Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Theo, End Overdose's CEO and full time Los Angeles City firefighter/paramedic, has had first hand experience with opioid overdose from many angles. Now with 11 years sober, Theo himself has battled addiction and has experienced significant losses in his life due to overdose, including the loss of his fiancé and many friends. These experiences fueled Theo's determination to help others by becoming a firefighter/paramedic. After reviving countless lives with Narcan, he became determined to share his skills and training with all who wish to have it. Theo has continued to innovate and build the organization with ceaseless fervor. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Theo worked to develop an online training program with best friend and End Overdose's COO, Chris. In its first months of inception, the online program helped certify and deliver over five hundred Narcan kits to different people across the United States and continues to train 1000's. With strong determination, Theo continues to build our programs in order to make Narcan/naloxone and fentanyl test strips available to everyone who needs it and provide the highest quality training available with the lowest barrier.
Chief Operating Officer
Chris, Los Angeles native and End Overdose's COO, has worn many hats for the organization over the past 5 years. Along with serving as a director from 2018-2019, he helped give our original training program a facelift by pushing it to follow an evidence based format before helping transform the once in-person only training into the current online program. After discovering his passion for medicine and working with the underserved, Chris worked for years in the LA County ER before pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a physician. He is now in his second year of a duel MD/MS program and plans on double boarding in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care.
Chief Strategy Officer
Vanessa Porea, End Overdose's CSO, began her career working in marketing/PR and project management for multiple global companies before getting licensed as a therapist in 2018. As a therapist and case manager, Vanessa worked in juvenile justice programs in Detroit before moving to Los Angeles to work at both community mental health programs and private treatment centers. With personal and professional experience and post-grad specialization in addiction, Vanessa has seen first-hand the devastation that addiction has on individuals, families, friends, and communities. Along with the heartbreaking stories about those struggling with addiction, Vanessa has also witnessed the incredible stories unfold of individuals who were able to get the help and support they needed. Through her work at End Overdose, Vanessa hopes to continue to support communities and provide opportunities to those directly impacted by addiction.
Chief Logistics Officer
Damien, End Overdose's Chief Logistics Officer, has years of professional management experience, with special skills in workflow management and logistics. His ability to combine this knowledge with leading teams effectively is vital to our organization. With years in recovery himself, Damien's drive for his work at End Overdose is fueled by passion to help others. If your event needs testing strips or requires in-person representation, Damien is the man behind the scenes putting it all together!
Chief Talent Officer
Mike Giegerich, End Overdose's CTO, is extensively experienced in the arts and recovery. After getting sober in 2016 while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he became a music industry professional and acquired partnership in a public relations agency. His passion for music and harm reduction has now intersected with End Overdose as he is preparing to lead the way on community building through concerts, pop-ups, and more. He hopes to assist in uniting creatives behind the message that we can reduce harm and end overdose together, one exhilarating event at a time.
Grant Writer & Senior Health Advisor
Debbie Camp (Aunt Debbie), End Overdose's Grant Writer and Senior Health Advisor, is a Public Health Nurse with over 14 years of field experience. As an overdose awareness advocate, she understands the heartbreak of the opioid epidemic, having lost a nephew to an overdose in 2016. Since 2017, she has been working with the grief community in Los Angeles to break the stigma of addiction and overdose. Calling herself the proudest Auntie on the block, Aunt Debbie says, “I feel James's spirit is with me, nudging me to turn grief into action”. Born and raised in the Detroit area, she has lived in LA for the past 20 years. With years of experience in health care, education, project planning and the indie music scene, Debbie is an integral part of the End Overdose team.
Lead Creative Advisor
Creating art in all its forms, from paintings to short films, has been the way Zej has attempted to convey messages of despair, hope, and reconciliation. In addition, he is a professional photographer specializing in weddings and a student of English literature at Pasadena Community College. His photographs have been featured in magazines, and his videos have amassed hundreds of thousands of views. Like millions of Americans, he knows somebody who died from an opioid overdose that might have been prevented. Hence, Zej helps create video content that instructs and engages audiences to confront the opioid epidemic.
Office Manager & Trainer
A.J. Banuelos is part of End Overdose's Community Action Team. After years of addition, he is a living testament to change! Rather than being a part of the problem at hand, he is taking action to be a part of the solution. He is a survivor of opioid overdose himself and knows the dangers of abuse, has lost people close to him, both family and friends. His passion is to help others in there struggles, he is currently enrolled in CCAPP to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, to be an agent of change, to help guide people and discover there full potential.
Director of Community Engagement
Annelisa is an all around artist, mover, performer and athlete. When she’s not on stage, she’s training for one. She refers to herself as a professional student who is always gaining knowledge. A student of life and death, she’s determined to keep people safe and hold those uncomfortable conversations. A background in Fashion and Psychology she’s excited to make drug safety cool again.
Community outreach coordinator
Darcy is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, studying psychobiology. With a passion for psychology and research, Darcy plans to pursue a career in psychiatry after completing medical school. She currently works as a research intern with a company called Quit Genius, on top of a fellowship with a UCLA research laboratory that aims to develop and evaluate a cost-effective and stigma-reducing platform to target opioid dependence: a digital therapeutic intervention via a mobile phone application with personalized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based messages and medication reminders. Because of her work with opioid use disorder, Darcy discovered her passion for harm reduction and wants to continue preventing drug-related deaths by working with End Overdose.
Community outreach & Trainer
Hagan has first-hand experience with the opioid epidemic through multiple lenses, and he has compassion for the damage that it can cause all those affected by it. Hagan deeply understands the importance of End Overdose’s mission, and is committed to helping implement it. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration, and is currently studying to get his CADC in order to become a certified alcohol and drug counselor.
After seeing so many people she cared about affected by opioid use, Katie wanted to ensure her community understood the importance of having naloxone readily available, as well as recognizing the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose. Prior to co-founding End Overdose, she was a Global Account Director at Telstra, a Global Fortune 500 company. While at Telstra, Katie was the US Representative for the company's International Gender Diversity Council. Katie's work experiences range from real estate management to non-profit fundraising.
Leah Schexnayder was born in raised in Pasadena, California. She is now a Los Angeles County EMT and works in the emergency department as an ER Technician. Leah had her first interaction with the severity of the opioid epidemic when she lived on the east coast while in college. Although she grew up seeing addiction in her family, Leah had never seen anything to this extent. Upon returning to California, Leah had many close friends die of an opioid overdoses and was overwhelmed by the frequency of overdose responses in her job. Leah felt a personal responsibility to ignite change in her community, as she knew how simple the use of naloxone was. Today, Leah is continuing her education in medicine in order to build her platform and bring awareness to this growing epidemic.
A prominent advocate, speaker, author, and media commentator, Ryan Hampton travels coast-to-coast to add solutions to our national addiction crisis. In recovery from a decade-long opioid addiction, Hampton has rocketed to the center of America’s rising addiction recovery advocacy movement. An alumnus of the Clinton White House, he’s worked with multiple non-profits and national recovery advocacy campaigns. He is now a prominent, leading face and voice of recovery advocacy and is changing the national conversation about addiction.
With content that reaches millions each month, Ryan breaks down cultural barriers that have kept people suffering in silence and is inspiring a new generation of people recovering out loud through his Voices Project.
He was part of the core team that released the first-ever U.S. Surgeon General’s report on addiction in 2016 and was singled out by Forbes as a top social entrepreneur in the recovery movement. Ryan connects a vast network of people who are passionate about ending the overdose crisis in America. He has been featured by—and is a contributor to—media outlets such as USA Today, MSNBC, Fox and Friends, the New York Times, NPR, HLN, Vice, Forbes, Slate, HuffPost, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal, and others.
Ryan has received praise from Democrats and Republicans alike for addressing addiction as a trans-political issue—crossing the political spectrum to build an inclusive coalition focused on solutions. He worked closely with the White House, Senate Democrats, Republicans, and U.S. House leadership, helping craft portions of the historic H.R. 6, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, signed into law in October 2018.
In 2016, he created the web series Addiction Across America, documenting his 30-day, 28 state, 8,000-mile cross-country trip visiting areas hit hardest by the addiction crisis. His first book, “American Fix — Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis and How to End It,” was released by St. Martin’s Press in August 2018.
In 2019, Ryan was named by Facebook as an inaugural leadership fellow and created the national advocacy initiative, Mobilize Recovery. Since its inception, Mobilize Recovery has recruited and trained over 2,000 new advocates from all 50 states focused on community-based solutions to end the addiction crisis.
He lives in Nevada with his fiancé, Sean, and their dog, Dollar.
Garrett Hade is a person in sustained recovery from addiction and has worked with a number of national non-profit organizations dedicated to finding solutions to ending the addiction crisis. He is Co-Founder of The Voices Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to shattering the stigma associated with addiction as well as providing on the ground recourses communities hit hardest by the addiction crisis. Garrett has provided recovery education and naloxone trainings to detox and treatment centers, sober livings, and community events nationwide – helping to break stigma and provide effective knowledge to help save lives.
Michigan Branch Manager
Isabella Benjey is a student working towards a bachelor’s degree in information science. preventing overdoses and raising awareness for harm reduction methods is important to her because she has seen first hand how damaging overdoses are. After taking the initiative to reach out, she is leading operations in Michigan and is very excited for the opportunity to help spread valuable information to hopefully prevent future overdoses in her home state.
Illinois Branch Manager
Jackie Pawlowski is a born and raised Chicagoan. She is in school pursuing a degree in
sociology. Looking to volunteer, help make a difference, and motivated to do something in
memory of her cousin and help others avoid the heartache of loss due to overdose, she
happened to come across the End Overdose organization. Since starting with End Overdose, she
has heard countless stories from others about their experiences of loss to overdose. The stories
of others are those which help her maintain her drive and dedication to the cause of educating
others of important, lifesaving information to anyone willing to listen and learn. She continues
to train and educate in memory of her cousin, Shevy. She runs the End Overdose branch in
Illinois and continues to learn and educate herself about this nationwide issue and enjoys
helping broaden Illinoisans’ knowledge of ways we can end overdose deaths.
UCLA Chapter Co-President
Maddie Ward is a second year undergraduate student at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) studying cognitive science. As a UCLA student, Maddie has gained experience fighting for more affordable and accessible essential drugs and treatments as the External Relations Board Member for UCLA’s chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines– experiences that led her to End Overdose. Now, she serves as the co-president of UCLA’s End Overdose chapter along with completing research and design for End Overdose headquarters. Through the opening of the UCLA chapter, Maddie hopes to eliminate drug-related overdose on the UCLA campus and beyond.
UCLA Chapter Co-President
Gianna is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) studying psychobiology and public affairs. She first started working with End Overdose to do harm reduction outreach at her college as the Events Director for Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM) at UCLA. Her passion for harm reduction work stems from her background as a research assistant at an addictions lab at UCLA and interest in community health policy. Gianna aims to make overdose prevention and response resources readily accessible to all UCLA students through the opening of End Overdose's first college chapter.