Founding Member, Special Projects
I hold a masters degree in education and am currently headmaster at Caravel Academy. I support the general overall work of our organization’s objectives and speak in local schools.
atTAcK addiction provides the platform to help others. Every time I can help a person seeking information, or in recovery, I feel like I am helping my son Tyler. I would like to see this organization develop the ability to sustain it’s work, and make headway in reducing the number of deaths caused by this disease. Specifically, my current project is the development of a recovery high school in Delaware.
Advocacy and Support
Advocacy, Founding Member
On December 23, 2012 we lost our youngest child, Tyler Armstrong Keister, to his first and only overdose. When we lost Ty, we felt very alone. Starting this charity made us realize that there were a lot of other families dealing with the nightmare of addiction; we were inspired to help others avoid our most devastating loss. Our family knew by telling his story and sharing our experience, we could reach others – they wouldn’t suffer alone and we might even help them avoid our devastating loss. It’s my hope that our work will continue to break down the stigma so that those people who need help won’t be afraid to seek that help. The ultimate hope is that through our work we continue to educate families so that we have less people becoming addicted in the first place.
atTAcK addiction was formed by my daughter and son-in-law shortly after the death of my grandson, following an accidental drug overdose. The parents and family members of those affected by this disease, dedicating their lives to this cause inspire me with their conviction and determination to do something about this terrible epidemic every day. I hope we continue to educate the community, raising awareness about this disease, work with our legislators to improve Delaware treatment facilities, and mobilize support for those in recovery.
We have been blessed by wonderful, generous people supporting our cause.
I am a parent of three youn adult men, who are in active recovery. Volunteering my time for this organization allowed me to “do something”. It allowed me to “give back” to the community that has supported my family through this maze of a life dealing with substance use disorder . We share a common goal and come together as one. It is such an inspiration to work alongside these people to get things done and truly work on moving forward to bring about change in how society looks at addiction and assist with providing options to others who look to us for help. My hope is that we continue to affect change in how addiction is viewed and erase the stigma. I would hope to see more options for families, recovery facilities, transitional homes and sober schools.
Jill Fredel retired as Director of Communications for the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) in 2022 after serving the people of Delaware for more than 11 years. At DHSS, she worked closely with Cabinet Secretaries and Governors to increase treatment and recovery services for Delawareans in response to the opioid epidemic, and she led efforts to create the HelpIsHereDE.com website, which provides a connection to treatment and recovery resources and services. Prior to DHSS, she served as Assistant Managing Editor at The News Journal as part of an almost 30-year career in journalism, which included editing and reporting positions at newspapers in Florida, Arkansas, Virginia, Michigan and her home state of Wisconsin. She currently serves as Chair of the Governor's Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Board, and volunteers at the Food Bank of Delaware and with Code Purple. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin. Jill and her husband, Brad Myers, live in Bear.
Housing Support, Training and Grant Development
The all-volunteer make-up of the atTAcK addiction organization appeals to the pragmatic and practical engineer I am by trade. The passion to change our world for the better also resonates with me and I feel lucky to have found them. When we realized that our son, Michael, and several of his closest friends had developed addictions to opioids, my wife, Lyal, and I joined atTAcK addiction. We longed for some way to help him and our family, and this group was in the middle of the action.
Unfortunately, Michael lost his battle with addiction on December 31, 2019. I threw myself into helping the atTAcK addiction efforts in any way I could, in an effort to spare other parents the pain we were feeling. I feel humbled by this group of people. They know.
Most, if not all, start with wanting to save one individual, but that changes to saving as many as we can rather quickly. There is a tireless effort on so many levels from this group and I believe it would be a far worse situation in Delaware without their involvement.
Public Policy Coordinator, Master Naloxone Trainer
In May 2012, Dave lost his son Greg to an accidental heroin overdose. In the aftermath of Greg’s death, Dave made a vow that somehow he would save a life in Greg’s name. Dave decided to close his business and find a way to honor that vow to his son. The investigating detective had told Dave, “If we had a 911 Good Samaritan law of Narcan law, your son might very well be alive today.” These laws seemed to be the vehicle to fulfill a parent’s vow to his son.
Through some research, Dave was led to the doorstep of our founders, Jeanne and Don Keister. He works with this organization so that one day the ever-increasing number of opioid overdose deaths can be reversed and eventually stopped in their tracks. Early on Dave started referring to the opioid crisis as “Thee Public Health Crisis of the 21st century”. He is most proud of the organization’s accomplishments of creating “The Kristin L. Jackson and John M. Perkins Jr. Law”, Delaware’s 911 Good Samaritan Law and passing the nation’s first “Opioid Impact Fee Law” that bring much-needed funds into the state that will help people recover.
The goal, simply, is to save lives. First, save the life. Where there is life, there is HOPE!
Advocacy and Support
Support Group Organizer
Having lived with the addiction problem of others for most of my life, I realized that I needed help and that’s when I found Nar-Anon. There I received the love, support and help that I needed. I want to be there for others with the same understanding and help that I received. atTAcK addiction is the perfect place to ” give back.”
Removing the stigma that is currently associated with addiction is one of my primary goals. There is much more work needed to combat this horrible epidemic and I know that we will make a great difference in accomplishing change.
Recovery Support & Events
Ambassador for Recovery
Former atTAcK addiction's Men's recovery house manager of six wonderful years. I was taught early on in my recovery if I planned on staying clean and sober my first job was to do whatever I could to help another in recovery. As a person in long-term recovery August 1, 2007, I know firsthand the stigma that's associated with addiction. I truly understand the addict's perspective of what it feels like not wanting to use but having a disease that says you have to use, the difficulty of finding treatment in Delaware, and I also bring to the table what it's like to be in recovery. No one picks up and uses thinking it's going to be their last. Unfortunately, the reality of it is, that this is happening far too much, and we are losing too many promising individuals to this disease. It's when we all work together, that magic happens. There is still a lot of work to be done. What I am sure of is hope can be found in an outstretched hand that says grab on let's help each other through this journey.
Advocacy and Support
Support Group Organizer
Having worked in a psychiatric facility with children and adolescents for 32 years I was very aware of the impact mental health problems can have. When my oldest son, at the age of 16, started struggling with anxiety and depression I was proactive in getting him to help. In spite of our best efforts, substance use disorder took over. Throughout this 20-year battle by my son’s side, I worked to educate myself, minimize the stigma of the disease, and assist him in getting the help he needed. I participated in NAMI support groups, Al-Anon, and atTAcK addiction. I needed as many resources and tools to help my son and my family as I could gather. Unfortunately, my son lost his battle on May 11, 2020. The gratitude is, that at the time of his passing, I was surrounded by support, compassion, and understanding. That was something I did not always have during the 20 years of his illness. The isolation, frustration, and despair that can occur as a result of addiction are overwhelming. I will forever love my son but hate the disease. It is my goal that in sharing my experience, strength, and hope I can help others. No one should feel lonely and isolated when caring for someone with substance use disorder.
Katy Berkow, Ph.D.
My primary work centers around grant-based funding of projects and services. I also work with our organization practices and processes towards Standards for Excellence certification. As a friend of the Keister family, I want to do my part in supporting addiction recovery and prevention in Tyler’s honor. The kindness and support members provide to friends old and new, impact on the community, and small steps every day toward a common goal inspire me! I hope an even healthier, happier Delaware is in our future!
Courtney Keister Clark, Ed.D.
As an educator, it is in my nature to help people and to leave this world a better place. When I lost my brother Tyler to an accidental overdose in 2012, I wanted to support him in leaving his legacy on this world. The way that everyone is working together to turn their individual heartache into helping others inspires me at every turn. My hope for atTAcK addiction is that continues to prompt conversations about addiction and eliminates the shame and stigmas associated with addiction.
I hope to continue to add value to building awareness that will eradicate the stigma associated with the disease of addiction. As a former Cabinet Secretary of Health and Social Services I saw first hand the destruction and loss of life, this disease has on the individuals and their loved ones. I also witnessed the need to develop outreach and advance programs and services that facilitate ongoing long term recovery and move aware from punitive practices. atTAcK addiction welcomed me in to learn more of the disease through the eyes of those impacted by disease. They instilled in me a sense of hope and direction in how best to build a trauma informed system of care. While advancing the recovery system of care, I learned that my college age daughter was facing her own addiction to alcohol and asked for intervention. I quickly learned that my friends at atTAcK addiction entered my life for my personal well being as well as my professional role. The support this group provides to the community as a whole through education and wellness is creating immense positive change. The support they provide to each other who face this disease is a life line. I experience that support and words do not adequately capture the gratitude.
William J. Lynch Jr, BS-Pharm, RPh
William J. Lynch Jr, BS-Pharm, RPh, is a Member of the atTAcK addiction Advisory Board. Mr. Lynch received his pharmacy degree from Rutgers University and is a practicing clinical staff pharmacist with Jefferson Health Cherry Hill Hospital and is adjunct faculty with the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine (RSOM) Department of Emergency Medicine. His pharmacy background includes more than 30 years of clinical practice at Jefferson Health/RSOM. He is a member of many coalitions and committees. He is often requested to be a speaker at national conferences.
By being involved in non-profit organizations like atTAcK addiction allows one to help others in a collective way with other great people who share a similar cause and passion. To be able to share your talents and treasures to help those less fortunate is the ultimate reason.
The sincerity and passion of the people involved with atTAcK addiction draws you into wanting to join them. They want to help people every day, in any way possible. As a healthcare professional working in a hospital we try to save lives every day and unfortunately witness the trauma of those experiencing an overdose and the devastating impact on their families and friends. atTAck addiction through their collective efforts is a positive force in our world that is saving lives everyday with their initiatives and hard work that is laser focused on helping individuals and families struggling with addiction. Saving peoples’ lives-how could you not want to be a part of that effort?
the disease,Fran Russo-Avena, RN
Public Education and Awareness Partnerships
Working with atTAck addiction has given me the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who are making a difference and affecting positive changes for those suffering from Substance Use Disorders. We are parents, siblings, and friends of those suffering from and with this disease. Our shared passion, empathy, and compassion to eliminate the stigma of addiction and prevent the loss of one more life from this devastating illness inspires each of us to work harder and stronger together. My hope for atTAcK addiction is for our organization to continue be a strong voice for education, access to care, and improve resources for all Delawareans living with and affected by the disease of addiction.
Joshua H. Stout, PhD
I joined atTAcK addiction to join in the fight to destigmatize substance use. My doctoral dissertation explored how those close to someone who dies from an overdose continue to experience stigma in their grief – stigma rooted in the more prominent cultural beliefs towards substance use. Over the years, my research has focused on the opioid epidemic and recovery movements. I work with atTAcK addiction in hopes of continuing to create space for those impacted by the opioid epidemic to find support and services. I currently am an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Shepherd University in West Virginia and continue my research on the opioid epidemic.
Sussex County Chapter
If you are in Sussex County and need more information please contact us at:
atTAcK addiction – 302-593-0949
Don Keister – 302-723-1992
Kent County Chapter
If you are in Kent County and need more information please contact us at:
atTAcK addiction – 302-593-0949
Don Keister – 302-723-1992