CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The controversial documentary on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Wyoming County made its West Virginia debut Tuesday night to a capacity crowd at Park Place Cinemas.
The screening of "Oxyana" was followed by a panel discussion of the state's drug abuse problem and how to tackle it.
The West Virginia International Film Festival sponsored the event and festival organizer Emmett Pepper served as host and moderator.
State Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin, Kim Miller of the Prestera Center for drug treatment and recovery and Kelly Sizemore, a recovering opiate addict and advocate for drug recovery, made up the panel.
Bill Webb, a Huntington resident, posed the first question to the Benjamin.
"We have known for at least a decade that people who are mandated to treatment in the long run do as well as people who go voluntarily," he said. "So I was wondering if there were any plans to expand rehabilitation within the jail system itself."
Benjamin said that a law, recently signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, called 'Justice Reinvestment' aims to help former convicts who are recovering addicts be placed into supervised treatment programs.
To combat recidivism, ex-convicts in the program are assigned a supervisor who oversees their treatment and monitors their progress.
"If you take a person who's coming out of punishment and just drop them off into society, they're going to go right to where they began," he said. "It's a wonderful start for West Virginia I think."