jail and prison re-entry case manager and was instrumental in launching a successful Ban the Box campaign in Asheville-Buncombe County. Gariann’s personal and professional experiences have enhanced her understanding of the ways in which the War on Drugs has impacted individuals, families, and communities, as well as, the limitations of the dominant abstinence-based treatment paradigm. Consequently, she has sought work that advances trauma-informed, evidence-based practices; that advances progressive public health policies and that aligns more closely with her values and principles - work as a harm reductionist.

Gariann’s email is gariann@nchrc.org.

Phone: 910-228-9322

  

KEY CONTRACTORS

 

Dr. Logan Graddy, Medical Director, Durham, NC

Dr. Graddy attended medical school at the University of South Florida, psychiatric residency at Duke University, and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at West Virginia University. He is board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. At NCHRC Dr. Graddy directs the overdose prevention program and assists in NCHRC's education and advocacy work. 

  

Donnie Varnell, Special Law Enforcement Projects Consultant

Donnie helped implement NCHRC’s  first Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and currently works as law enforcement trainings consultant. Previously, he was the Special Agent In-Charge for the NC SBI Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit (DECU) where he developed policies, conducted and supervised investigations dealing with prescription narcotics and environmental violations. He was with the SBI from 1991 through 2015.  Donnie received his BS in Criminal Justice from Texas State University in 1985. Prior to joining the SBI he served as a Field Artillery Officer in the US Army and worked for the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Wilson Police Department. Donnie is also a long-time high school and club soccer coach. 

  

Detective Sergeant Ronald Martin, Harm Reduction Policing Consultant - Raleigh

Ronald Martin works pa as one of NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Safety Advocates. He is a former Detective Sergeant and is a dedicated, committed Law Enforcement Professional with over 20 years of experience in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). At the NYPD, he trained officers to a highly proficient level of community patrol, enforcement and public security. He supervised narcotics teams and mid to high-level narcotic cases involving pen wires leading to extensive criminal prosecution. Ronald also consulted directly with the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New York City on issues of internal misconduct. He has also conducted and investigated various criminal offenses while working as a team member in conjunction with the Secret Service, DEA, ATF, and FBI.  At NCHRC, he advocates for needlestick and overdose prevention measures for officers in North Carolina and for more dialogue  between drug users, sex workers and law enforcement to create safer communities.