‘Uprooting Addiction’ Shows the Face of the Opioid Epidemic

Ulises Duenas


Addiction is something that many experts are still figuring out. Even with all we know, there’s still a world of information left uncovered because of the complex nature of how psychology and chemical reactions interact.


The opioid epidemic in America has shown how much the deck is stacked against those who are the most vulnerable in this country -- from cultural stigmas to systemic gaps in how we treat those with addictions.


“Uprooting Addiction” is a documentary that provides a more intimate look at the opioid crisis by showing the recovery process of six people in Connecticut and how their upbringings led them to where they are now.



What makes this documentary so effective is how it’s edited. Combining testimonials from people who are in recovery programs as well as those who organize said programs and how they were inspired to help others because of their own trauma. Old family photos and even some home movies do a great job of making these stories hit home harder. You get a better mental picture of who these people are, and how traumatic their lives became as a result of their upbringings and experiences with drugs. 


The film’s title, “Uprooting Addiction,” refers to one of the support tools used by a social worker named Hope Payson who has helped hundreds of people with their addiction. The tool is a tree made of paper up on a board that embodies the roots of someone’s addiction and how they managed to heal from past traumas and deal with their vices. The tree shows that the most common cause of addiction is some type of childhood trauma. One of the most interesting parts of the documentary was hearing how some people’s trauma couldn’t be traced back to a singular moment. Instead, they felt isolated and alone for years, and those feelings turned into anxiety which led them to become so desperate that they needed to numb themselves with drugs. It shows how easily someone can fall into the pitfalls of addiction without the right support and knowledge early on. 


Addiction isn’t something that is ever cured, but this film’s message of identifying and healing the causes of someone’s addiction is quite effective. It shows firsthand evidence that the methods used by Hope Payson in combination with community support networks have a better chance of dealing with addiction than methods we’ve seen in the past. More than that, it also humanizes the often indistinguishable face of addiction in this country and shows that anyone can suffer from this crisis.



Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


Image Sources:

First Run Features

Jornono (Pixabay, Creative Commons)


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