Jul 10, 2019
Riley Allen, EHS Grad & Producer of "Freefall"
Discussion of Freefall - a VT documentary about the impact of opiate use in Vermont

Riley Allen is  a 2019 EHS graduate who produced an award winning documentary about the opiate crisis in Vermont.  She will show a short clip from her film and talk about her motivation to make the film and her hope for its impact.  We will also learn about her plans to pursue a career making documentaries at Quinnipiac University in the fall. 

Riley produced a 30-minute film, “Freefall: The opioid and heroin epidemic in Vermont". A  version of the film recently premiered on Vermont PBS and earned her first-place honors in the high school division of the Freedom and Unity Youth Film Contest’s Vermont History & Contemporary Issues category.

“I noticed a lot of kids in school using gateway drugs, and my dad, who’s an ICU pulmonologist, would often come home really upset because someone had overdosed,” Allen said of the film’s inspiration. “So I knew that I wanted to do something to help educate students so that kids wouldn’t be getting into using these harder substances.”

The 18-year-old’s film offers a sobering look at what Vermont’s healthcare system has had to confront amid the opioid crisis, using interviews with healthcare professionals like her father, Gilman Allen, who says there were more than 120 drug-related deaths in both 2016 and 2017. 

Essex Reporter story about the launch of Freefall - April 2019.