If you do the same thing, you get the same results. In my part of the Greater Appalachian region this maxim applies to individuals, not systems.
In the short Netflix film Heroin(e) cameras examine the heroin epidemic ravaging Huntington, Va. — a once-proud industrial town that now has an overdose rate 10 times the national rate. The film’s website describes the documentary as follows:
Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs.
In many ways, these women are combatting a male-centric view on how a society deals with a crisis. Rader, a firm believer in utilizing Narcan — medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, It is credited with saving 27,000 lives (2015 data) in the United States. She is met with resistance, though, with one male firefighter asking ‘but are we require to administer it.’
In Southwest Ohio we combat the same mindset.
The Butler County sheriff (directly to the south of Preble County) generated a news story in 2017 when he stated that his deputies would not administer Narcan, saying it doesn’t solve the problem — adding he was concerned for his officers’ safety. He cited the debunked theory that addicts receiving Narcan would ‘wake’ violently. The film shows several ‘coming out of their overdose.’ They are confused and docile, but the ‘violence’ myth is perpetuated by those who do not want to administer Narcan.
The dedication of the three women in the film is refreshing.
Besides the work done by Rader, the efforts by Keller and Freeman are reminders that some Americans still look out for their fellow citizens, regardless of the choices they’ve made or the situations they’re in. Films like this fill a much-needed vacuum in the ‘war on drugs’ which shows that compassion, coupled with individual responsibility, is a significantly more humane way to treat another human.
My Rating: Five out of five stars. The film is long enough to tell the story without belaboring the point. It shows the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of the epidemic without presenting the chemically-addicted in a condescending manner.