Heroin’s Grip

Heroin's Grip

The Up & Out Foundation has partnered with Conjo Studios to create a 90-minute documentary focused on Frederick County, Heroin’s Grip.

Project Overview

Heroin-related overdoses in Frederick County Maryland have nearly tripled in one year to a record 402 cases in 2016. More than 50 of these overdoses were fatal. The impact heroin and opioid addiction has had on individuals, families, schools, and businesses in our local community has been devastating and far-reaching; very few people in our community have been untouched by this tragedy. Working with law enforcement officials, health care workers, recovery centers and heroin advocacy groups we dive deep into the epidemic’s origins and effects across Frederick County. We’ll ask, Why has Frederick County been hit hard with this problem? What is driving people to use heroin? Who is using it? How are they getting access to heroin? What is law enforcement doing to stop the flow of drugs into the community? How are health care workers and recovery centers coping with the huge increase in addiction? How do emergency medical technicians handle the emotions of yet again treating another overdose victim? The documentary profiles a 24 year old man who’s been fighting addiction for the past 8 years. His parents have spent more than $100,000 on treatment for their son, and recently he began using again. We’ll tell the story of his family’s struggle to deal with his addiction and how they have experienced great personal challenges because of their son’s addiction. We’ll also profile a number of others who are currently in various stages of recovery, as well as families who have buried their young people who lost the fight to addiction.


The intended primary audience for this film are young Americans (12–24) who are at risk for experimenting with drugs. Families and communities who’ve been impacted by the heroin epidemic around the country are also obvious groups who will be interested
in this documentary. Dozens of organizations, heroin and drug advocacy groups, recovery centers, schools, as well as police and law enforcement groups all have constituencies who will have a great interest in this film. But above all, the primary goal of this documentary is to reach beyond the core interest groups to Americans who may not understand the severity and impact heroin addiction is having on our communities. Our primary objective on the education front is to reach those young people who are at risk for heroin and drug addiction.

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