CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The director of the Netflix documentary “Heroin(e)” says she created the film to “change the culture” of how America responds to drug addiction.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon, a Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker, talked about the film on Wednesday’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

“The people suffering from addiction range from people who were prescribed these for injuries to people who maybe have emotional trauma from things that happened earlier in their life that they haven’t dealt with. Also, it’s a depressed economy in Appalachia,” she said.

The 39-minute film takes place in Huntington. It features the viewpoints of three women — Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader, Cabell County Family Court Judge Patricia Keller and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministries — who are helping to battle the city’s drug epidemic.

Sheldon said Rader plays a key role in responding to the frequent use of heroin and opioids in the area.

“She leads a new cause to be more empathetic towards people suffering from addiction,” she said.

The film, Sheldon said, gives people a closer look at how addiction is handled from multiple angles including drug court verses prison time.

“Drug court works,” she told Trevor Noah. “A drug court participant costs $7,000 a year for one participant verses incarcerating them for $24,000 a year.”

Sheldon, who lives in Charleston, grew up in Logan County. She said the drug issue is personal because it’s affecting the entire state.

“I’m from West Virginia. I’m proud of my state and we struggle a lot. Unfortunately, we’re a drop in place for a lot of media to come in and tell America about all of our problems, but we also have a lot of people who are working to change those problems,” she said.

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

bubble graphic

bubble graphic