Jesse Bennett, MSW, LCAS
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.
Alicia Brunelli (her mothers favorite daughter) has worn many hats throughout life, at times wearing more than one. From a student at the Art Institute for advertising in computer graphics to a bartender and executive design assistant to a federal inmate at Hazelton S.F.F. In West Virginia.
Since shedding her bracelet, she’s reestablished herself and gotten into harm reduction starting out at USU in Greensboro as Assistant to the Director and moving to NCHRC as an Outreach Worker and we’re happy to have her. Alicia’s passion for harm reduction and social justice shows in every decision she makes as she infiltrates as many spaces she can soaking up as much knowledge possible. Don’t let her charismatic and witty character fool you, her drive and courage are unstoppable. Go ahead and reach out.
Shannon comes to the NC Harm Reduction Coalition with her passion for reducing injuries in communities and supporting the team to ensure they have the resources they need to do impactful work. Prior to joining, started her career in marketing and communication for the State of NC and national highway safety programs but quickly realizing her passion for grants and how funding can help get more programs out into communities. She lead grant and financial management sections for State highway safety office and before ending her career, she lead NC Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Section for the NC Department of Insurance where she managed 47 county coalitions and was able to increase programs to reduce risk in all ages. Outside of work, she enjoys building furniture and spending time with family/friends and her dog “Tucker”.
Michelle Franklin Blackmon
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
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.
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.
Melissia Larson oversees the development and implementation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) sites across the State 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 20 years within the area of criminal justice and public safety initiatives. She has directed numerous collaborative initiatives to include 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 the law enforcement deployment of naloxone. Melissia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
Charlton Roberson, CADC, QMHP
Voni 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, chronic disease, substance use disorder and survivors of domestic violence. Her current position with Norh Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition allows for her community service to continue.
Loftin Wilson is a Harm Reduction Programs Manager at NCHRC. Loftin grew up in Alamance County and now lives in Durham. His journey with NCHRC began as a volunteer in 2010. Loftin 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, living in rural communities, and incarcerated.