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Oscar Nominations Salute Portrayal Of Addiction In Hollywood


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – British actress Naomie Harris has picked up her very first Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film Moonlight, in which she plays a mother addicted to crack.


The movie is said to portray the power of addiction: a disease that can rip apart families and destroy childhoods. In one scene, Harris’ character assaults her teenage son, Chiron, when she approaches him demanding cash to feed her addiction. It’s a reflection of the family disease we know all too well at Vertava Health. Addiction can transform the most attentive and loving parent into someone desperate for the next high at all costs – even putting the own child in harm’s way.


The opioid epidemic itself killed more than 33,000 across the country people in 2015 – meaning, on average, 90 people each and every day lose their lives to opioid addiction. That’s 90 families suffering a loss. Crack is not at all innocent in overdose deaths across the country either. In the Appalachian town of Huntington, West Virginia (population 49,000), CNN reports that local health officials say one in four residents are hooked on heroin or some other opioid. In other words, in the one town alone, nearly 12,000 people are addicted to opioids. Sadly, these figures contribute to West Virginia’s ranking of the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation (41.5 per 100,000).


We are likely to see more roles in Hollywood sprout from America’s drug epidemic. Art, after all, imitates life. We’ll be rooting for Moonlight on Oscar night, February 26th. We believe that awareness is key to breaking the stigma and bringing real changes to individuals, their families and our communities. Our hopes are that the movie raises the bar to shed light on a disease that impacts people from every socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity religion and background. It is also our hope that as production companies tackle the issue, perhaps we will see more of the other side of addiction: A life full of hope, recovery and promise.


If you’re interested in learning more about Moonlight, watch the trailer here.

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