‘The Anonymous People’ to be shown April 3 at Marshall University

The Marshall community is invited to attend a free film screening of the groundbreaking documentary, “The Anonymous People,” at Marshall University.

The film, which focuses on the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery and the emerging public recovery movement, will be shown in Room BE-5 of the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3.

According to a news release from the filmmakers, the film questions why the United States has criminalized and too often given superficial treatment to a chronic illness – addiction. As a result, addiction now comes with an annual price tag of $350 billion. According to the filmmakers, the American approach has put most of the burden of long-term addiction treatment on anonymous, free, 12-step programs. The culture of anonymity in these programs has protected individuals from stigma, but also has unintentionally perpetuated false perceptions of people with addiction, as the public doesn’t often glimpse the multitude of people living in recovery all around them.

“This film is not your tired old addiction story often seen on reality television or in the news,” film producer Greg Williams said. “There are no needles hanging out of people’s arms, pictures of the brain or fried eggs in a pan. We set out to find the answer to one very fundamental question: Why don’t we treat addiction in this country like any other health issue?”

“The Anonymous People” also shines a light on prominent people who are not very anonymous and are living publicly as people in long-term recovery themselves: award winning actress Kristen Johnston, former NBA star Chris Herren, former Miss USA Tara Conner, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, veteran news anchor Laurie Dhue and many others. They have chosen to “come out” with their recovery in an effort to counter the existing public perception of other people just like them.

Representatives from many area advocacy and treatment programs will discuss the local recovery movement and treatment options.

The following sponsors will have representatives attending the film to answer questions:

1-800-GAMBLER, Rx Drug Abuse Solution, Prestera Center, The Healing Place, Marshall University Student Health Education Programs, HER Place, Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, FIRST CHOICE Services and ATARI (Appalachian Technology Assisted Recovery Innovations).

Refreshments will be provided.