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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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UPROOTING ADDICTION proves opioid crisis still kills 130 a day in US

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

What many remember about the past US Presidential administration is likely a trigger warning, but there's one area that got the attention it deserved: The Opioid Crisis. It's the other deadly epidemic that was killing 130 Americans a day prior to this Pandemic. It still is. Meet the Opioid Epidemic in America. But it's a worldwide crisis. First Run Features presents the Streaming Premiere of the new documentary Uprooting Addiction: Healing from the Ground Up, coming April 6.

From Screenmancer 

Uprooting Addiction is an urgent look at the national drug crisis that is ravaging local communities in America. The doc follows six diverse people, each affected by childhood trauma, who candidly share their personal stories of addiction and recovery.

Interweaving these stories with uplifting, up-to-the-minute accounts of collective action in the face of an unrelenting public health crisis – from an equally diverse group of activists, officials, volunteers, and experts – Uprooting Addiction is a mosaic-like portrait of a single community coming together to take on one of the most critical challenges of our time.

Open Your Eyes to a Silent Killer Known as Addiction

Here’s the Director’s Take on this Documentary

by Tory Estern Jadow

Drug overdoses in the U.S. now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined. Like many other health and social issues, this crisis has been exacerbated by COVID-19. A misunderstanding of pain management has led to a widespread over-prescription of highly addictive opiates, a pipeline drug that often results in the newly addicted seeking street drugs once prescriptions become unobtainable.

The reality of drug addiction is that it is ubiquitous and non-discriminatory, and what was once a problem buried by socioeconomic and racial biases, cloaked in stigma and shame, has reached critical mass. It is an epidemic. At the center of Uprooting Addiction is the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a widely accepted methodology often referenced by medical and psychiatric professionals. The study analyzes the correlation between ten types of childhood trauma (which can include neglect, and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse) and long-term health outcomes, revealing a causal relationship between the two.

Despite this, trauma treatment is rarely taught in medical school or offered to adults struggling with addiction. Over the three years we were making Uprooting Addiction, we witnessed evidence that prevention and education are better solutions for our current drug epidemic than punishment and incarceration.

Co-producer Hope Payson, a national expert on the topics of trauma, neglect, and addiction, offers a model for treatment guiding patients through the painful and often transformative process of unearthing the past to understand the roots of their addiction. Her methodology also focuses on community, and many of her patients turn to community service as part of their recovery.

Our film explores how a healthy community relies on the multifaceted participation of people working across the sectors – from medical fields, to social work and activism, to law enforcement. Moreover, it requires the willingness of its individuals to investigate their own biases and judgments, those that build stigma and shame around an epidemic from which no one is immune.

First Run Features explains…

Uprooting Addiction takes an urgent look at the national drug addiction crisis that continues to ravage local communities across the U.S., including the director’s own in Northwest Connecticut. At an innovative retreat organized by addiction and trauma counselor Hope Payson, six people from varying walks of life – each affected by childhood trauma – come together to share their stories, emerging from darkness through community, connection, and compassion.

Rob is a successful businessman who became addicted to opiates after back surgery. Ryan grew up in chaos, with a heroin-addicted mother and an absent father. Kaytlin lost her brother who suffered from mental illness to an overdose – before falling victim to heroin addiction herself. Daryl, a man who was incarcerated for a decade, following a long history of drug addiction, missed his daughter’s childhood when in prison. Chuck is a former high school wrestling coach who awoke to his addiction upon being recognized by a former student while shooting up in a dope house. Kelvin spun out of control at a community picnic while high on drugs, coming to grips with his addiction when he saw himself through his daughter’s eyes.

Through the metaphor of a tree bearing a network of roots, Payson helps each attendee recognize the foundation of their trauma – abandonment, learning differences, sexual molestation, violence – and how it manifests and permeates through life, opening the door to fundamental healing.

Coming to Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Streaming & Vimeo on Demand on April 6, 2021

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

LA Correspondent for

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