On August 31, 2020, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced on International Overdose Awareness Day that Ulster County has declared a Public Health Emergency due to the recent spikes in deaths caused by fentanyl. From the period January through July, opioid-related deaths increased 171% in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. For that same time period (January through July), fentanyl-related deaths increased from 58% of all opioid-related deaths in 2018 to 89% of all opioid-related deaths in 2020. Fentanyl is fifty-times more potent than heroin and 100-times more potent than morphine.

“We’ve seen the tragic and lethal impacts of fentanyl right here in our own community leading to 34 deaths already this year,” said County Executive Ryan. “I’m declaring this Public Health Emergency to make sure we have all hands on deck, working together, to combat this deadly drug. This is an issue that I take extremely seriously and we will continue to work with our many partners to continue to raise awareness and work to save lives.”

This documentary tells the story of how policymakers, law enforcement, and treatment experts are dealing with the opioid crisis in the Hudson Valley every day.

Video Produced by Ian Konrad and Rose Felice for The Legislative Gazette, Copyright 2021.