Meet the people working behind the scenes

We practice a feminist co-director model. We value shared leadership, community collaboration, and partnership with people advancing racial, economic, and social justice in New Jersey.
Meet our staff, community harm reduction ambassadors, and board below (in alphabetical order by first name).


Anthony Gray, Jr

Anthony Gray Jr. (he/him)

Direct Services Coordinator
Anthony leads NJHRC’s mail-based naloxone program and is integral to the New Brunswick street outreach team. Anthony is a dreamer who loves expressing himself with words, music, and the action of organizing groups to serve his community. He tries his best to be down-to-earth, being thankful for the current present moment which he thinks is the greatest gift.
I believe in harm reduction because we stand for supporting people who use drugs. To show by actions that we care for others just as much as we care for ourselves, harm reduction practices help make our community a better place.
My favorite tools to help distribute on outreach is our wound care kit. It comes with a bunch of supplies including gauze, bandaids, ibuprofen and gloves just to name a few. In a situation where you need access to immediate supplies the wound care kit is the most helpful.
Something I like to do to relax is spending time with my close ones to appreciate life and love.
Caitlin O'Neill

Caitlin O'Neill (they/them)

Director of Harm Reduction Services
Caitlin is a survivor, a healer, and a harm reductionist. They were introduced to Harm Reduction in the 00’s through utilizing a local syringe service program, and spent a dozen years or so informally serving as the harm reductionist of their social circle while working full-time as a massage therapist & bodyworker. Caitlin believes it is the birthright of every human being to experience joy, dignity, and bodily autonomy. Co-founder of New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, they work to build a world in which people who use drugs have access to resources for healing and self-determined care, regardless of background or choices.
I believe in harm reduction because I have seen and experienced firsthand the gruesome things that happen without it. No one deserves to suffer for what we put into our bodies and how we put it there. I have also seen and experienced firsthand the magic of someone simply reminding you that your life has value and that you are not dirty or bad, and that magic can make a huge impact on our spirit and sense of self-worth.
Safer use gear: new syringes, straws, or pipes. offering something to honor where that person is at this moment, and acknowledging that they deserve to not be harmed while using — no matter what they’re using — that’s huge. Trust and dignity begin with honoring a person for their whole existence, not just the parts that fit into some coercive model of “success.”
I enjoy spending my time off with my partner and my family—especially time hanging with our two cats or with my three nephews. To unwind, I’m a big fan of a long herbal bath and my drugs of choice.
Jenna Mellor

Jenna Mellor (she/her)

Executive Director

Jenna has over ten years of experience at the intersection of direct service and public policy. She previously served as the first Associate Director at Point Source Youth, aide to Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Outreach Manager at HIPS, and has advised the New Jersey Department of Health on harm reduction best practices.

Jenna holds a BA from Harvard College and completed her Master’s in Public Affairs at Princeton in 2020, focusing on drug and housing policies that promote public health and human dignity. Jenna is a co-founder of NJHRC, and previously served on the boards of New Leaders Council — New Jersey and the New Jersey Abortion Access Fund. Jenna is also a proud product of Atlantic County and lover of the Pine Barrens.

I love harm reduction because it works — it values deep relationships and longterm investment in people’s wellbeing. The power and change that comes when people are respected and treated as the experts in our own lives is truly remarkable. 

I have three: consistency, syringes, and policy change!

Consistency is so key to building trust. And while harm reduction is about much more than syringes, injection is also the most stigmatized form of drug use. If we embrace safer injection (“building from the margins” style), we’re probably moving toward more equitable drug policy for everyone.

Finally, on policy change: we always try to look at systems and structures and see if we can get at the underlying causes of harms that our team bears witness to during outreach.

Take baths, hang with my sweetheart and cat, watch the Eagles (I’m a big fan of Jalen Hurts!), and (if the weather is sunny!) go tubing with loved ones. Being near water, whether a bathtub or ocean or river, makes me happy.

Jose Valdez

Jose Valdez (he/him)

Operations Manager

Over the last few years, Jose has spent his time with NJHRC volunteering and supporting harm reduction services with his IT knowledge. His focus in IT communication and analytics has made him a valuable partner in the organization. He’s passionate about learning new things and keeping up with IT solutions and digital materials.

I believe in harm reduction because support makes sense. Over time you meet people who struggle with emotions and trauma, and often need to find a safe place to feel heard and accepted. Dealing with emotions comes in a variety of ways, I feel we’re out to create better ways to reduce harm to ourselves and showing others the way.

My valued outreach tool is the web. I feel the website was a foundation that allows people to find information and receive support in their hands. 

I like to try new recipes and baking with my children. Outside of their time, I enjoy creating with other musicians.

Community Ambassadors

Harm reduction ambassadors increase awareness about harm reduction, naloxone availability, and the impacts of the drug war in their communities.

Bobby Lowry

Bobby Lowry (he/him)

Community Ambassador
Robert Lowry aka Bobby is currently the Harm Reduction Coordinator for the VNA’s Prevention Resource Network’s (PRN) Harm Reduction Center located in Asbury Park. Bobby started his work in public health seven years ago as a volunteer at the PRN’s LGBTQ youth drop in-center. From there, he became a community outreach leader and helped open Asbury Park’s syringe access program. Bobby is a member of the NJ HIV Planning Group and a previous co-chair of their Gay Men’s Committee; helps plan the annual NJ Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day Summit; and is a steering committee member of the Long Branch drug task force. In 2020, Bobby was named one of the top 100 influential LGBTQ people in the state by Insider NJ.
Why not? We use harm reduction in our everyday lives from life saving tools such as air bags and seat belts in cars to simple things such as wearing appropriate footwear.
Engagement and listening. By engagement I mean going into the communities you wish to serve as suppose to waiting for them to come to you. If you listen to the communities you serve, you will learn more about them than any class.
NAPS!!! lol I also do love me a good book or manga series.
Roxy Walker

Roxy Walker (she/her)

Community Ambassador
Roxy is a survivor — she wants people to know that she’s been out here for a while and she’s making it and surviving. She has God on her side, angels around her, and an awesome outreach team of Caitlin, Anthony, Jenna, Elaina, and Jennie to work with.
I believe in harm reduction because it’s something good for the community and I’m using my understanding of the community to give back
Everything! Everything we do is awesome shit, excuse my language.
I take deep breaths and count to ten. It works. And the rest of the team has started doing it.

Ray McKnight (they/them)

Community Ambassador

Coming Soon


Dr. Amesika Nyaku

Dr. Amesika Nyaku, MD, MS (she/her/hers)

Board Secretary
Assistant Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases;
Co-Director of the Northern New Jersey Medication-Assisted Treatment Center of Excellence

Dr. Amesika Nyaku, MD, MS is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and work as a physician-scientist. Dr. Nyaku provides clinical care for people living with HIV or other infectious diseases and substance use disorders. Dr. Nyaku also serves as the co-director of the Northern New Jersey Medication-Assisted Treatment Center of Excellence that is tasked with assisting the state in expanding access to medications for opioid use disorder. Dr. Nyaku research focuses on evaluating long-acting therapeutics for HIV and opioid use disorder, the implementation of integrated care models for HIV and substance use disorders to improve health outcomes, and increasing the inclusion and participation of racial/ethnic minorities in clinical trials research.

Because the evidence is unequivocal; harm reduction saves lives.

An open mind and being ready to listen to people’s stories

I love music, gardening, and watching my pets do silly things!

Ami Kachalia

Ami Kachalia (she/her)

Board Chair
Campaign Strategist, ACLU-NJ

Ami Kachalia is a Campaign Strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, where she develops and leads policy advocacy campaigns with a focus on criminal legal reform, drug policy reform, and immigrants’ rights.

Eddie Frierson (he/him)

Board Trustee
Statewide Harm Reduction Manager, Hyacinth Foundation
Eddie Frierson has a BA in Business Management. Although Eddie studied business, he could not escape the willing need to help those who are in need of basic social services. Instead of using his background for profit, he felt that it would be beneficial to take those same skills and immerse it in community health and education. Eddie is the Statewide Harm Reduction Manager for the Hyacinth Foundation and has been in social services for over 10 years. Eddie is the manager of three of the seven Syringe Access Programs in New Jersey. He is an advocate for Harm Reduction and is a true believer in meeting individuals where they are, by any means necessary. Be a part of the help and not a part of the continued neglect!
Leslie Harrison

Reverand Dr. Leslie Harrison

Board Treasurer
Pastor at Mt. Zion AME Church & Founder of Let It Flow Enterprises (LIFE)
Rev. Dr. Leslie Robin Harrison can be described as a listener, a friend, and a voice for the voiceless (until they find their voice). She is the pastor of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church and earned a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy at Eastern University. She is passionate about helping people live into their dreams and purpose. She has served over 20 years as a chaplain and pastoral counselor specializing in addiction.

I believe in harm reduction because harm reduction saves lives. Also as a member of the human race and a faith leader it is my duty to help individuals live life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible.

My most effective outreach tool is my presence and my voice.

To relax I try to get myself, a thick blanket and salty snacks in the presence of some moving water (i.e. river, ocean, fountain) and when that is not possible I turn on some water soundscapes audio or video and eat some chips while resting with my eyes closed and breathing deeply while laying on a soft blanket.

Michael Enich

Michael Enich (he/him)

Board Secretary
Graduate Assistant, Center for Prevention Science
Michael Enich is a MD/PhD Student at Rutgers University interested in health, homelessness, housing, and harm reduction. His research focuses on the intersections of these issues, such as substance use disorder treatment, health disparities for people experiencing chronic homelessness, Street Medicine, and evaluation of health policy and health service delivery. As of writing this he thinks he’s going to be a family medicine doctor, but recognizes a lot can happen during a PhD before he applies to residency! He’s proudly from Chicago, IL and graduated with a BA in Religion from St. Olaf College in 2014.

Not to be too academic, but I believe in harm reduction because the evidence is there that it works! I also deeply value bodily autonomy and admire how firmly rooted in that value harm reductionists are.

I have a profound appreciation for the Squat and Listen, i.e., kneeling down when people sitting on the ground are talking to you– and then letting them speak!
I climb rocks (usually plastic ones indoors) and am currently (slowly) baking my way through the whole Tartine cookbook.

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Harm reduction is essential. A harm reduction approach to drug use is the best strategy we have to end the overdose crisis, reduce risks associated with drug use, and affirm the dignity and bodily autonomy of every New Jerseyan.

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