“Heroin(e)” is a hopeful new documentary now streaming on Netflix, reminding us that every effort matters in the fight against opioid abuse.
Even with a short 39-minute runtime, Heroin(e) packs a powerful punch. Real people and real consequences are shown—overdoses, jail sentences, and most of all, the efforts of people trying to help.
(Image from Netflix)
The “Overdose Capital” of the United States
“I’m absolutely convinced this is the largest existential health threat facing our nation — we’re losing one and at risk of losing two generations.”
~ Mayor Stephen Williams
One reason Heroin(e) resonates is the setting—Huntington, West Virginia, the “overdose capital of America”.
How bad is it?
- In 2015, the rate of opioid overdose deaths in Huntington was 10 times the US average.
- 1 out of 10 Huntington residents is addicted to opioids.
- One evening in 2016 saw 28 overdoses just six hours.
Huntington’s streets and homes look just like those in any similarly-sized US city. Opioid abuse isn’t a West Virginia problem—it’s an problem EVERYWHERE.
Drug overdose deaths in the US surpassed 59,000 in 2016, jumping 19% over 2015, and are now the #1 cause of death for people under the age of 50.
Heroin(e) highlights four Huntington women making a difference in their community—HEROIN(E)s in very real ways.
- The Firefighter
Fire Chief Jan Rader spends too much of her time responding to opioid emergencies. But, instead of becoming indifferent, Chief Rader says:
“The only qualification for getting into long-term recovery is you have to be alive. And I don’t care if I save somebody 50 times—that’s 50 chances to get into long-term recovery.”
- The Judge
The Honorable Patricia Keller is a Huntington Drug Court judge who dispenses both no-nonsense justice AND real understanding for those who appear before her.
When participants “graduate” from the drug court, it’s a celebration and the judge is as proud as a parent. Loved ones are in attendance, graduates give speeches, and everybody hugs everybody—even the judge, who says:
“Sometimes, unfortunately, relapses happen, particularly early in the program. But if you’re honest about it, I can work with you.”
- The Volunteer
Necia Freeman runs the Brown Bags and Backpacks Ministry—distributing hygiene supplies, meals, and love to prostitutes in Huntington. She also helps them get into rehab programs:
“I ask them why they are doing drugs and they say, ‘Well, it’s to forget.’ Then I ask them if they’ve ever forgotten while doing drugs and they say no. So, let’s get you off drugs. And it’s awesome when it works.”
- The Recovering Addict
Heroin(e) also features Najah Menapace, once a prostitute lost to addiction. Now, she is engaged in her recovery and is clean for longer than she has been in years.
She’s is connected to the others—she graduated from Judge Keller’s Court with Chief Rader as a guest. Today, she helps Ms. Freeman with Brown Bags. She says:
“…I’ve seen girls out here that I have used with and been out here with and they see me clean now and see that I’s possible. So it helps me and it hopefully can help someone else.”
If you are ready to craft your own success story, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego.