CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A film that many feared would portray one Southern West Virginia community in a negative light is an accurate depiction of prescription pill addiction in the state, members of a panel concluded Tuesday night.
The West Virginia International Film Festival showed the documentary "Oxyana" to more than 300 people at the Park Place Cinemas in Charleston. The documentary focuses on Oceana in Wyoming County and the region's well-documented prescription drug abuse epidemic.
A three-person panel got together after the movie and discussed the film, which they agreed is a raw, emotional look at opiate addiction.
"It really hit home. It hit on all parts of being an addict," said Kelly Sizemore, a recovering opiate addict who is now a social worker. "The drug problem is everywhere today. It's not just in Oceana, it's in every small town in West Virginia."
Sizemore said a court-ordered drug diversion plan helped her quit an addiction to shooting up OxyContin. She's been clean for five years and is now helping families in similar situations.
The three-person panel included Sizemore, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin and Kim Miller, director of development for Prestera.
They focused on the message of "Oxyana" and how to help drug addicts get into recovery. The film features a handful of nameless residents talking about their struggles with OxyContin addiction.
"This film is as realistic as a person can get but it ends there," Miller said. "If only the people using drugs are shown then that is a sad image. They won't see that there is hope, that there is recovery out there."
Miller said Prestera often treats drug addicts for free. All addicts are different, she said, and it's a matter of finding the right program for that person.
"You don't have to have motivation," she said. "You can get into recovery kicking and screaming."
Some of the people depicted in the film discussed taking methadone, a narcotic substitute therapy drug, and Suboxone, a drug that curves opiate cravings.