The film begins with a young, clean-cut man lying in bed, staring at the ceiling.
“Day 14. I dreamt about you last night. How you smell, the way you feel, what it would be like to wake up in your arms,” he said. As he showers, eats breakfast, and goes to work, his voice-over mourns his lost love.
“Honestly, I spend my whole day trying to convince myself I’m doing better without you,” he says. “That I’m not awkwardly stumbling through life on the same two left feet.”
As I watched this handsome young man grieving for a lost love, I was endeared to him, rooting for him. So when he picked up the phone to call some friends who quickly arrived at his apartment, I smiled.
But by the end of the four-minute, film-style PSA, we find out the lost love he’s longing for is not another charming 20-something.
The piece is entitled, “Dear You” and was written and produced by actress Kathryn Prescott, star of several TV series, including “Skins” and “Finding Carter.”
Prescott was inspired to pen the PSA, which she produced in association with Homeless Health Care of Los Angeles after watching close family members and friends struggle with opioid addictions. “We tend to put people suffering from this addiction in a negative, oversimplified, and stereotypical light,” she says, noting that teens and young adults are one of the fastest growing demographics of the opioid epidemic.
Prescott hopes that her short film will help soften the stigma around opioid abuse.
“We want to increase empathy and make addiction less of a taboo subject, and we want to help increase awareness of the fact that no one chooses to be a heroin addict,” she says.
“We also want to show what it’s like inside the mind of someone going through this or trying to recover,” says Prescott. “We’re hoping to raise awareness, but also deter people from trying these drugs in the first place.”
Prescott also aims to increase awareness of the availability of Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Prescott first became aware of Naloxone while working with Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, an organization that has saved hundreds of lives by providing Naloxone kits to the public.
“I became very good friends with a young man whose mother saved his life twice with Naloxone. He got clean and helped me develop the script for ‘Dear You,’” she says. The film’s website offers resources for those struggling with opioid abuse, including a map of places where Naloxone kits can be purchased.
Addiction isn’t a moral issue—it’s a health issue, says Prescott. Too often, we judge and criminalize addiction rather than offering empathy or assistance, as we might with any other health problem.
While the PSA will be screened on college campuses to target teens and young adults, Prescott hopes it will be viewed widely by all demographics. “Sometimes addiction looks like a choice,” she says. “And we hope this does something to dissuade that view.”
Author: Lynn Shattuck
Image: Video Still
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton