I often write that we sidle away from problems and pain in communities under our noses, preferring instead to let struggles go unremarked. Filmmaker Sean Dunne happened across a West Virginia coal mining community thick with prescription painkiller use, dealing and trade and, now, wants to create a documentary film about it:
Oxyana is an unflinchingly close focus on the anguish and horrors of a community that the rest of the country would just as soon forget.
Prescription pills' effects are insidious because of their societal normalcy, addictions we see behind a particular mask of self-identifying shame and fear. Oceana, West Virginia has just this sort of terrible normalcy, so much so that the town is dubbed "Oxyana" for its dependence.
On his Kickstarter page, Sean explains his interest:
This subject matter is very near and dear to my heart. My father struggled with pain pill addiction for the better part of two decades. I saw it rob him of his career, his family, his friends and his dignity. This was a good, hard working family man who was over prescribed pain medication for a back problem and thus saw his life spiral out of control. I've seen too much of this. Too many talented people who have had their lives reduced to nothing but the pursuit of a magic pill. We were able to get my father help and he's five years sober now. Having traveled and seen what this epidemic has done to people really opened my eyes and I felt compelled to share some of these stories. The challenges that come along with a project like this are the hesitancy of people to speak about it. For something that effects nearly everyone there still seems to be an embarrassment factor that prevents people from talking about it. Hopefully our approach will help alleviate that a little and get them to open up and get their voices heard. I'm no saint, I'm just a guy who makes documentaries. This subject matter is personal to me and I just want to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.
Take a look at the teaser below and consider supporting the effort, highlighting troubles often forgotten.