WGBH’s programs have impact well beyond broadcast and NOVA’s Addiction is the latest example. Since it aired in October, the documentary has been the centerpiece of nearly 100 screening events across the country, helping raise awareness and understanding of the science behind the disease, and furthering the dialogue about potential solutions to the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history. The film is providing vital information not only to the families and communities most affected, but also to legislators, law enforcement and medical professionals seeking ways to address the crisis—from embracing evidence-based treatments to rethinking public policies.

Last month an audience of more than 200 community leaders, public health officials, academics, and members of the public attended a screening and discussion at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where they heard from a panel of experts from organizations including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Closer to home, this month Massachusetts House and Senate members who are leading policy efforts on the epidemic hosted a screening at the State House. Members of the community gathered with the lawmakers and a cabinet official to view the film, and engaged in an in-depth discussion featuring experts on treatment, harm reduction, and recovery from Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston Medical Center; the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery; and the Boston Public Health Commission. The discussion surfaced concerns and ideas for steps that can be taken locally.

WGBH continually seeks ways to maximize the impact of the work we do. These community screenings, both large and small, are helping to further our mission of fostering dialogue on critical issues. “The conversations have been powerful as those affected share their stories, and that is moving others not only to understanding, but to solutions,” said John Bredar, Vice President of National Programming for WGBH. “Ultimately, our hope is to raise awareness, combat misinformation and empower the public to better understand the science of addiction so they can make informed decisions.”

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Screening of NOVA Addiction at the Massachusetts State House.
Kristina Gaffny