Board to host screening

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Suffolk Wellness Coalition will present a film on opioid abuse next week.

“Chasing the Dragon,” a documentary produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration, will be shown from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 23 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave. There will also be a panel discussion.

“As of late, the prescription drug and heroin use epidemic has really grown,” said Dr. Sheronda Farrow, a clinical administrator with the Western Tidewater Community Services Board. “We thought it would be a great idea to try to sponsor the film in this area.”

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Farrow said the film features first-person accounts from people in recovery from opioid addiction, which can range from abuse of prescription painkillers to heroin use.

“The point of showing this really is to issue a wake-up call for individuals,” Farrow said. “Everybody knows that addiction does not discriminate. The people in the film, they come from good homes; they come from loving families.”

Farrow said the goal also is to educate people in the community before they can become addicted.

“If you look at it like a race, our goal is to impact the lives of the individuals in our community before addiction can,” Farrow said. “Hopefully, it will springboard an environment where we have a culture of support for addiction services.”

On the panel will be Dr. Melissa Gross, head of the detox unit for the Western Tidewater Community Services Board, as well as a clinician and an individual who is currently in recovery.

“We’re hoping to have people to understand the process of real-life recovery,” said Kim Baskerville, program manager for prevention with the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

Baskerville said the relatively new Suffolk Wellness Coalition, which started in June, is an effort to promote overall wellness for the entire community. Law enforcement, schools, social services, private providers, faith-based organizations and a variety of individuals all are on the coalition, Baskerville said.

“We wanted a variety of people that could sit around the table,” she said. “We want to bring our youth aboard as well.”

Baskerville said the community services board offers training in using an opioid antidote. The training is available to anyone and takes place every third Thursday of the month in the morning and once a quarter in the evening. Information on the training will be among the resources available at Monday’s screening.

The officials are hoping for a large audience for the screening.

“We want every seat to be taken,” Farrow said.

For more information on the film screening or the services of the WTCSB, call Baskerville at 408-8246.