I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but over the past year or so I've been working with the development team, through the Salem Athenaeum and Salem YMCA, on a project called Stories of Substance. The idea was to craft a stage play using young actors, based on true stories of addiction and recovery, to try to educate young people of the dangers of opioid addiction early. The hope is to intervene and educate early and build a better sense of empathy so more people can avoid addiction if they can, and escape it if they haven't.
The play was performed Monday night (June 5th) in Salem, a sort of proof of concept so that it can eventually be made available to schools and other programs for their students to perform and watch. The cast was phenomenal. So proud of the work they've done.
I'm credited as the playwright, but it feels a little strange--I might have put the words down on paper, but it was a collaborative of writers who worked together to generate the concepts we needed and structure we wanted, and almost every line is inspired by true stories told to us by brave young people who were wiling to share their own stories of substance abuse and recovery with us.
Boston's WBUR's the Artery ran a story on it this morning. Hopefully this will help get the word out to schools who need this sort of programming to reach their students and build better understanding.
Teachers or other educators: if you're interested in learning more, contact me privately through the Contact link at the top of this page. I can put you in touch with the right people to get more information to you.
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.