The Opioid Trilogy
THE OPIOID TRILOGY is a triptych of short, animated documentaries looking at the opioid epidemic through the demand side of addiction. Each film is a conversation between an individual in recovery from opioid use disorder and a family member, concerned other, or specialist in the field. Through first-person storytelling, the audience will bear witness to both the broken rehabilitation system in this country and to alternative, science-based approaches that are providing hope for a generation seemingly lost to opioids. The use of rotoscoped characters with collage-style backgrounds and cinematic animated sequences provides a novel storytelling canvas to have these critical conversations.
If there is anything one can say about the enormous crisis of addiction and overdose deaths in America, it is that we are painfully aware of its existence as a problem. But the public’s understanding often stops there, at awareness alone. While much ink has been spilled and cameras have been pointed at investigating how this crisis began and the supply-side catastrophe that ensued, far less attention has been brought on the complexities of recovering after addiction, the spurious history and practices of treating addiction in this country, or how opioid addiction is really a chronic disease.
The first installment in The Opioid Trilogy, is the story of the filmmaker’s brother’s descent into opioid addiction as told in a series of non-linear, intimate conversations. Matt, the filmmaker’s brother, traces the source of his addiction to the childhood trauma of living with ADHD and dyslexia. The film explores how he is dealing with recovery after being treated for years with outdated rehab models, cut off entirely from science and social integration. It is a raw and often poetic tale of recovery that dovetails with themes of self medication, chronic disease, the role of mental illness in addiction, and the potential for Medication Assisted Therapy, which has kept Matt opioid free. While there is no certainty in Matt’s story, there is hope.