Addiction knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate on gender, race, age or wealth. There’s a stigma– most are picturing someone who looks run down, beaten and dirty.
A film, called “Reversing the Stigma,” however, shows it can be harder for those suffering through addiction to get help. It can also be hard for them to convince others they do want to change.
“My name is Laurie Dhue, and I am a person in long-term recovery from addiction,” Dhue says as the film begins.
Dhue was a successful news anchor with shows on Fox, MSNBC and CNN. While she reported and shared stories, there was one story not many knew. That story was her own.
“My future was very bright indeed,” Dhue went on to explain. “But in reality, my life wasn’t much of a life at all.”
She tells her story of alcohol, drug addiction and her success in ridding herself of those vices. The film also shares the stories of other New Yorkers who dealt with the stigma of addiction and recovery, and what’s being done now.
“They’re no different than you or I, for the most part,” Brian Hart, the Director of Community Services for the Chemung County of Mental Hygiene and organizer of the film screening, said. “They reached a juncture point in their life where they turn to use of alcohol and/or drugs and it got to a point where it was managing their life that wasn’t productive for them or helpful to them.”
The film played at the journey center in Horseheads. It was produced and promoted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
“A lot of the coverage in the news, across the state and the nation is that we need to do something about this epidemic,” Hart said.
It’s something Hart said needs to start with communities finding solutions.
“This is a community issue that needs community resolutions,” He said. “They shouldn’t be thinking that the Brian Harts of the world, or any one individual has all the answers and can make this happen.”
When solutions are created, “then, and only then can we open the door to reversing the stigma,” Dhue said, concluding the film.
The film said that in New York State, roughly 100,000 addicts are receiving addiction treatment each day.