ROBERT RILEY II
Co-Founder/Director of Communications
Robert Riley II was released from incarceration in a federal prison in May of 2008. After years of substance abuse and incarceration he was able to sustain sobriety by seeking help through a 12 step program. While on parole in two different states and under federal supervision at the same time, Robert was able to complete supervision, advance in the workplace, and maintain his sobriety; all of which he credits to actively working a 12 step program.
In 2012 Robert met Chad Sabora while detoxing a heroin addict at her home. They went on to form STL Heroin Help, a non-profit aimed at providing resources to heroin addicts. Robert and Chad have gone on to form the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, another nonprofit organization that provides education in local high schools, legislative advocacy and other community involvement battling the opiate epidemic. Robert has been labeled a recovery activist by addiction counselors throughout Missouri and continues to be part of the solution to the opiate epidemic gripping the country.
CHAD SABORA, BA, MS, JD
Co-Founder/Legislative Policy Officer
Chad Sabora was raised in Chicago by his father who spent most of his life as an executive at Gateway rehabilitation paving the future of treatment for people that suffer from the disease of addiction and his mother a housewife and a prosecuting attorney.
Chad received his undergraduate education at The University of Illinois and his law degree at The John Marshall Law school and followed his mother’s path and began his legal career as prosecutor for Cook County Illinois. Despite his upbringing and education Chad also suffers from the disease of addiction which took hold of him in 2006. He became addicted to prescription pain killers which led to heroin addiction that controlled his life until June 9th 2011.
After getting clean he began working with heroin addicts to ensure they received all the help they could no matter what their financial circumstances were. In 2013 he and Robert Riley II created the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery. Together they expanded the initial vision to include creating a new education system in our public schools, harm reduction, social and political reform, and the most important part of their mission is to destroy the stigma associated with opiate/heroin addiction.
AARON M. LAXTON, MSW CANDIDATE
Aaron M. Laxton is currently the Director of Client Services for the Criminal Justice Ministry. It was through his HIV/AIDS activism that he was acquainted with Robert and Chad. Daily he works with clients who are battling substance use as they work towards a better life. It was through Aaron's own use of substance that he was exposed and ultimately became HIV positive in June, 2011.
Aaron is extremely interested in the intersection of the heroin epidemic, HIV/HCV rates and IV drug use. Personally Aaron's family has been forever impacted by IV drug use through the lose of his nephew (Cody Helton, 16 & Heather Helton, 26) who both lost their battles to heroin. Aaron works now to ensure that all individuals have access to clean syringes as well as education which will help keep them free of HIV and HCV.
Aaron is currently an MSW student at Saint Louis University's School of Social Work.
Josh FERRANTE, MSW CANDIDATE
As a Masters of Social Work student at Saint Louis University studying Community and Organization Josh has a specific focus with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. Josh’s interest in outreach and substance use within the LGBT community peeked during his undergraduate program.
He double majored in Women’s and Gender Studies and Public Health where his research tied primarily to LGBT history and sex politics. In these conversations, he became passionate towards ending stigmas attached to the HIV status within the queer community. Josh has a vested interest to policy development and advocacy throughout Missouri.