The creators and supporters of "From the Heart.. A Life Worth Saving" pose for a photo following the film's premiere at the Quaker Cinema. Pictured from left to right are Natalie Bollon of the ADAMHS Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties; Andrea Dominick of the Tuscarawas County Health Department; local mothers Anita Davis and Mary Ann Otte; State Rep. Al Landis; Jodi Salvo of Personal and Family Counseling Services and the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition; and Erik Frederickson, a recovery coach. (Photo by Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV)
New Philadelphia, Ohio - Organizers were anticipating a modest turnout for the community premiere of their new documentary chronicling the devastating impact of drug abuse. Instead, they were welcomed by an entire theater full of supporters committed to sharing the message that addiction can happen to anyone and that every life is worth saving.
More than 150 people attended the Tuesday evening premiere of “From the Heart… A Life Worth Saving”, a new, four-part series featuring the stories of lives touched by addiction.
The series captures the heartbreak of three local mothers who have experienced the devastation of losing a child to a drug overdose and a follows the journey of an area man recovering from a life of addiction.
Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition Coordinator Jodi Salvo says the film is a gift to the community from the people who graciously donated their stories and will be used to further the area’s drug prevention efforts.
“We’re hoping to offer these to workplaces, for business lunch-and-learns, to civic organizations, PTOs, any opportunity where someone just needs a quick talk to give them education awareness on this issue and honestly to break stigma around addiction and change the face of addiction and let each person know that addiction can happen to anybody,” she says.
Mary Ann Otte is one of the mothers featured in the film. She says she shared her story to honor the memory of her son Joey and help erase the stigma that surrounds drug abuse.
“Addicts who are struggling need support and love, and they need to feel a part of something besides their addiction,” Otte says. “Addiction isn’t something addicts look forward to day after day, that they want out from behind the craziness that addiction brings.”
Anita Davis says she continues to share her son’s story to let other families know that they’re not alone.
“I have been sharing Zachary’s story for 12 years. It was really hard in the beginning because I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I thought I was the only one dealing with this. When I shared Zachary’s story, then a lot of people came to me and said they had similar experiences in their families, and then I realized that this really is a big problem in the community, and it’s something that we need to talk about,” she says.
Salvo says she hopes the film serves as a call to action for the community.
“I think that's what we'd like to see come out of this, that as a community we’re fired up, we’re energized, and we’re empowered to do something, and I think that if each citizen does something we will move the needle forward,” she says.
She says copies of the film will be distributed to 70 local churches to help spread its message throughout the community.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV