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Film screening to raise alcohol awareness

Published 10:09 am, Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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"The Anonymous People," an award-winning film about America's addiction epidemic, will be screened at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at Wilton High School's Little Theater, 395 Danbury Road.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, created to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding alcoholism. To help educate and raise awareness in Fairfield County, Silver Hill Hospital of New Canaan, the Human Services Council's Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition, Wilton Public Schools, Wilton Social Services, Wilton Youth Services and the Wilton Youth Council are sponsoring the screening.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million Americans needed treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, but only 11.2 percent received it. While not the sole reason, the social stigma surrounding addiction to alcohol and other drugs contributes to the gap in treatment of substance use disorders.

"This is not your tired old addiction rehab story splashed across reality TV or tabloid magazines," Greg Williams, the film's producer, said in a press release. "There are no needles hanging out of people's arms, pictures of the brain, or fried eggs in a pan."

As a person in long-term recovery himself since age 17, Williams, now 29, added, "We set out to find the answer to one very fundamental question: Why do we treat addiction and people with addiction in this country so dramatically differently than people with any other health issue?"

"The Anonymous People" shines a light on what life is like without drugs or alcohol by telling the stories of real people in long-term recovery.

"Addiction is a disease that affects brain chemistry, not a character flaw," Eric D. Collins, M.D., physician-in-chief at Silver Hill Hospital, said. "These disorders affect people of all walks of life, from teenagers to business executives, and one should not feel ashamed for seeking treatment."

As part of the evening, a number of organizations will participate in a prevention, treatment and recovery services fair beginning at 6 p.m. The film will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Williams and Collins.

Due to the graphic nature of the film, it is recommended for high school students and adults only.