Cape Cod filmmakers join together to create documentary on drug use

Two filmmakers native to Cape Cod decided to make a movie revealing the prevalent drug use problem and the issues that surround it in the area. Both filmmakers are quite familiar with addiction, each sobering up two years ago, the Cape Cod Times stated.

Turning life around after drug use

One of the filmmakers, Nate Robertson, said he is a fully changed person. Robertson overdosed on heroin two years ago and was revived by Narcan. The near-death experience helped scare Robertson into sobriety. The second filmmaker, Sam Tarplin, also battled an addiction to heroin. He met Robertson in 2013 while in recovery. The two decided to create an inside look at the significant drug problem on the Cape.

The documentary follows eight people on the Cape who all have personal stories with addiction and drug abuse. It mentions some drug policies and the difficulties that surround getting into an addiction treatment facility and the possibility of becoming a criminal.

Robertson noted that it is easier for a drug user to get into jail than an addiction treatment center on Cape Cod. He wishes that harsh truth could be reversed.

One of the locals in the film stated that during the summer, there is plenty to do in the area. However, in the winter everything changes. Bored and broke, many natives will turn to drinking and drug use.

All of the people featured in the film did not use their last name, which follows a rule used in the 12-step program. Each tells his or her own story, noting the initial rise to abuse and the eventual crash that pushed him or her to stop.

Reversing Stigmas of Drug Use

Ali C. was pregnant with her second child, battling addiction and living out of her car. She lost custody of her first child. She overdosed and wound up in a psychiatric hospital. During her hospitalization, a maternal responsibility urged her to sober up. She began bussing tables to earn a little money and restore her life. The current mother of three is now in nursing school. At one point, she overheard medical colleagues looking down at people who battle addiction. She informed them that she used to be one of those people.

One of the largest motivators for the pair to create the film was ending the stigmas that surround addiction. Tarplin noted that he knows many “normal” people who battle addiction. It is not just people from bad areas who face substance abuse. He hoped to lift the negative stigma away from locals and encourage them to seek help for their addiction.

The pair said it took about a year to make the film, as both have day jobs. The duo encouraged local law enforcement and government to change current drug policies. Instead of spending money on prosecution and incarceration, they believe it should be spent on addiction treatment and prevention. Currently, addiction treatment center enrollment numbers are low. Data the Barnstable County Department of Human Services released in 2011 found that 2,808 Barnstable County residents were enrolled in a substance abuse program.

“Now that society is moving away from looking at it as a moral issue, maybe our policies should align with that,” Tarplin said.

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