Healthy Youth Coalition addresses addiction


The Essex Healthy Youth Coalition held their second film event of 2015 to address the topic of the abuse of prescription drugs and subsequent opiate addiction.

A 90-minute documentary called “The Hungry Heart,” directed by Bess O’Brien, gives a voice to a problem that is prevalent in Vermont. The film is set in St. Albans and follows a number of families and people who have a connection to drug abuse.

O’Brien attended the April 8 event and conducted a question and answer session after the screening. O’Brien was accompanied by a staff member in the Department of Health and Essex Police Detective Chris May.

One of the event coordinators, Matt Whelan, who works as the Prevention and Wellness Director for Essex CHIPS, said that the film attracted a wide array of community members, including students, trustee members and people involved in the healthcare industry.

“This is the first time we have addressed this topic,” Whelan said.

Earlier this year, the Essex Healthy Youth Coalition presented the texting-while-driving documentary “From One Second To The Next.”

The group met on Tuesday to discuss the recent event.

Whelan said the group has chosen two strong films for their first events, but aren’t solely relying on movies to share information.

“We’re willing to host any type of creative event if we can spread knowledge,” said Whelan.

– Joe Cardello