On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, MARR partnered with Amazon Studios and Georgia State Representative Sharon Cooper to host a special screening of the Amazon film Beautiful Boy. The room was full of local community members, government and school officials, treatment professionals, and individuals who are in recovery themselves. The screening was followed by a panel discussion on the disease of addiction and how it affects individuals, families and communities, as well as what steps we can take to shift the conversation surrounding addiction and work towards tangible change.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr gave opening remarks on the many groups and government entities that are working for progress in the midst of this crisis. The panel included State Representative Sharon Cooper, Executive Director of Georgia Council on Substance Abuse Neil Campbell, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Judy Fitzgerald, former MARR CEO Jim Seckman, former MARR client Jordan Detweiler, and Stacee Flanagan, an active MARR volunteer as well as a mother of a former client. The discussion was moderated by Anna Vecellio of the Atlanta Film Festival.
The group discussed how important is it to have a foundation of community in recovery to combat the isolation that is a product of addiction. Addiction is a family disease, and it has widespread effects on not only the addict or alcoholic, but also on those close to them. They explained that the disease of addiction is widely misunderstood by the larger public, and we must collectively work to de-stigmatize it in order to move forward in presenting treatment options. Our panelists discussed the complex issues surrounding treatment, including a lack of federal and state funding, the widespread inaccessibility of treatment, and the difficulties of using “guaranteed” insurance benefits.
We want this event to be a starting point for a larger discussion. Twenty million Americans suffer from substance use disorder, and overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. This growing problem hits close to home as addiction fatalities in Georgia counties are reaching record-setting numbers nationally and statewide. There are opportunities to get involved and make a difference in our families and our communities.
Most importantly, we want anyone affected by addiction to know that they are not alone. There is hope, there are people who care, and there are options for you. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, you can call MARR’s Clinical Assessment Team at 678-405-5623 for a free assessment, or if you have questions about treatment options.
Beautiful Boy is based on the true story of father and son David and Nic Sheff and features Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. The movie is now available to watch on Amazon.