As part of our study of the opioid epidemic, HUGHF viewed the 2013 documentary The Hungry Heart. The Bess O'Brien film explores the impact of the opioid epidemic on the small town of St. Albans, Vt., and tells the story of one physician's efforts to give addiction treatment to patients in need. Here are some reactions from members of our group:
"The film transformed the opioid epidemic form an issue that seemed distant and hard to fully understand to one that felt close to home -- addiction to opioids is a disease that can affect anyone. I was extremely encouraged by how many people really want to fight their addiction and seek help, but shocked to learn that many cannot find an available doctor or center to go to." - Caroline Diggins '20
"I found the documentary to be both eye-opening and heartbreaking. Though addiction is often stigmatized, the film made it clear that addiction is a disease, not a flaw or weakness in character, and that addicts should be treated with respect as any other patient. It was also surprising to see the emotional toll that the patients had on their doctor (that's a side of medicine that we don't often see) and touching to see that so many of them looked up to him as a father figure." - Anthony Zhong '21
"The documentary opened my eyes to the suffering that addiction causes addicts and their families. It is heartbreaking. I am inspired by the work of physicians like Dr. Holmes who are doing everything they can to treat their patients for this devastating disease." - Natalie Swartz '20
The Boston Globe published a letter-to-the-editor written by HUGHF members Hannah Smati '18 and Anthony Zhong '21 that urges President Trump to back up his public health emergency declaration for the opioid epidemic with federal action. Read the letter here.