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Published on June 21, 2024
Gwinnett County Communications Department Celebrates First Emmy Win for "Upfront Gwinnett: Fighting Fentanyl" SeriesSource: Google Street View

In a historic win for local government communication efforts, the Gwinnett County Communications Department snagged its first Emmy at the 50th anniversary of the Southeast Regional Emmy Awards. The landmark series, “Upfront Gwinnett: Fighting Fentanyl,” put Gwinnett County in the spotlight alongside television productions from Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Georgia.

The employees who clinched the victory include County spokeswoman Deborah Tuff as the host and executive producer, producer Ryan J. Dennis, filmmaker and editor Brandon Davis, and editor Derek Davis. The series, critically applauded for addressing the surge in fentanyl use, has now been celebrated with one of the highest honors in local television, "said Gwinnett Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, in a statement that echoed pride over the team’s dedication and the project’s societal impact.

The seeds for the initiative were sown in a meeting back in August 2022, where Chairwoman Hendrickson, Newton County Chair Marcello Banes, and Rockdale County Chairman Oz Nesbitt raised alarms about the rise of fentanyl use. Deborah Tuff, who attended the discussions, endeavored into extensive research, contacting various stakeholders to gain a comprehensive understanding of the crisis.

With Chairwoman Hendrickson and the Board of Commissioners staunchly supporting the project, the series “Upfront Gwinnett: Fighting Fentanyl” came into existence, highlighting the underlying challenges of fentanyl abuse in the community. Furthermore, the department also garnered an Emmy nomination for an advertisement that kickstarted Ride Gwinnett’s Microtransit program, marking yet another first for the county at the prestigious award ceremony.

Audiences can access the award-winning series and view the department’s acceptance speech on the county’s official website or on their YouTube channel. As Gwinnett celebrates its historic win, efforts to shine a light on persistent community issues such as mental health continue with the latest series installment, “Upfront Gwinnett: Suffering in Silence."