The facilitators behind Remedy Alliance/For The People
We are here to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, pack your shipments, and answer your questions. While we are here today, many have come before us to make RA/FTP possible. We’re eternally grateful for the visionaries, mentors, advocates, programs, and people who use drugs who make naloxone access a little bit easier every day.
Photo of Dan, Eliza and Maya from the 2016 National Harm Reduction Conference at the Buyers Club workshop
Our Staff & Board
Eliza Wheeler (she/her/hers)
Eliza Wheeler (Co-Director) started working at the Cambridge Needle Exchange in Massachusetts in 2001 and became friends and co-conspirators with Maya Doe-Simkins in 2004. She spent eight years at the Cambridge Needle Exchange until 2009 when she moved to California to work with the DOPE Project in San Francisco. There she started learning more about the challenges that harm reduction programs across the country were still facing in getting access to affordable naloxone, despite growing mainstream attention. In 2012 she started working with Dan Bigg and Maya to coordinate the naloxone Buyers Club, which mostly consisted of trying to wrangle Dan on three-way phone calls, making spreadsheets and connecting harm reduction programs to millions of doses of cheap naloxone. She has written and contributed to nearly 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and assisted with policy work around expanding access to naloxone for people who use drugs and related topics. In 2019 she co-organized the Alliance for Collaborative Drug Checking (ACDC) with colleagues in Chicago, which is now an international learning community with over 500 members who are developing advanced drug checking services for harm reduction settings. Today, RA/FTP is her main focus, but she still works needle exchange every Friday at her favorite program, Homeless Youth Alliance in San Francisco and is honored to serve on the Board for Maine Access Points.
Maya Doe-Simkins (she/her/hers)
Maya Doe-Simkins has been in the public health field for 20 years training on, implementing and researching overdose prevention programs. She has worked with the largest overdose prevention program in the US, helped launch the first overdose education and naloxone distribution program using nasal naloxone, and was part of the team that published the first effectiveness studies on community naloxone distribution. She has worked with both grassroots and local & state governmental organizations to implement services for people who use drugs, authored manuals & curricula, and published scientific research.
Maya was cajoled into coordinating Remedy Alliance by Dan Bigg in 2012- she is so proud to be a part of this amazing collaborative & supportive network that collectively distributed about 4 million naloxone doses in 4 years. Maya lives in rural northern lower Michigan, where cell service can be spotty- on rare occasion, this is a convenient excuse to get out of meetings.
Maya & Eliza have been tag-teaming naloxone expansion together since 2004. They affectionately call each other “shrimp”.
Clare Schmidt (she/her/hers)
Drug Checking Technical Lead
Clare Schmidt is a passionate harm reductionist who was introduced to harm reduction through the vibrant community in Boston, Massachusetts where she helped establish one of the first SSP-based drug checking programs in the country. She currently works nationally to help organizations establish and roll-out drug checking programs with a focus on technician training, capacity building, and ongoing support. Clare has seen first-hand how racist and prohibitionist drug policies have led to an unregulated drug supply and broken care systems and strives to reduce the mountain of preventable harm that these systems perpetuate upon people who use drugs. Clare believes strongly in drug checking as both a way to increase personal autonomy, consumer power, and pleasure maximization; and as a route through which to regulate an unregulated market. Ultimately she envisions drug checking programs as a stepping-stone on the path towards safe supply. Clare is a founding member of the Alliance for Collaborative Drug Checking and holds a degree in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Boston University. She loves good food (eating and creating), traveling, and her Puerto Rican dog-son Benito Bad Bunny Martinez Schmidt.
Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta (he/him/his)
Co-founder and Board Chair
Dan Bigg and I met playing soccer at the National Harm Reduction Conference in Seattle in 2002. During graduate school and beyond, Dan became a mentor and dear friend. In 2012, faced with a national naloxone shortage, Dan and I approached Hospira (later acquired by Pfizer) to negotiate the original deal on affordable naloxone that led to the creation of the OSNN Buyers Club. Over the following decade, Maya and Eliza, two of my harm reduction heroes, kept the dream (and tens of thousands of people) alive. In 2021, faced with yet another (affordable) naloxone shortage, Maya and Eliza reached out to me to help with pharma negotiations. As we formalized Remedy Alliance, I took on the role of Board Chair – which is a huge honor and responsibility.
I am guided by this simple formula for innovation: 1) get bulk naloxone in the hands of harm reduction programs for cheap or free; 2) pay outreach workers; then 3) all us squares (clinicians, government officials, academics) need to get out of the way.
Look, I’m not dissing pharmacy distribution out of hand. In fact, in 2007 through the non-profit Project Lazarus, I co-founded and pioneered opioid+naloxone co-prescribing, and pharmacy-based dispensing. It was the right solution in places where overdose deaths were exclusively due to prescribed opioid analgesics. A decade-and-half later, the overdose problem is more due to illicitly manufactured opioids, and the focus on naloxone distribution needs to evolve.
My day job is being a pharmaco-epidemiologist and The Innovation Fellow for the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health. Check out our portfolio of studies at the Opioid Data Lab.
I do not have a crustacean nickname, but can be often found at the seashore.
Roxanne Saucier, MPH (she/her/hers)
Roxanne has worked for 15 years to advance harm reduction as a funder and technical assistance provider both internationally and in the US. At Open Society Foundations, she helped expand access to naloxone in countries as varied as Russia, China and Vietnam. She has longstanding expertise in communications, advocacy and development, which she provides to the board. Roxanne’s experience and knowledge of the funding landscape for harm reduction work is invaluable to Remedy Alliance as we grow sustainably and focused on our mission. Roxanne is pleased to be on the Remedy Alliance board because she believes deeply in the mission of reversing power imbalances and finding innovative ways to get lifesaving tools into the hands of people too often denied them. She serves in memory of Dan Bigg, who taught her about the spirit of abundance and was always willing to send her boxes of naloxone to take along whenever she traveled to other countries to meet with harm reduction groups and drug user unions.
Philomena Kebec, JD (she/her/hers)
Board "Mom" (Focuses on Staff Wellness)
Philomena (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of the Chippewa Indians) is an attorney and judge, with a multi jurisdictional and cross disciplinary practice. She co-created a tribally-administered, syringe services program that distributes approximately 5,000 naloxone kits per year through peer delivery and mail order and shepherded the first contract between Pfizer and a tribal nation for affordable naloxone.
Philomena’s legal expertise and deep commitment to drug user wellness and developing and expanding harm reduction in indigenous communities is invaluable to furthering Remedy Alliance’s mission of equity. It is a special honor for her to serve on the board, joining and contributing to Remedy’s legacy of providing critical access to life-saving medications, including naloxone.
Dr. William Amarquaye, PharmD (he/him/his)
Board Member, Clinical advisor
William is a clinical pharmacist with extensive expertise in working with patients who use substances and patients who are at risk of overdose. He resides in Florida with his family, and volunteers at Tampa’s IDEA syringe exchange program. Will is an outspoken advocate for the rights of chronic pain patients and people who use illicit substances and for expanding the role of pharmacists in reducing overdose using harm reduction strategies.
Since Remedy Alliance is working adjacent to the wholesale pharmaceutical distribution world, it is crucial that we have guidance from a clinical pharmacist who can provide us with this expertise. Will is proud to be involved with this organization and see how important harm reduction is to the lives of many people.
Leslie Booher, JD, MBA (she/they)
Leslie is a Policy and Advocacy Associate with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Inc. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley and has extensive experience preparing legal materials regarding drug policy, drug development, and provision of appropriate healthcare. Leslie comes to the Remedy Alliance board with the unique perspective of someone with legal and business expertise, both crucial for the sustainable operation of our organization.
It’s meaningful to Leslie to be on the Remedy Alliance board because she believes that what Remedy Alliance does is an elegant and expertly operated example of applying policy and the ethical conduct of business in pharma (!) to give people—who know best—opportunities to make decisions and contribute to their own safety and that of their community.
Visionaries, mentors and teachers
Dan Bigg, whose vision and tenacity started it all. Holly Bradford, for your radical and no-bullshit self, always pushing us to be better. Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta, our advisor, and friend. Alice Bell, who has done the lion’s share of coordination for 13 years. All of the activists, advocates, radical doctors, and researchers who have worked for 25 years to get naloxone into the hands of people who use drugs.
People who use drugs
For the tens of thousands of lives you have saved, for your resilience in the face of relentless threats to your safety and well-being. For all of those we have lost to the violence of the war on drugs.
Harm Reduction programs
The programs that make up RA/FTP are out there every day taking care of each other and working to direct resources to people who use drugs despite systematic and structural exclusion from mainstream public health and health care systems. You are the backbone of naloxone distribution in this country. Your work may be invisibilized by the dominant power structures, but we see you.
Photos left to right: Chicago Recovery Alliance Van (Scott Olson/Getty Images), Overdose Awareness Day, San Francisco (photo by Terry Morris), Anna McConnell holding a bottle of naloxone at Glide’s needle exchange in San Francisco (photo by Mike Koozmin)