Law Enforcement and Community Summit on Heroin in North Carolina


.Law Enforcement and Community Summit on Heroin in North Carolina


Law enforcement and community leaders will gather at the legislature to discuss legislative solutions to reducing the negative impacts of Heroin in our communities. Law enforcement and community leaders will discuss increasing access to naloxone, syringe exchange, law enforcement angel programs, law enforcement assisted diversion, increasing access to social services, detox and rehabilitation activities.

Event Location:  North Carolina General Assembly, 16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601  

Event Date: Thursday, May 12,  8:45 AM - 1 PM

Contact: Robert Childs, 336-543-8050,

Sign up at:

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Thomas Bashore, Chief of Police, Nashville Police Department, Nashville, NC
  • Tessie Castillo, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Raleigh, NC
  • Robert Childs, MPH,  Executive Director, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Wilmington, NC
  • William H. Hollingsed, Chief of Police, Waynesville Police Department, Waynesville, NC
  • John Ingram, Sheriff, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Bolivia, NC
  • Jim Johnson, Ret. Chief of Police, Huntington Police Department, Huntington, WV
  • Melissia Larson, Grants Administrator, Pitt County Sheriff, Greenville, NC

  • Ronald Martin, Law Enforcement Safety Advocate/Retired NYPD, Raleigh, NC
  • Terry Nowiski, Community Member, Fayetteville, NC
  • Kris Nyrop, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion National Support Director, Public Defender Association, Seattle, WA
  • Mike Page, Community Advocate, Wilmington, NC
  • Will Penn, Lieutenant, Winston-Salem PD, Winston Salem, NC
  • Lars Paul, Captain of Internal Affairs, Fayetteville Police Department, Fayetteville, NC
  • Scott Proescholdbell, MPH, Epidemiologist Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, DHHS, Raleigh, NC
  • James Sizemore, Coordinator of Harm Reduction Education and Resources, NCHRC, Fayetteville, NC
  • Mike Trempus, Community Member, Raleigh, NC
  • Donnie Varnell, Ret. Special Agent in Charge of the State Bureau of Investigation/Harm Reduction Policing Coordinator, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, Mateo, NC
  • Brad West, Ret. Marine, Jacksonville, NC


Thomas Bashore, is the Chief of Police of Nashville PD (NC).

Robert Childs, MPH has been North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition’s (NCHRC) Executive Director since 2009 and oversees the agency's operations and innovation.  Robert was named one of five people who made a difference in HIV in the USA in 2011 by and was recognized along with NCHRC for running the best US Grassroots Campaign by the ADAP Advocacy Association in 2013. Robert Childs specializes in HIV & hepatitis prevention, harm reduction, drug policy reform, law enforcement occupational safety & drug overdose response, and community based overdose prevention utilizing naloxone. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the US Congress, the FDA, New York City Council and the North Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Oregon State Legislatures. Robert Childs' proudest advocacy achievements are leading the campaigns that led to the passage in 2013 of SB20, a Republican comprehensive overdose prevention bill and HB850, a Republican partial syringe decriminalization bill, as well as providing key technical assistance on Republican 911 Good Samaritan/naloxone legislative campaigns in South Carolina (HB 3083 in 2015) and Georgia (HB 965 in 2014).  Robert has continued his work with NCHRC's campaign for enhanced harm reduction laws in 2015, which led to the passage of NC's SB154 (overdose prevention) and NC's HB712 (biohazard collection and partial decriminalization of syringes with residue).  Childs previously worked in New York City as Positive Health Project’s Program Director, as well as in New Hampshire and Oregon as a social worker, health educator and farmer.

Since 2010, Tessie Castillo has served as Advocacy and Communication Coordinator for NCHRC. She is the agency’s only registered lobbyist and has successfully advocated for the passage of SB20: 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access law and HB850: Possession of Needles/Tell Law Officer law in 2013; and SB154: Clarifying the Good Samaritan law in 2015, as well as introduced bills on Ban the Box, naloxone funding and syringe collection. She produces the majority of NCHRC’s media articles on harm reduction, drug policy reform, sex work and law enforcement issues and has been published in Slate, Salon, The Fix, AlterNet and The Huffington Post. In addition to her advocacy and media work, Tessie conducts trainings around the state on drug overdose prevention, law enforcement safety and other harm reduction topics, and provides technical assistance to agencies and departments who wish to launch a naloxone or biohazard collection programs.

William H. Hollingsed, is the Chief of Police of Waynesville Police Department.

John Ingram, is the Sheriff of Brunswick County.

Jim Johnson, is the Retired Chief of Police at the Huntington Police Department in West Virginia.

Melissia Larson, is the Grants Administrator at the Pitt County Sheriff.

Ronald Martin works part-time 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 conducting street level buy and sell operations and warrant executions. Furthermore, he managed 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 a safer communities.

Terry Nowiski, a retired private school educator and principal from Fayetteville, NC, is married and has three children. The first born, Angela, is a licensed professional counselor with a certification as an addiction specialist. Her identical twin boys, Jon, a college student, and Aaron, now deceased,  are Army Veterans who both struggled with addiction as a result of their time in war. Terry and her husband are currently renovating a home that will be named “Aaron’s House” in honor of their son that will be a residential home and school to help heal, restore and reconcile at-risk teen boys with their families.



Kris Nyrop, is the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion National Support Director at the Public Defender Association in Seattle, WA.

Mike Page, is a Community Advocate for harm reduction, based out of Wilmington, NC.

Will Penn, is a Lieutenant, Winston-Salem PD.

Lars Paul, Is a Captain of Internal Affairs at Fayetteville Police Department

Scott Proescholdbell, MPH, is a Epidemiologist at the department Injury and Violence Prevention Branch at DHHS.

Pastor James Sizemore, is the Coordinator of Harm Reduction Education and Resources for NCHRCJames oversees NCHRC's biohazard collection program, NCHRC's harm reduction affairs in the Cape Fear/Cumberland County region, assists with grants management and assists with develops of resources for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Programs in the American South.

Mike Trempus  is a Community Member from Raleigh, NC

Donnie Varnell leads NCHRC's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and law enforcement trainings and organizing program for NC Harm Reduction.  Prior to working for NCHRC, Donnie 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.  Donnie has been married for 29 years and is the father of two daughters.

Brad West, is a retired Marine from Jacksonville, NC.