New Docu-Series Focusing on Stigma of Addiction Seeks Funding

New Docu-Series Focusing on Stigma of Addiction Seeks Funding

By Seth Ferranti 07/22/16

After losing five friends in a year to overdose deaths, Evan Goldstein was inspired to create a series that could educate the "unknowing world" about addiction.

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New Docu-Series Focusing on Stigma of Addiction Seeks Funding
via Evan Goldstein

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the stigma of addiction and how it can affect people going through the process of recovery. Behind Familiar Faces is a new documentary series from Evan Goldstein that aims to bring attention to substance use disorders. After losing his friend Billy Derr, only 24 years old, to a heroin overdose this past April, Goldstein started the project with his friend’s grieving mother, Jenny Derr. The project is currently on Kickstarter and has been very well-received, raising almost $15,000 so far.

“No one starts out a heroin addict, but a lot of times that’s where they end up,” Jenny Derr told 8News in Virginia. “The face of addiction isn’t a homeless person living on the street. It’s your child, my child, our neighbor’s child. You wouldn’t hide if your child had diabetes or cancer, so you got to shed light on a problem or you’re not going to eradicate it.” A welcoming view from a mother who just lost her son to heroin.

Billy Derr had battled his addiction since high school. He started out partying like most kids, drinking beer and smoking pot, but his immersion into the world of drugs and addiction progressed rapidly. He was soon using heroin. A stint in rehab helped Billy get clean, but only momentarily. His family and friends didn’t even know he was using again when he turned up dead on April 14 in his Boston apartment. Another overdose victim.

Billy Derr with his mother Jenny 

“I've had to bury five friends this year alone to overdoses, one of whom was my best friend, Billy, who had been sober for 2 years before falling off the bandwagon himself.” Goldstein tells The Fix. “He actually inspired me to start my own video production company and to go ahead and produce Behind Familiar Faces. His mother and I have been talking about ways through which the doc series could help open the unknowing world up to addiction and help those struggling, whether it be by losing a loved one or losing themselves.”

"In Loving Memory of Billy Derr" is the subtitle of the first episode. Behind Familiar Faces will open the door for those who want their stories of addiction and loss to be told and heard. Goldstein, after his own battles with addiction, has been clean and sober for nearly five years and he feels that de-stigmatizing the stereotypes of addiction is crucial for those in recovery. The Kickstarter fundraising campaign will be running for five more days. You can check out what Goldstein is doing and donate funds to the project here

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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