Free program for schools, nonprofits and community members to meet and discuss challeges facing students today on 10/17

On Thursday, October 17th from 3:00pm to 7:00pm, at Mount Saint Mary College, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region will present the program, Resilient Communities, Challenging the Opioid Epidemic. This school-focused community program, is part of United Way’s “New School Initiative,” supported by a grant from AmerisourceBergen. Free and open to school personnel, nonprofit representatives and community members, Resilient Communities will provide an opportunity for discussion as well as featuring a presentation by Carlton Hall, a nationally-recognized authority on opioid prevention and treatment. To secure your place, register online at

“By offering this community gathering, focused on and around schools, United Way’s aim is to help our teachers and administrators provide help and support to their students,” noted Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “In addition to presentations on prevention of opiod abuse, United Way will provide information on supportive programs available in our community. We will have Narcan training and Narcan kits for participants as well as school supplies, hygiene items and children’s books for teachers to bring back to their classrooms. AmerisourceBergen will be providing special drug deactivation kits to safely dissolve unneeded medications.”

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services report, “Opioids and Adolescents, “Prescription drug misuse, which can include opioids, is among the fastest growing drug problems in the United States. In 2016, 3.6 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 reported misusing opioids over the past year.” The problem is growing, last year opioid deaths increased last year in our region of Dutchess and Orange counties, unlike the rest of New York State which showed a substantial decrease. According to the New York State Department of Health’s most recent County Opioid Quarterly Report (July, 2019), the number of opiod overdose deaths in Dutchess County rose 6.4% (78 in 2017 to 83 in 2018). In Orange County, the number of deaths rose 35.8% (from 78 in 2017 to 106 in 2018). In contrast, overdose deaths fell 21% in New York State (excluding NYC over the same timeframe (2170 in 2017 to 1706 in 2018). 

Carlton Hall, a former Vice President for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), will discuss “Changing the Conversation: The Role of Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Youth During a National Crisis.” Following his presentation, there will be a panel discussion on “Shared Assets and Opportunities to Overcome the Epidemic,” by four local experts: Jo Ann Brown (NAMI Mid-Hudson), Regina T. Cieslak (Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster), Dr. Irina Gelman (Commissioner of Health for Orange County) and Jean-Marie Niebuhr, LCSW-R (Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health).

“We encourage teachers and administrators to attend this discussion to share with other community members and organizations the issues they face in their schools,” said Melissa Clark, Director of Community Impact. “Through this discussion, we hope to find assets and solutions available in our community to help in the prevention of abuse.”

To register, go to or call 845-471-1900 ext 3128 for additional information. 

Annual Sponsors

Premier Annual Sponsors: Central Hudson Gas & Electric, M&T Bank, Orange & Rockland, Pratt & WhitneyAnnual Sponsors: IBM, Resorts World, RBT, TD Bank, Ulster Savings