This Delaware Nonprofit Tackles Substance Abuse and Addiction

Addiction doesn't discriminate. These Delaware natives aim to end the stigma around addiction and help those affected by the disease.

A school database administrator, district technology director and former elementary school teacher, Delaware resident Barbara Moore is no stranger to the often life-and-death issues facing today’s youth. However, it was weathering the tempest of substance-use disorder in three sons—all now in long-term recovery—that led her to the Keister family, founders of atTAcK addiction.

As Moore recalls, there was little in the way of in-house rehabilitation programs for substance abuse in the state in early 2013, so she was forced to send two of her sons to Iowa for treatment. Little did she know at the time that another Delaware family was dealing with a similar situation—only with a much more dire outcome.

That same year, Don and Jeanne Keister were establishing a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in memory of their son, Tyler, who died from an accidental overdose. Fueled by a mission to “educate and empower our communities against the disease of addiction,” atTAcK addiction was created with the goal of helping young people realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol to help them and their families circumvent the pain, tragedy and loneliness associated with addiction.

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Don Keister, headmaster at Caravel Academy Preparatory school in Bear, views the nonprofit as a platform to help those suffering from all forms of substance abuse by providing support, education, scholarships for necessities and recovery residences in the Delaware area. “Every time I can help a person seeking information, or in recovery, I feel like I’m helping my son,” he states in his online bio.

Although not a treatment facility, atTAcK addiction partners with Impact Life, another nonprofit that operates several sober-living houses in Delaware, including those specifically affiliated with Keister’s organization, and supplies case workers to assist residents in a variety of programs. And Keister himself is currently working on developing a recovery high school.

Today Moore is an atTAcK addiction board member specializing in information technology, willingly volunteering her time and expertise after a chance meeting with Jeanne and her daughter, Courtney, at an Al-Anon meeting a few short weeks after the Keisters lost Tyler.

“I remember both of them with so much admiration for not only coming to seek help for themselves, but wanting others to know that Tyler was a good kid,” Moore recalls. “This hit home because my sons were good kids too. I began to realize that this disease doesn’t discriminate and wanted others to understand that.”

Moore acknowledges that giving her time to this organization has allowed her to give back to the recovery community that supported her unconditionally while she and her family navigated “this maze of a life dealing with substance-use disorder.”

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“My hope is that we continue to move forward to bring about change in how society looks at addiction, erase the stigma, and offer more options for struggling families in the form of recovery facilities, transitional homes and sober schools.”

Attack Addiction: Accomplishments And Accolades

Mental health and addiction
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  • Policy coordinator Dave Humes provided the main impetus for the passage of nine separate bills in support of substance abuse mitigation, including Delaware’s opioid impact fee collected from opioid sales—the first bill of its kind in the U.S.
  • Developed the AtTAcK Addiction specialty license plate (applications available at www.attackaddiction.org)
  • Worked with Impact Life and Delware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families to institute the statewide Reality Tour educational program for students and parents
  • Recently held its 10th AtTAcK Addiction 5K Rally on March 4 in New Castle

Related: Reclaim Your Recovery Through the Hero Help Program in Delaware

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