‘The Hungry Heart’ Draws Crowd in Stonington
January 27, 2016

Over eighty area residents attended a recent showing of The Hungry Heart, an award-winning documentary film by Bess O’Brien exposing the hidden world of prescription drug addiction, and the successes and challenges of recovery.

Healthy Acadia’s Drug Free Communities Initiative, Healthy Island Project (HIP) and the Stonington Opera House partnered to offer a free public viewing of the 93-minute film on Tuesday, January 19. The Hungry Heart is an intimate look at the world of prescription drug addiction through the eyes of Dr. Fred Holmes, a Vermont pediatrician who works with young patients struggling with addiction. As the film progresses, viewers witness the many challenges faced by Dr. Holmes and other physicians who prescribe suboxone for their patients on their path to recovery. As he works with patients, Holmes reveals the healing power of conversation and the need for connection that many young addicts crave but find missing from their lives. The film also includes conversations with older addicts in various stages of recovery and demonstrates the diversity of faces affected by the disease.

State Representative Walter Kumiega facilitated a lively post-film discussion, which indicated that those in attendance were eager to take an active role in supporting prevention of opioid and prescription drug misuse and addiction in their communities. Community members and panelists Sheriff Scott Kane, District Attorney Matt Foster, Dr. Charles Zelnick of Island Family Medicine, Kathleen Miller of Maine Pretrial Services and Denise Black of Healthy Acadia answered questions and discussed several areas of interest such as substance prevention education in schools, increased involvement and education for parents, recent law enforcement activities, increased treatment and recovery services, facilitation of youth groups, a narcotics anonymous group, findings from the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, as well as community based education on needle debris, including health concerns, proper identification, handling and disposal.

According to Healthy Acadia’s Denise Black, “We look forward to partnering with communities, schools, youth and parents to provide a variety of substance resources and prevention education, and to plan next steps with community members on how to move forward from this excellent community conversation.”
Healthy Island Project’s Executive Director Anne Douglass added that HIP was pleased to help organize the event and is encouraged that a public conversation has begun on this challenging, yet important, issue to our community.

If your community group or organization is interested in hosting a free showing of this film and facilitated follow-up discussion on the topic of drug use, addiction and resources, please contact Denise at Healthy Acadia: 667-7171 or denise@healthyacadia.org.