A new documentary having its world premiere at the SOHO International Film Festival on May 19 and May 21 at the Village East Cinema in New York City is called THE FIX, which follows Junior, a young father trying to turn his life around after years of heroin addiction, as he joins forces with a group of fellow Hepatitis-C-infected former users in the Bronx to fight the disease in their community.
Knitting personal narratives together with a profile of innovative programs at a methadone clinic, the film explores the concept of storytelling as an instrument of change and gives a powerful voice to marginalized members of society.
Directed by Laura Naylor, THE FIX really brings to the fore the issues faced by Hep-C patients, as this group finds medical help with a one-year methadone treatment program. However, many of the ex-drug users only learn that they have Hep-C, which is basically an inflammation of the liver, once they start the program.
Junior, who abused heroin and all other manner of drugs for about 18 years, is now aged 34 and ready to set his life back on track. He has obstacles, is sick, but finally gets help to become well. He had had a daughter at the age of 18 and she is now 16 years old. However, he hasn’t seen her since she was six. He was too caught up in the drug game to even begin to care for his daughter. “I was a special dope fiend, and I kissed my syringes in the morning, because they were still there,” he said.
Now, he is committed to living drug free and has been clean for a bit, even though living in a shelter with his wife and his toddler daughter. He has had a taste of sobriety, and is very committed to taking care of his family and “having time” for his daughter. He missed out on this with his first child, he says, and it is so important for him to be the role model that his young daughter needs. As he continues to receive medication for his habit, he is also studying to be a peer educator for Hep-C patients.
Throughout the program, Junior and his fellow patients participate in spoken word performances that work to help them talk about their pain and share their stories, which in turn helps them and others who have the same backgrounds and struggles.
Other patients in the group include a woman who knows she will eventually need a liver transplant and has seen so many of her friends die. She is not sure if she wants to live any longer than God has planned for her.
Another male patient had been in 68 different detox programs, after having used drugs for 35 years, but this program at the Albert Einstein Center in New York helps him.
All are triumphant in the end, and Junior is really a winner, after so many years of losing. I loved THE FIX; it was a great first-person account about addiction when, according to the documentary, more people are living with Hep-C than with HIV/AIDS, but the latter gets more attention. For information about screenings for THE FIX, visit http://www.thefixdoc.com/