Families Against Narcotics Hosts Movie Event Hopes to Knock Out Addiction Stigma


The stigma that still surrounds substance use disorder (SUD) is a major reason why many people who need and want treatment for their addiction don’t seek it. The shame and embarrassment that much of society inflicts on those with SUD is actually preventing lives from being saved. To combat this problem, the Washtenaw County chapter of Families Against Narcotics (FAN) is hosting a unique movie screening event at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, February 22nd, beginning at 5:30 pm. Their goal? To deliver a knock-out punch to addiction stigma.

This very special evening features a screening of We Can Be Heroes, a documentary directed by Mike Ramsdell. The film follows boxer Taylor “Machine Gun” Duerr as he fights his way to a national title inside the ring, while simultaneously fighting the demons of his addiction and working on his recovery outside the ring. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion on addiction stigma moderated by Dr. Frederic Blow, Director of the University of Michigan Addiction Center. In addition to Taylor Duerr and Mike Ramsdell, panelists will include treatment professionals and community and national leaders.

Prior to the film screening, there will be an art exhibition showcasing the works of area artists who have been affected by substance use disorder. The pieces on display will not only reflect the experiences their creators have had with the disease of addiction, but also their hope.

“This event is a unique opportunity to bring visibility to the issue of addiction stigma by using the visual arts to inspire hope within individuals, families, and communities,” Dr. Blow says. “It will also encourage treatment, promote recovery, and save lives.”

All attendees of this event—which is free and open to the public—will receive a free print copy of I’m Still a Person: The Stigma of Substance Use & Power of Respect, a workbook designed to help people take thoughtful action to address the stigma of addiction within themselves, their families, and their communities.

Sadly, until substance use disorder is viewed with the same compassion as other diseases, many people who are hesitant to access treatment will lose their lives unnecessarily. Washtenaw County’s FAN chapter hopes this noteworthy event will educate the community about addiction and spark conversations and actions that will help chip away at the disease’s stigma.

For more information about this event, or to reserve your free tickets, go to www.uthproductions.com/wecanbeheroes.

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