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Vol. 25, No. 3

We’re Talking Human Lives Here

Jan Rader in conversation with Elaine McMillion Sheldon

by Jan Rader, Elaine McMillion Sheldon

“Open your eyes, talk to us. We’ll tell you what we did wrong. We’ll tell you what we did right.”

Jan Rader: There’s probably not a day goes by that somebody doesn’t come up to me and tell me a story. They come up and they say, “Thank you.” But what they really want is to talk about a loved one that is suffering or a loved one that they lost. I feel like Heroin(e) [and] your film Recovery Boys have given people a positive light in which they now have permission to talk about this horrible trauma that they’ve experienced in their lives. I don’t know why we stigmatize this so much as a society, but we have, and I hope that changes.

We have a whole population of people—not only in Appalachia, but in this country—that have been marginalized . . . people treated like second- or third-class citizens are not even treated human. I think that the film Heroin(e) and the way we are perceiving and treating people is giving them a voice, and it’s giving people permission to talk about this horrible problem that’s causing collateral damage.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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