April 29, 2016 | News

“The Hungry Heart” inspires at APNC Conference

By Raina Lowell | Burlington Labs Community Coordinator

Before coming to work at Burlington Labs, I was one of several individuals featured in the documentary film “The Hungry Heart,” which follows a northern Vermont pediatrician and some of the people he’s treating for substance use disorder. I was one of Dr. Holmes’ patients at that time, and I’m proud to say I was one of those who is now in stable recovery. 

A huge support to my recovery was coming to work for Burlington Labs in 2014, doing community outreach. The company was a major sponsor of the film when it was being produced in 2011, so I often have opportunities to speak about the film and to connect my personal story with the mission of the company I now represent. The Addiction Professionals of North Carolina conference in April was one of those opportunities.

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Raina Lowell (left) and Bess O'Brien (right) lead a discussion about "The Hungry Heart" at the APNC Conference.

Burlington Labs sponsored a screening of the film and a discussion afterwards with me and the film’s director, Bess O’Brien. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and there were many professionals who showed interest in bringing the film to their region.

The Hungry Heart has won many national awards, and people clearly recognize the film as an important piece of work that, among a myriad of other things, inspires addiction professionals and reminds them of the powerful impact they can have on the people they strive to help and serve.

Along with many other states, North Carolina is clearly looking to Vermont as a model to replicate in many ways. I had a number of inspiring conversations with treatment professionals who wanted to learn more about Vermont’s approach to the opiate epidemic. Questions focused around how Vermont is approaching the problem, funding sources, outcomes, recovery centers, and pros and cons of Suboxone treatment. I’m proud to see that my state continues to be a leader on this issue.

You can learn more about the film at thehungryheartmovie.org

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This article appeared in the May/June edition of our newsletter, TheBuzz.