WRL film screening, discussion tackle heroin epidemic

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

Addiction is a painful topic to address, but local nonprofit SpiritWorks Foundation is teaming up with the Commonwealth Attorney General’s office to foster such critical dialogue with a free film screening and Q-and-A presentation at the Williamsburg Regional Library.

Released last year, “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” relays stories of addiction and recovery from across the state. The documentary is part of a larger effort from Commonwealth Attorney General Mark Herring to fight the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.

In Virginia, overdose deaths climbed 77 percent between 2012 and 2016. Roughly four out of five new heroin users report using prescription pain medicine prior to their first heroin use, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“At this rate, we are poised to lose an entire generation,” the Rev. Jan M. Brown, founder and executive director of SpiritWorks, said in a news release. Her nonprofit organization focuses on addiction recovery efforts in the local community.

From the Commonwealth Office of the Attorney General, Director of Legislative and Constituent Affairs Brittany Anderson and Community Outreach Coordinator William Shackleford Jr. will introduce the film and lead the follow-up discussion alongside Brown.

“This is a problem that affects all of us,” Brown said.

Want to go?

The screening of “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St. Admission is free.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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