KILLINGTON—Killington Mountain School invites outside speakers to share their expertise and knowledge as part of a Wednesday Workshop series. The aim is to enrich the overall educational experience for students by exposing them to a variety of topics and perspectives. This past week, on Sept. 23, the Wednesday Workshop speaker was Skip Gates, who presented a documentary entitled, “The Opiate Effect.” The film features his family’s direct experience with the dangers of opiate abuse.
In 2009, Skip Gates and his wife tragically lost their son, Will, to a heroin overdose. Will was a gifted student, a ski racer, an outdoor enthusiast, a ski academy graduate, and was studying molecular genetics at the University of Vermont. As a part of Skip’s desire to turn his family’s tragedy to good, he has been presenting this video and talk to high schools, middle schools, colleges, and community groups in Vermont, Maine and New York since January, 2011.
Skip Gates spoke openly about the realities, dangers, and pitfalls of drug use and abuse, and the all-encompassing pain one experiences when losing a child. Gates emphasized that opiate abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries; the problem is one of epidemic proportions, and the numbers of those abusing opiates, including prescription drugs, continues to increase each year in the United States. He connected with the KMS students by discussing how Will liked to “live on the edge,” something that served him well in ski racing, but not as well in life off the hill.
Gates said, “We produced this short documentary with other concerned citizens as a free resource. While it is targeted towards teenagers, it has been comforting to many family members who have lost a loved one to addiction or overdose.”
“The Opiate Effect” documentary is free and easy to find and watch, either online or by downloading it.