When Jennifer Wysong delivered her baby by C-section, she did not know that the painkillers her doctor prescribed would help ignite a years-long struggle with addiction.
Members of the Shatterproof team recently had the opportunity to attend the premiere screening of GATEWAY, a new documentary from our friends at Choices Matter, at Helen Mills Theater in NYC. The 40-minute film follows three families inadvertently impacted by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery. It provides an intimate look into the struggles that can be caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of these medications are not properly understood.
GATEWAY features a mother who lost her 18-year-old son to an overdose after initially being prescribed opioids following sports-injury related surgeries, a young woman who has battled opioid use disorder for over a decade, and a clinician who has made it his mission to reduce opioid prescribing after surgery. The documentary also features Shatterproof Ambassador Jennifer Wysong, who faced addiction for years following that C-section before achieving long-term recovery.
Following the emotionally powerful film, a panel discussion featuring the GATEWAY storytellers was moderated by recovery activist and author of American Fix, Ryan Hampton. The individuals shared the personal impact of this moving project and discussed ways to continue the fight against opioid addiction, including advocating for widespread use of non-opioid options to manage pain after surgery. Ryan Hampton, who is also in recovery from a decade-long struggle with opioid use disorder, provided his perspective on the film and discussed why we need to continue working together to develop comprehensive solutions to combat the opioid epidemic.
Through GATEWAY, Choices Matter hopes to raise awareness of the risks of opioid overprescribing and shine a light on how surgery can lead people down a path of opioid addiction and dependence. In fact, a 2017 report found that nearly 1-in-10 patients prescribed opioids following surgery went on to persistent opioid use, meaning they were still taking opioids three to six months after their procedure. Despite the availability of effective, non-opioid options to manage pain, research shows that patients continue to receive large quantities of opioids for postsurgical pain, placing them at risk for potentially severe downstream consequences including addiction or dependence.
GATEWAY provides a raw and honest look at opioid addiction through the stories of these inspiring individuals. We urge you to visit GatewayFilm.com to watch the full documentary. The website also features a Public Service Announcement (PSA), photos from the film and a social media toolkit to help spread the word.