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Press Release

United States Attorney and Community Coalitions Host Anti-Heroin Event at Hudson Valley Community College

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
FBI & DEA Sponsored Documentary Will Be Followed by Discussion of Recovery from Opiate Addiction

ALBANY, NEW YORK – As a follow-up to an opiate addiction awareness event in December 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office, with the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition, Troy Drug Free Community Coalition, NOPIATES, and Rensselaer Area Drug Awareness Reality Coalition (RADAR) will jointly host a two-part community event on January 18th from 7 – 9 PM at Hudson Valley Community College. The evening begins with a screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a documentary film commissioned by the FBI and DEA and told through interviews with recovering users and their loved ones. Following the film, Eric Dyer, a law student who became an opiate user while attending college in the Capital Region, will discuss his addiction and life in recovery.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said, “The heroin and prescription opioid epidemic is a crisis that reaches every corner of our communities. We are committed to continuing to combat the distribution of heroin and illicit opioids with robust enforcement, but the best protection of public health and safety is in prevention and education. We hope events such as this will spread the word that heroin and illicit opioids are deadly, and there is help available to avoid and overcome them.”

All four community coalitions in Rensselaer County are collaborating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to raise awareness of the heroin and opiate epidemic, and these coalitions all encourage participation in events such as this one.

“The Rensselaer County Heroin coalition brings together many different “faces” to help combat the Opioid crisis in our area,” explained Co-Chairperson Maryfran Wachunas, Rensselaer Public Health Director. “Working together as a team and sharing each other knowledge, we are taking a multi -step approach at not only educating ourselves but the entire coalition and community as a whole.”

“NØpiates Committee is a local organization that is dedicated to raising community awareness regarding opiates, substance abuse and addiction,” explained Kim and Tim Murdick, organizers of the NØpiates Committee. “Our dedicated members provide support, assistance and aid to identify available resources for those who battle with the disease of addiction. Our committee also organizes and participates in community events to provide education that focuses on the prevention of substance abuse, all the while remembering those who have been lost to the disease of addiction.”

“Troy Drug-Free Community Coalition (Troy DFCC) is a partnership of concerned community members organized for the purpose of reducing substance abuse among young people,” said Davia Collington, Troy DFCC Project Coordinator. “We believe that good things happen when the community comes together!” she explained. “It will take all sectors of the community to protect our youth from the disease of addiction. While we know that most youth in the City of Troy are substance-free, we are here to support those families that are struggling with substance abuse.”

“We've all heard the expression ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. At the RADAR Coalition, we're applying that approach to drug abuse prevention,” said Nancy Hardt, chairperson of RADAR. “Rensselaer Area Drug Awareness Reality (RADAR) Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a safe and healthy, drug-free community in the City of Rensselaer. We're working to bring together a wide range of community partners to prevent substance abuse by raising awareness and providing education. The RADAR Coalition’s vision is for the City of Rensselaer youth to live substance free.”

The greatest responses to addiction are to prevent it in the first place, and to bring people struggling with addiction the help they need to enter into a life of recovery. Come learn how each of these steps are possible.


Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict
Followed by Eric Dyer telling his story to recovery

When: Wednesday, January 18th, 7 – 9 p.m.
Where: Bulmer Telecommunications Center
Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vandenburgh Ave, Troy, NY


For more information and to become involved with the local coalitions, see the information below:

NØpiates Committee

The Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition
Maryfran Wachunas, Sheriff
Patrick Russo, Co-Chair
Public Health Director Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office
1600 7th Avenue 4000 Main Street
Troy, NY 12180 Troy, NY 12180

RADAR – Rensselaer Area Drug Awareness Reality Coalition
Jennifer Haggerty, Chair
Nancy Hardt, Co-Chair

Troy Drug Free Community Coalition
Davia Collington, Project Coordinator
415 River Street 3rd Floor Troy, NY 12180

Updated April 5, 2023

Community Outreach