CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Public Broadcasting will present a special sneak preview screening of NOVA: Addiction on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m., at the University of Charleston’s Geary Auditorium.
NOVA, a production of WGBH Boston that airs on WVPB television, takes an unflinching look at the science of addiction and how it works—traveling across the country and stopping in West Virginia to hear firsthand from individuals and families and to meet with researchers on the frontlines of the opioid crisis.
The screening is free and open to the public and will be followed by a panel discussion with the program’s producer and some West Virginians who are featured in the episode. Panelists include Sarah Holt, the episode’s writer, director and producer; Dr. James Berry, addiction psychiatry specialist at West Virginia University School of Medicine; Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner and state health officer of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources; Mary Price, a recovery coach from southern West Virginia; and Julia Cort, deputy executive producer for NOVA and panel moderator.
“West Virginia may have the highest overdose death rate in the country, but it has also put forth one of the most impressive plans I’ve seen for how to respond to the opioid epidemic. It’s been a privilege to film some of the efforts underway here to address the crisis,” Holt said.
Although substance use disorder has long been viewed as a moral failing, leading scientists will help viewers understand that it occurs as drugs profoundly alter the brain. As researchers gather scientific and clinical evidence the episode will explore how to best address the drug crisis, from advances in neuroscience, to the development of evidence-based treatments, to the rethinking of laws and public policies.
Chuck Roberts, WVPB’s interim executive director said when station employees previewed NOVA: Addiction, they found it to be so compelling that they wanted to have a special screening in the state.
“West Virginia Public Broadcasting has focused on the journey to recovery for many West Virginians through our many community engagement partnerships, but this film brings us a different perspective on substance use disorder. It is so much more than attitude and willpower,” Roberts said. “NOVA: Addiction shows us the science of the disorder. We want to get this information out to those fighting so hard to conquer it on a personal, community or statewide level. People are suffering and struggling. If they learn how their bodies process opioids, they might seek an alternative way to get help even when they think there is nothing else to try.”
The documentary will premiere on WVPB television on October 17 at 9 p.m. and will simulcast on Facebook. Viewers can join the conversation online using #AddictionCrisisPBS.