• Melissa Rosales

‘From My Heart To Yours’ documentary about opioid crisis in Somerville premiere

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

Published for The Somerville Times August 7 2019 Issue

Link to story: http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/93185

Click her for newspaper copy.


From My Heart To Yours, a documentary education project screened for the first time for the public on July 31 at VOX POP, Somerville Media Center’s summer community arts and events space. The documentary is a collaboration between the City of Somerville’s Health and Human Services Department and the Somerville Media Center.


“We wanted to talk about it [the opioid crisis] because we’ve known that it’s impacted Somerville to such an extent, over the years since the early 2000s,” Matthew Mitchell Preventions Services Manager of the City of Somerville Dept. of Health and Human Services said.


The producers of the film described From My Heart To Yours as not an exhaustive look at the opioid epidemic, but rather tackling it in a critical lens locally and nationally. The collaboration started a year ago when the Health and Human Services staff reached out to the Somerville Media Center about the project. The documentary took five months to film with constant creative direction and advisories from the Health and Human Services Department.


“The goal is just to let a diversity of perspectives and experiences resonate with people, especially with this topic of opioid epidemic that I think it touches a lot of people’s lives personally and professionally,” said Erika Jones director of Institutional Advancement at Somerville Media Center and producer of the film. “We’re just trying to provide one unified perspective from this documentary about what people have gone through and how people are trying to raise awareness.”


The film talks about the medical effects of opioids, drug companies’ liabilities, racial bias within the issue, and more. Elizabeth Addison, Boston artist and composer and person in recovery is also featured in the film.


“Addiction does not discriminate, right? No matter your walk of life, no matter your socioeconomic background, no matter your race, no matter your gender. No matter your sexuality, your religion, it does not discriminate,” she said in the film. “I think that what I’m finding problematic with the way addiction is being represented right now is that it looks primarily like a white affluent problem, right? This is true, but it needs to be afforded to all the people struggling with addiction, not just a certain view.”


Mary Cassesso from Cambridge Health Alliance said she liked the film. “It was short. It’s a start of a conversation.”


After the screening, a discussion panel was set up. The panel included Addison, Stuart Roelke, filmmaker of From My Heart To Yours, Maryanne Frangules from Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), JoAnn Rivvecio from Somerville Overcoming Addiction, and Patricia Contente director of the community, outreach, health and recovery (CORE) program at the Somerville Police Department. Mitchell moderated the panel.


“What steps can our community take now to keep people safe and stop preventable deaths?” Mitchell asked to the panel.


“I would just say that to keep talking to keep sharing our stories,” Addison said. “People are becoming more open, especially us in recovery, to share our stories. I think through sharing our stories we connect and we heal. That’s what connection is a big part of this disease, when you want to feel connected. So just to keep keep talking, keep talking about it.”


To learn more about future film screenings, contact Matthew Mitchell at (617) 625-6600, ext. 2570 or mmitchell@somervillema.gov.