The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) of New York State produced a documentary featuring stories of New Yorkers who are in recovery or currently battling addictions. The film, Reversing the Stigma, captures the reality of drug addiction, recovery, and the stigma that surrounds this disease. The main message is that addiction is a chronic disease rather than a moral failing.
The film initially debuted in September, which is National Recovery Month, and will premiere on Long Island at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. The documentary will be screened on Wednesday, October 18 at 7 p.m., after which there will be a discussion panel. Chief Counsel of OASAS, Robert Kent, and Executive Director of Hugs Inc., Kym Laube, will be a part of this panel.
“A little known secret, or not so secret to some, about the the Hamptons is the high rate of substance use. The East End for years has had a been challenged with drug and alcohol use and in some cases our youth report using at higher rates than their counterparts in the state and nation,” Laube said. “The stigma of addiction stops us from talking about the very thing we need to be talking about. The casualty on the war on drugs is our youth and we can’t let another one die.”
This event aims to bring awareness to substance abuse disorders and features the work being done by New York State to fight addiction. In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that limits opiate prescriptions for pain to 7 days (where previously it was 30 days), and mandates that individuals to which the opiates are prescribed receive education on addiction and pain management.
“There has been a long held belief that addiction only affects certain people, but the recent opioid epidemic has shown that it impacts people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, languages and religions,” said OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “This documentary is key to helping people understand that addiction is a disease and recovery is possible.”
As a result of this new law, New York State saw a reduction of over 650,000 opiate prescriptions in the first year.
“We thank Governor Cuomo for giving us the opportunity to tell these stories, and for all of his efforts to help reverse the stigma against people with substance use disorder,” added González-Sánchez.
The film is narrated by Laurie Dhue, a journalist, and traces numerous individuals throughout many stages of their addictions and recovery. Dhue, a former news anchor for major news networks, struggled with addiction herself for two decades.
It also features interviews with individuals in recovery, health care professionals, and politicians. All are welcome for this viewing at Bay Street, co-presented by Hugs, Inc.
Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor For more information about the screening, please visit www.facebook.com.