Film Tells Gripping Tale, Challenges Stigma

In 2016 more Americans died from overdoses than in the entire Vietnam War conflict.  And yet those new casualties are rarely considered victims of disease.  With the support of Rep. Ann Kuster, (D-NH), Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, the documentary film “Written Off” is challenging conventional thinking about addiction.

The film chronicles the life of Matthew Edwards, a Crandon High School graduate, whose addiction to opioids began at age 15, after being prescribed pain medicine for a minor surgery.  His grippingly honest writing reveals the secrets he tried so hard to conceal throughout a decade long struggle to escape addiction. Matthew’s mother, Jane Funk, currently a teacher at Crandon High School, published the book “What I Couldn’t Tell you : one Man’s Struggle with Opioid Addiction” in June of 2017 and worked with filmmakers Molly Hermann and Rob Lyall on the “Written Off” documentary.

Every day, there’s another story about the opioid epidemic, another overdose, another mug shot.  But these stories often work to reinforce the stigma of addiction instead of humanizing it,” explains filmmaker Molly Hermann, who wrote, directed and co-produced Written Off.  “Matt didn’t want to do drugs but he didn’t know how to get out.  That struggle is right there in his own words, he chronicled every cc and milligram that went into his body and every dollar he shelled out to get more, all as he tried desperately to get clean.”

“We know this film is already making a difference – we hear from people who see it that it made them recognize the addiction of a family member for the first time. We think it can reshape the national conversation about opioids and we are running a national Impact Campaign to bring it to communities across the country,” says Co-Producer and Director of Photography Rob Lyall.

The Community Coalition of Forest County, with the help of its partners, will be hosting screenings of the documentary Written Off at different locations throughout Forest County. Please watch for advertising of the screenings in the coming weeks. Our first screening, in conjunction with the Mole Lake Coalition, is scheduled for Sunday, April 22nd at the Sokaogon Chippewa community Rec center beginning at 3:00 p.m. The screening is recommended for ages 14 and up.  Admission is free and no registration is required.

At these screenings, there will also be a mock “Teen Bedroom” set up for anyone over the age of 18 to view. This mock bedroom will contain items or clues that are “hidden in plain sight” that might indicate drug or alcohol use. For more information about “hidden in plain sight”, visit

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