New Documentary Shows What a Humane Approach to Addiction Actually Looks Like
Jason Cherkis - The Huffington Post
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February 24, 2016

A Cop’s Surprising Interaction with a Heroin User | Chasing Heroin (Frontline PBS)

In the early moments of "Chasing Heroin," a new "Frontline" documentary that aired Tuesday on PBS and online, a police van pulls down a Seattle alley and stops near a pair of heroin addicts. A cop gets out of the van and assures them that he means no harm.

“I gotcha,” he says, “You’re getting well. No big deal. I’m not going to jam you up.”

The officer merely wants to know who the addicts are and offer them connections to a social worker - and, maybe down the line, to treatment. Decades into the war on drugs, the exchange is jarring for what it doesn’t include: an arrest.

"Frontline" cameras spent a year chronicling not only the quiet devastation of the opioid epidemic but also the attempts of police officers and social workers, public defenders and prosecutors, to save the lives of addicted people without locking them up.

Disappointments and setbacks are frequent in "Chasing Heroin." It’s because of these disappointments that the film achieves a clear-eyed, even vital importance, especially if you know someone struggling with addiction. The opioid epidemic may be decades in the making, but the public health solutions - specifically in the forms of medication-assisted treatment through methadone and buprenorphine - are still trying to take root and gain public acceptance.

HuffPost spoke with Marcela Gaviria, the director, writer and producer of "Chasing Heroin," about her film, how it came together and what she learned from making it. Read it here

Related: Obama's Enlightened Response to the Opioid Epidemic (The Fix)

Related: How a Vice President at JP Morgan Introduced Timothy Leary to Psychedelics (Tech Insider)

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