WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass (NEWS10) – A new film is coming to the area, featuring local residents putting a face to the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.
The weekend is a great time to get to the theaters to catch a movie. Many viewers may still want to catch “Rogue One” or “Lion” starring Nicole Kidman.
They’re showing those films at “Images Cinema” in Williamstown, but the theater is also offering a unique opportunity to see a powerful film you won’t find anywhere else.
“It is powerful, it is emotional,” said Amalio Jusino, Assistant Chief of North Adams Ambulance. “The biggest impact and what makes it so great, is it’s your next door neighbor, it’s the person that you see every day.”
It’s called “Faces”. It’s a short, 28-minute long, documentary featuring five local people who bravely share their stories and experiences with a growing epidemic across the country, heroin and opioid addiction. You’ll hear from parents who’ve lost children, as well as users in recovery.
“There’s a mother who lost her child,” said Wendy Penner, Director of Prevention and Wellness at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. “There’s two grandparents whose sons are addicted and they’re raising their grandchildren. And there’s a young person in recovery.”
Penner is one of the campions behind the project.
“Addiction is a disease,” she says. “It’s a chronic relapse brain disease, and we need to have some compassion when we think about how to solve this problem.”
Penner says rather than just another lecture, the film puts a face to the statistics and exposes the reality of an issue that has the ability to tear apart families of all social classes and communities big and small.
“We’re seeing an overdose at one point almost every other day,” says Jusino.
Jusino, is a North Adams paramedic who sees these overdoses on a regular basis. He also does extensive NARCAN (overdose reversal medication) training for the Berkshire County..
The FREE public screening will be followed by a panel for Q&A.
Jusino will be a part of the Q&A panel following the screening. As a first responder for more than 20 years, Jusino has seen the epidemic slowly take over his city.
“We started seeing different age groups, and different walks of life, and different professions, and we knew that we were now becoming what we were reading about or seeing on television,” said Jusino. “North Adams is no different than the rest of the country.”
Penner says despite tremendous challenges and tragedy, recovery does happen.
“We want to raise awareness about the resources that we do have,” said Penner. “The resources that we still need.”
The viewing will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday. It is free and open to the public.