Documentaries are known for revealing parts of people’s reality that previously have been hidden. A compelling documentary often covers serious issues that have greatly affected the lives of many people. In the case of the documentary “The Hungry Heart,” the subject matter is the secretive amount of prescription drug abuse that goes on in the state of Vermont.
Vermont Hides A Secret
When people think of the low-key state of Vermont, they don’t usually think about prescription drug abuse. Vermont is known for its scenic beauty and a down-to-earth lifestyle, but the documentary “The Hungry Heart” reveals that St. Albans, Vermont is hiding a secret. Bess O’Brien is the director and she has also directed other acclaimed films, such as:
- Journey into Courage
- Where is Stephanie
- Here Today
- Shout it Out
Seen Through The Eyes Of A Pediatrician
What’s unique about this documentary is that it is seen from the point of a view of a pediatrician who works at St. Albans hospital. Dr. Fred Holmes is the pediatrician and besides working with children on their health issues, he also helps treat them for their addiction to prescription drugs.
Apparently, young people becoming addicted to prescription drugs in the St. Albans, Vermont area has been growing for years. The drug problem has gotten to the point, where a group of dedicated adults have come together to start finding solutions to the issue. These adults include teachers, parents, and even other addicts who are in the process of recovery.
Finding The Root Of The Problem
The adults of St. Albans, Vermont realize that drug addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Instead of seeking to immediately condemn the youth for abusing prescription drugs they are trying to educate and start conversations with them about what a destructive, long-term problem prescription drug abuse can be.
The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
And it’s not only St. Albans, Vermont that is having this problem, the abuse of prescription drugs has been called an epidemic because of how prevalent it now is in the United States. In fact the problem has become so bad, that even the president of the United States, Barack Obama, said that they were going to set future initiatives to fight the abuse of prescription drugs.
At the heart of helping young people appears to be acknowledging their individuality and listening to their stories. “The Hungry Heart” is an ambitious two-year project that tries to tackle and find solutions for this issue. Created with the funding of $200,000 dollars, the documentary connects kids with recovering drug addicts, who can provide much needed mentoring and guidance about the pitfalls of addiction.
Addressing The Fall-Out
The documentary also seeks to document different layers of a complex issue. It also interviews the people who are most affected by the fall-out of prescription drug abuse. This includes the teachers, the parents, and the family of addicts. The fall-out of addiction includes fragmented families, financial ruin, and eventually a society in tatters. The financial, emotional, and physical costs of prescription drug abuse have far-reaching consequences that are hard for a young person to understand.
“The Hungry Heart” documentary seeks to de-stigmatize the struggles young people have with prescription drug abuse so that they can find solutions to the problem. Oftentimes young people need adult guidance and attention, but don’t know how to seek it out. Dr. Fred Holmes is a compassionate man who shares a special connection with young people. Dr. Holmes often prescribes drugs like suboxone to patients to aid them in their recovery. But what is the center of the film is the human connection that Dr. Holmes establishes with his patients. Sometimes human compassion and conversation can yield a great amount of healing for those who feel alone.