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WOUB Presents Drug Court Documentary in Athens

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November 12 screening is free and open to the public 

ATHENS, Ohio – Most know that Ohio has drug courts in many counties across the state that are specifically designed for people with substance use disorders. Drug courts offer those individuals the opportunity to enter long-term drug treatment and agree to court supervision rather than receiving a jail sentence. However, what many don’t know is how personal, intensive and life changing the drug court program can be for participants. A documentary to be shown in Athens next month through a partnership with WOUB Public Media chronicles one year with several of those individuals in three Ohio cities, including Logan. The powerful, hour-long documentary is called Second Chances: One Year in Ohio’s Drug Courts and was produced by Ohio Government Telecommunications.

“This film is unique in that viewers learn about drug use directly from the defendants, judges and court staff. Those living through this crisis every day are the experts on camera,” said Edward K. Miller, director of the Ohio Supreme Court Public Information Office, which commissioned the film.

Miller also called it a rare deep dive into the workings of drug courts.

“It’s enlightening to watch individuals open up about this their personal journeys. The documentary shows their successes and failures,’ he said. “It shows ordinary people fighting to get their lives back, with the court system as their ally.”

The documentary was the idea of Anne Fife, a video producer for the Ohio Government TV who works under contract for the Ohio Supreme Court. She and her team filmed in the three featured communities from August 2016 through July 2017.

Fife and her crews ventured into uncharted grounds in three counties, and at the beginning she didn’t know what to expect. “One thing I took away from this long project was not to give up on people,” she said.

WOUB Director Tom Hodson will host the screening event and moderate a post-screening panel to talk about drug addiction in our region and how programs like drug court are battling the issue. The panel will include the Ohio Supreme Court Manager of Specialized Dockets Monica Kagey, filmmaker Fife and WOUB News multimedia reporter Aaron Payne, who has covered the opioid crisis in this area.

“With the struggle our region and state is facing when it comes to addiction, WOUB thought it was important to bring this documentary, which showcases individuals from Logan and Hocking County, to the region and expand the dialogue on approaches to lead our friends and neighbors down a path toward recovery,” said WOUB Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo.

The “Second Chances” documentary screening event will be held Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Schoonover Center Room 145 at Ohio University. Doors will open at 6. The screening is free and open to the public.

“We hope many from the court community in the region will attend this screening. We also think Ohio University students and those working in the fields of public affairs, mental health, social work, law and medicine would benefit from seeing the documentary and listening to the panel discussion. Students studying communications and documentary filmmaking are also encouraged to attend,” said Russo.