DNUBehind the doc: Searching for a Fix
Posted July 26
In researching and producing “Searching for a Fix” there were some things that surprised me and one thing that did not. I was surprised how widespread the problem of prescription opioid and heroin addiction is, how users switch from the former to the latter because heroin is cheaper and easier to get and how there appears to be no real demographic for someone who is addicted to heroin. When you hear the stories of people touched by this issue it shatters stereotypes and the false assumption that addiction is a choice.
The interviews we did with family members who lost loved ones were gut wrenching. The pain of their loss was etched on their faces and echoed by their wavering voices. So I was surprised by the sharp contrast an interview we did with a heroin user provided. To look at him and talk with him you would never suspect he was addicted to heroin. He works a full-time job, has a fiancé and speaks of his heroin use as casually as you and I might speak of having a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day. He did however admit he was addicted with plans of quitting one day.
What did not surprise me was the point made by nearly everyone in the documentary, from parents who’ve lost children, to law enforcement officers, to those who run substance abuse treatment centers, to state officials, that it is far better for all of us to treat people with substance addiction and help them recover and become productive citizens than it is to lock them up or worse, let them die. It was heartening to see a bipartisan effort in our state legislature pass the STOP Act to help address our state’s opioid epidemic. It was disheartening, but not surprising, to see the legislature cut the $20 million dollars for community-based substance abuse treatment in half when nearly everyone with a stake in this issue says much more access to treatment is what’s desperately needed. Sure, $10 million more for treatment is better than nothing, but it’s very clear from our documentary that it is not nearly enough.