News and Press Releases

Telly Award

May 9, 2012

Burlington, VT – The United States Attorney's Office announced today that the opiate prevention film, "The Opiate Effect" received a prestigious Telly award as an outstanding documentary. The film also received two Communicator Awards for excellence. The awards are national awards. Previously, a public service announcement from which the
film developed received several regional awards. The new awards will be presented during the summer.

"The Opiate Effect" documents the tragic case of Will Gates, a UVM
undergraduate student who overdosed on heroin in March 2009. His story is told through the narrative of his father, Skip Gates, and his brother, Sam Gates. "The Opiate Effect" also includes interviews with recovering addicts, treatment professionals and others with
the aim of laying out the real-life risks and consequences of opiate prescription drug and heroin use.

U.S. Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the excellent work of Derek Halquist in directing the film, as well as the commitment of Skip Gates in making the film and working with youth in Vermont and Maine on this issue. "Derek has done a remarkable job of capturing the power of the Gates family's story in a film that hits hard on the message that these kinds of tragic results don't always happen to somebody else. Skip and Sam Gates are truly powerful spokesmen for that message. I hope by sharing this experience in this graphic way, some young people will make better decisions regarding opiates and all drugs."

The U.S. Attorney's Offices in Vermont and Maine have sponsored presentations by Skip Gates at high schools, colleges and parent groups throughout those states, along with sending copies of the film to all high schools. If you would like to arrange for Skip Gates and the U.S. Attorney to speak to your school or community group and present the film, please call the number above.

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