You are currently browsing the daily archive for March 26, 2010.
The Pacific Cinematheque in partnership with UBC department of Psychiatry hosts a monthly screening of films related to mental health issues. I attended the screening of the British documentary Ben: Diary of a heroin addict. This is the story of an addict who documented his own life in a video journal format. His intention was to showcase a path to recovery. Unfortunately, Ben never completed his film and he succumbed to health issues which were a side effect to his addiction. He had filmed up until 36 hours before he died. The film takes you into Ben’s life as an addict, but also contrasts his human side. Ben was also a loving son, playful brother and uncle from a suburban home. He definitely was not the stereotypical street living heroin user.
Ben’s mother approved the use of the video, it exposes Ben at his worst, including injecting heroin into his groin. The film makes its point in showcasing the destruction of addiction. Even with what appeared as a positive support system around him, Ben struggled with trying to break free from the grasp of addiction. From a social activist perspective we know this type of story quite often, but we are always searching for other socio-enviromental constructs that surround the situation. In addition, there no instances where Ben was interacting with the system, ie no Doctor visits, consultations from advocates. It begs the question whether the family was trying to solve the problem on their own. And if so why? Was the system failing them?
Either way, for most outside of the Mental Health system it does point out that addictions can happen to anyone and in any socio-economic class. The common link is that the collateral damage affects everyone in the social circle, thus anyone can be an unintended victim to this horrible circumstance.