Film Delves into the Shame and Blame around Addiction and This Deadly Public Health Crisis

August 25, 2017 — Saint George, UT — ​There are few subjects which have struck like a knife in the heart across the United States than the opiate epidemic and the lives lost to it.
Dying in Vein, The Opiate Generation, which will screen at the DSU DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival, is a deeply personal exploration of opiate and heroin addiction through a cinéma vérité style that drops you directly into the lives of an addict in recovery, a couple trying to get clean, a family grieving the loss of their son and an Emergency Room Physician trying to save one patient at time. Through these stories, Director, Jenny Mackenzie, explores the contemporary belief of ‘living life pain free’ and the shame and blame that exists around addiction. The film looks at the impact of socioeconomic class on our broken treatment system, and how a group of emergency care physicians are working to save their patients from the opiate crisis. MacKenzie will host the film and participate in the Q&A after the screenings.

“Through community outreach and engagement, we hope that Dying in Vein will bring awareness and understanding to this deadly public health crisis,” said MacKenzie. “By breaking down stigmas and misconceptions, and bringing addiction out of the closet, more people will have access to the resources they need to get well. We are grateful to DOCUTAH for giving us the chance to screen this important film to its audience. In 2017, we hope to have screened in over 100 communities across the United States.”

This month, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare has pledged to reduce by 40 percent the average amount of opioids prescribed per acute pain prescription at its 22 hospitals and 180 clinics by the end of 2018. Intermountain is the first U.S. health system to formally announce such a significant and specific amount of reduction as a target.

“Patients with acute or chronic pain conditions will still be able to get the medications they need,” said Doug Smith, MD, associate medical director for Intermountain Healthcare. “We will ensure patients have access to the full range of options to manage pain.”

Intermountain will introduce new tools and policies for its caregivers to reduce the number of opioid tablets the organization prescribes by more than 5 million annually.

“Currently, nationwide, providers tend to write prescriptions for more opioids than patients need, and large quantities of the medications are often left over after the need for pain relief is past,” said Dr. Smith. “We will follow best practices in prescribing so the medications prescribed more closely match the needs of patients.” Some studies have shown that two-thirds of all opioids misused and abused come from family members or friends.

Jenny Mackenzie, Ph.D. is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her documentary films, educational videos, and Public Service Announcements bring awareness and social change to a wide variety of issues. Jenny is also an inspirational trainer and speaker who captivates and motivates audiences across the globe.

More information about all the films included in this year’s DOCUTAH Festival, special events and ticketing may be found at

DOCUTAH celebrates the art of documentary filmmaking, connecting Dixie State University and the community to the world. DOCUTAH offers a unique, entertaining International Documentary Film Festival and year-round programs providing creative, cultural, and educational engagement. (read more)