Award-winning film on drug addiction to be shown in Milford

MILFORD – “The Hungry Heart,” a documentary film on prescription drug addiction and recovery in Vermont, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts, 56 Mont Vernon St.

The movie will be followed by a panel discussion including film director Bess O’Brien and representatives from local community agencies.

“We need to educate teens and parents about the addictive potential of these powerful drugs and their ability to ruin lives,” said Bill Storo, MD, FAAP, New Hampshire Pediatric Society president.

According to the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey completed in 2013 by high schools in the Souhegan Valley area, including Hollis Brookline, Milford, Souhegan and Wilton-
Lyndeborough:

? More than 20 percent of 12th-grade students self-reported using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription; 17.2 percent of 11th-grade students report the same.

? More than 21 percent of high school students do not think it is wrong to take a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.

? 36 percent do not believe they are at great risk of harming themselves if they take a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.

? More than 3 percent of 11th-grade students have reported using heroin one or more times in their life.

Understanding which drugs kids are abusing, signs of abuse and risks they take when they do, is an important step to protecting children from danger. “The Hungry Heart” opens up dialogue around many issues connected to addiction and recovery and serves as a jumping-off point for discussion and action that many of our communities need.

“The Hungry Heart” was honored by Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin during his January 2014 State of the State address, in which he devoted his entire speech to the opiate epidemic in Vermont.

Since Shumlin’s initiative to deal with the rising prescription drug and heroin addiction in Vermont, “The Hungry Heart” has been featured on national press and media outlets. The film has toured across New England to more than 100 towns, and was presented in Washington, D.C., by Sen. Patrick Leahy and Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“The Hungry Heart,” produced by Kingdom County Productions, provides an intimate look at the often hidden world of prescription drug addiction through the work of Vermont pediatrician Fred Holmes, whose patients struggle with this disease. The film shines a light on the healing power of conversation and the need for connection for which many of these young addicts yearn but do not have in their lives.

This event is free; however, registration is required. To register, visit tinyurl.com/heartmovie. For more information about the movie, visit the
hungryheartmovie.org.

Community Action for Safe Teens is a committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley whose mission is to prevent substance use and promote healthy choices for youths throughout the Valley. For more information, visit castnh.org or call Chairwoman Monica Gallant at 769-0978.