Friday, December 02, 2005

HBO's Methadonia Stigma Strikes Again

National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
Press Release

Contact: Joycelyn Woods MA-CMA
(212) 595-NAMA/6262

For Release: December 1, 2005

New York

HBO's Methadonia Stigma Strikes Again

On October 6, 2005 HBO premiered a "so-called" documentary called "Methadonia" directed by Michel Negroponte. To give you an idea of the tone of the movie here is the Press Release from its premier at the New York Film Festival September 23, 2005.

The 43rd New York Film Festival
September 23 - October 9, 2005

Sponsored by Sponsored by HSBC Private Bank, a division of HSBC USA, N.A., The New York Times, and Audi.


DV camera in hand, filmmaker Michel Negroponte takes us on an eye-opening tour of the borderland of recovering heroin addicts on methadone maintenance-a place where the seasons run together into one long rainy spell between an oblivious past and a receding future. There's Millie, who after 28 years of drug use now counsels recovering addicts; George, an ex-rocker dreaming of making a fresh start; Susie and Eddie, trying to take control of their lives before their new baby arrives; and Steve, a charming, formerly homeless man out to prove that rehab is possible. Weaving the stories of these and other lives together, Negroponte lays bare a system that seemingly offers addicts a way out of their affliction while in fact the treatment itself often becomes another kind of trap. 88 min. USA, 2005 An HBO Documentary Films Release.

Shown with Victoria Para Chino (Cary Fukunaga, USA/Mexico, 2004, 14 min).

One of NAMA greatest concerns is that this movie will become the definitive documentary on methadone because it confirms all the myths and misunderstandings. Therefore hoping that HBO would at least issue a disclaimer prior to the showing NAMA hand delivered a letter to their corporate offices in New York. If you saw the premier you know that no disclaimer was issued and HBO's reply to our letter was disappointing. HBO did not even have the consideration to contact NAMA regarding our concerns and only sent a form letter that was typical of a corporate response that said that feel they have no responsiblity in the response of family, friends and communities who view the movie. We are dissapointed as we hoped that HBO would at least attempt to repair some of the damage they were doing.

Read Nama's Letter to HBO

Read HBO's Response

What Can You Do?

Write to HBO

Tell them what you thought about the film. If you have a personal experience because of the film include it in your letter. (i.e. family and friends now want you to withdraw from methadone as that was the message in the movie, community used the film to block the opening of a clinic, etc.)

Home Box Office
1100 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036

MOST IMPORTANT Send a copy of your letter to the PRISM Awards.

These are awards given by the entertainment industry to recognize educational projects. We do not think that HBO deserves an award this year or in fact for many years considering the damage they have done.

PRISM Awards
Entertainment Industry Council
10635 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste. 100
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Send a copy Of your letter to HBO to SAMHSA and include a note asking them to issue a public statement about "Methadonia".

All the major professional organizations involved with methadone treatment have sent a letter to HBO and/or issued a press release with the exception of the federal government. While usually the government does not issue statements about such issues NAMA believes that in this case it is important. And since the government is involved with the PRISM Awards it becomes their responsiblity to issue a statement.

NAMA has sent a letter requesting a public statement and SAMHSA may need a little encouragement from patients and professionals.

Mr. Charles Curie, Administrator
1 Choke Cherry Road
Rockville, MD 20850

Below are some links to visit including the HBO Message Board where you will find a discussion about the movie and I would advise that as many patients and professionals as possible visit it.


HBO Message Board
Robert Newman's Letter to HBO
HBO Synopsis
Interview with Director Michel Negroponte
Download AATOD Press Release (pdf format)
Methadone Anonymous Support Forum (Negroponte visited the Forum 10/24/05)
Negroponte MA Forum Thread
The PRISM Awards

Originally Posted: October 20, 2005

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