The other pandemic

Monroe. A sea of Black Posters placed around the Millponds in Monroe puts many faces to the addiction crisis in our communities.

| 11 Aug 2021 | 01:25

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a sea of Black Posters must speak volumes.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the pathways that surround the ponds of Crane Park in Monroe were lined with Black Posters that put a face, literally, to New York’s addiction crisis.

Attendees were able to walk along the path of posters and get a glimpse of the people behind the posters. While each poster told an individual story, the collection of the posters as whole told an even darker one and served as a reminder that addiction is a deep issue in our local communities.

From the ashes of grief, the powerful project was designed to “help others understand the struggles of addiction through the stories of lives lost.” The Black Poster Project was created by Dee Gillen after losing her son Scott to a heroin-fentanyl overdose 2015.

The event was sponsored by Hudson Valley Hope Not Handcuffs.

“It was an honor to set up The Black Poster Project in Monroe,” Gillen said in an interview. “The support from not only the community, but Hope Not Handcuffs, their Police Department, the town and village leaders as well as invited legislatures was overwhelming. It makes this heavy hearted work we do alongside Alumni in Recovery quite rewarding.

“As we watched so many people come to view the display, talk with our people in recovery as well as our grieving families,” she added, “it leaves us hopeful that we are making a difference.”

According to the New York State Opioid Annual Report 2020, in 2018 New York State had 2,991 opioid related deaths, a 193 percent increase from 2010.

“Losing a child is an extremely painful and lonely journey that is with you every single day,” said Monroe resident Nancy Liptak, who lost her son to addiction in 2015. “Events like the Black Poster Project is a fantastic way to bring awareness about addiction and to hopefully drop the stigma around this pandemic.”


Addiction can take over anyone, it does not discriminate. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to any Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley participating police precinct or call 833-428- HOPE.

For more information about The Black Poster Project or to make a donation please visit