Somerville Community Group Connects With Local Teens To Break Down the Stigma Associated With Addiction

Somerville,MA- Last night Somerville Overcoming Addiction, a community group devoted to battling the substance abuse epidemic locally, held a screening of the documentary “The Anonymous People” for the kids at Teen Empowerment.

The film THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE is a feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Deeply entrenched social stigma and discrimination have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The vacuum created by this silence has been filled by sensational mass media depictions of people in active addiction who continue to perpetuate a lurid public fascination with the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition. Just like women with breast cancer, or people with HIV/AIDS, courageous addiction recovery advocates are starting to come out of the shadows to tell their true stories.

“These kids really seemed to get it.” Says SOA member JoAnn Rivieccio “Our society’s views on addiction and the stigma associated with it are beginning to change. But we still have a long way to go, and we believe these future community leaders will are key to lifting the stigma of addiction and ultimately help save the lives of those who need it but may be ashamed to reach out.”

The post film discussion also included an overview of the Good Samaritan Law in the hopes of spreading public awareness about the potential life saving law. The Good Samaritan Law went into effect on August 2, 2012. The 911 Good Samaritan law provides protection from drug possession charges when an overdose victim or an overdose witness seeks medical attention. This law helps reduce overdose deaths by removing barriers to calling 911 for medical assistance, a crucial step in saving the life of someone experiencing an overdose.

The legislation does not protect individuals from being prosecuted for other offenses such as drug trafficking or weapons charges. This also does not protect individuals with outstanding warrants nor would it interfere with law enforcement protocols to secure the scene of an overdose.

“We think it’s important to educate teens on this law. Many of us have children, it’s hard to imagine somebody just leaving your child to die out of fear of arrest.” said Rivieccio The main thing is that if you suspect someone is overdosing call 911 first no matter what!

If you would like to co-host a screening of The Anonymous People with Somerville Overcoming Addiction please feel free to contact them at

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