The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

June 15, 2012

‘Oxyana’

— You are now entering Oxyana.

Population: Dwindling.

There’s no question the prescription drug abuse epidemic is dragging southern West Virginia down.

It has taken countless lives and affected thousands of others.

Documentary filmmaker Sean Dunne recently talked to The Register-Herald about his current project, “Oxyana,” which will detail the devastation that pill abuse is having on our area.

It is scheduled to be a feature-length film.

While still in production, the completed project will, at the very least, shine a new light on the ghastly subject — not that there is anything wrong with that.

We, as West Virginians, need to get over the fact that outsiders only come here to exploit us or to further expound on negative stereotypes about our beloved state.

No, sometimes there is a true, though sometimes appalling, story to be shared.

One that needs to be told.

Dunne says, “We’re serious. We’re not looking to make fun of anybody. We’re looking to give a voice to people that don’t often get heard.”

If it helps expose the problem and helps create a solution, that would be a great service to our area.

The arts are at their best when they provoke thought and bring about positive change for communities and society.

Dunne said he wants to “spark some dialogue about this issue.”

He can count on that.

Dunne and a friend were in the Oceana and Pineville areas doing preliminary interviews in January and April and plan to return to Wyoming County this year, with a target release date for the film in December.

The filmmakers are looking to hear from anyone who is willing to share their story for the film.

“We have gotten a lot of positive stories on camera,” Dunne told The Register-Herald. “We have gotten people who have never touched drugs in their lives and have lived very positive lives in that area. I’ve heard from people that were once addicted, who found ways to get clean and stay clean while in that area. Those cases, unfortunately, were the minority. We really want to give a fair and accurate portrayal of this town.”

For more information on the film or to volunteer to share a story, send an e-mail to Dunne at oxyanafilm @gmail.com.

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