“The Anonymous People” screening slated for Jan. 22

Penn State Berks will host a screening of the film, The Anonymous People, which highlights the addiction recovery of more than 23 million Americans, on Thursday, January 22, 2015, at beginning 6 p.m. in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium. A panel discussion will follow. This event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. To reserve a seat, visit: cocaberks.org/people.html.

The Anonymous People is a feature film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery and the emerging public recovery movement. It features interviews with former congressman Patrick Kennedy, award-winning actress Kristen Johnston, and former NBA star Chris Herren, as well more than 30 people in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction who are making the courageous decision to speak out publicly.

According to the filmmakers, the film questions why the United States has criminalized and too often given superficial treatment to a chronic illness ? addiction. As a result, addiction now comes with an annual price tag of $350 billion. The American approach has put most of the burden of long-term addiction treatment on anonymous, free, 12-step programs. Those programs have done a good job but no other health problem is treated this way.

In addition, the culture of anonymity in these programs, while it has protected individuals from stigma, has also unintentionally perpetuated false perceptions of people with addiction ? as the public does not see how often people recover.

?This film is not your tired old addiction story often seen on reality television or in the news,? said film producer Greg Williams. ?There are no needles hanging out of people?s arms, pictures of the brain, or fried eggs in a pan. We set out to find the answer to one very fundamental question: Why don?t we treat addiction in this country like any other health issue??

This film aims at transforming public discourse in much the same way that activists once decided that an honest open discussion had to take place about topics such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, and being gay in order to spark widespread change.

The Anonymous People is produced and directed by Greg Williams and written by Aaron Cohen, Greg Williams, Jeff Reilly, and Bud Mikhitarian.

The film is brought to Berks County by a collaboration of Council on Chemical Abuse, Recovery and Me, and Penn State Berks.

For additional information, contact Christa McCusker at 610-413-9646 or via e-mail at [email protected].