Catskills Addiction Coalition is an all-volunteer community group formed in 2018 to address disconnection in area youth, prevention of addiction, and improvement in access to treatment and recovery services in Delaware County and the Catskills Region of New York State. Together in partnership with the M-ARK project, a non-profit organization in Arkville, NY dedicated to community revitalization and support for community organizations, we began the process of improving our community one step at a time. Our goal is to unite the entire community – businesses, organizations and individuals in healthcare, education, agriculture, government, the arts, faith based institutions and all other stakeholders to prevent addiction and create a recovery-friendly community using a harm-reduction approach.
Meet the Coalition Members
Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN
I'm a semi-retired registered nurse and writer who cares deeply about promoting the health of communities, including ways to help our youth feel supported, engaged, and connected so that drugs will not become an method of self-treatment for depression, disconnection and loneliness. I'm a member of the Margaretville Hospital Wellness Committee, hold a courtesy appointment as a Senior Policy Service Professor at George Washington University School of Nursing, and host "HealthCetera in the Catskills", a radio program on WIOX Radio (www.wioxradio.org; 91.3 FM in the Catskill region) on alternating Wednesdays at 2:00.
Jason Tompkins, CRPA, CAC Project Director
Jason Tompkins is a self-taught contractor, who has been building homes and doing all phases of construction for the past twenty plus years. He is currently a C.R.P.A as well as the new project director in Delaware County for the Catskills Addiction Coalition, (C.A.C.) Margaretville, NY. Jason is also a member on the Steering Committee of the Catskills Addiction Coalition. He has a passion to help others in any way possible, as well as doing advocacy work which includes Narcan trainings throughout Delaware County as a certified Narcan trainer.
Arnie Schwartz, a resident of Denver, N.Y., had a 47-year career in education and worked in radio before retiring. He is a founding member of the Coalition and has served the community in a variety of roles that include the Community Service Board of Delaware County, The Community Pantry in Arkville, WIOX Radio, the Open Eye Theater and the Roxbury Arts Group Board of Directors.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts at Trenton State College in New Jersey, Schwartz earned a master’s degree in school counseling from Newark State College and later embarked on post-graduate studies at Montclair State University. He started his teaching career at Edison (NJ) High School, spent six years as a shop teacher and school counselor in Japan, and later was a school counselor in Montclair, N.J.; Chatham, N.J.; and Andes, NY. He also was a teaching assistant at Jacob’s Ladder Neurological Development Center in Atlanta.
Linda Webb Varian
I’ve been in private practice as a clinical social worker since 1983 and specialized in duel diagnosis substance abuse and post traumatic stress disorder.
I previously held the position of Vice President for one if two first managed care companies and as a psychiatric social worker focusing on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, addictions, and long term psychiatric (psychotic) chronic care at FDR VA Hospital.
I'm a retired inpatient medical social worker and disability advocate.
Since retiring, I have been an active volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as the leader of our regional affiliate, NAMI Delaware and Otsego Counties, and as a board member of NAMI New York State, where I'm a member of the planning committee for our annual educational conference in Albany.
I have represented our affiliate, for a number of years, with local health and community programs and organizations, including the Margaretville Hospital Wellness Committee, the Delaware County Community Service Board, Mental Health Subcommittee, and Suicide Prevention Network.
As a disability advocate, I worked within a strong statewide network of independent living centers, which fought for and achieved many valuable outcomes for people of all ages and all disabilities. I look forward to bringing what I learned from this experience to the CAC.
Karen Driskill, MS, RN
Karen has practiced nursing for the past 20+ years specializing in the care of the adult oncology population with a focus on palliative care and end of life care for patients with biliary tract cancers. In addition to oncology care, Karen holds adjunct faculty positions in the School of Nursing at SUNY Delhi and SUNY Orange. She also has a special interest in rural health, health policy, community building and advocacy work, and is passionate about service to others.
Michael Reichman is a recent transplant from NYC having just moved to Margaretville. Michael grew up in a home clouded by addiction and mental illness and spent thirty-four years battling drug and alcohol abuse as well as depression, OCD and ADD. In May of 2003 he entered into a recovery treatment program in Minnesota and after many years of AA/NA meetings and counseling he has remained sober since then. Michael has recently retired from the financial services industry to focus on his painting and hopes to become an integral part of the mental illness/recovery community here in Upstate NY.
Joyce St. George
Joyce St. George is a long-term community advocate in Delaware County. St. George, the first female anti-corruption investigator for the NYS Attorney General’s Office, built a training company that specialized in conflict, crisis and violence reduction for 35 years with her husband Frank Canavan. Since moving to the Catskills, St. George has used her knowledge to help businesses, schools and local governments find common ground on controversial issues, including the changing demographics of the Catskills, improving communication, and resolving conflicts. Joyce currently is an adjunct instructor at SUNY Delhi, and previously chaired Margaretville Hospital and helped establish the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, the Margaretville Community Pantry, and the Catskills Addiction Coalition. Joyce and her husband also present leadership and community workshops on “Talking to the Other Side,” in response to tensions between political parties.
Joe Damone is a professional photographer that specializes in wedding and portrait photography. Joe is a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography and lives in the quiet hamlet of Andes New York, with his wife Eloise, daughter Monty, three cats, and two demanding pugs named Abby and Frankie. His work can be viewed here www.joedamonephotography.com