Local Documentary about Opioid Crisis Vies for Award

In television programming, there is no greater award than an Emmy. It goes to those the television industry deems to have achieved excellence in that medium. And whether winners receive it on a national or regional level, one principle applies. An Emmy is an Emmy.

Are you wondering what a reference to the Emmy is doing in this space? The answer relates to a piece of recent local news from Reno’s Gazette Journal. It all has to do with a documentary made by a graduate of Reno’s Fenley High School. Those responsible for it entered it into the competition for a regional Emmy. And it won the nomination. The title is a window to the content – “Prescription for Hope: Overcoming Nevada’s Opioid Epidemic.”

This 29-minute video is hard-hitting and true to form. It chronicles the lives of several Nevadans. They all have something in common. They have been affected by opioids, either directly or via loved ones. The theme is the battle to overcome opioid addiction. Along with loss, another sentiment stands out. Hope.

Al (Alphonse) Polito received his diploma from Fenley in 2001; from there, he went on to study theater and journalism at the University of Nevada. Although his goal was to be an actor, he moved into the behind-the-camera end of the business. And he formed Three Sticks Productions in 2017.

Credits for the documentary go to that firm and Polito as director and producer. He told the Gazette Journal: “It was an honor to help tell these powerful stories of Nevadans by shedding light on the opioid crisis that is sadly affecting many Nevadans.” He added: “We’re thrilled that ‘Prescription for Hope’ received an Emmy nomination and that it has helped raise awareness about the epidemic.”

How This Opioid Epidemic Documentary Came About

opioid epidemic documentary

In 2018, Governor Brian Sandoval launched an initiative, designed to reach all residents within the state. The thrust of it was simple and clear – bring attention to opioid addiction. What would help get the message out? A video. The Nevada Broadcaster’s Association agreed to air the piece statewide. Then it set out to find additional talent to bring the project to fruition. And they tapped Polito to help and do so in record time.

Filming started in June 2018. Within the span of two months, the process came to completion. “It’s a wrap,” in industry lingo. Timing was not the only element of urgency with which the crew had to contend. Polito strived to make the video both honest and impactful.

To get things going, Polito first needed to find contacts who would agree to go before the camera. He asked around in Reno, where he hails and lives, as well as Yerington. He also inquired at the governor’s office. His looked for a cross-section of people – different ages, genders and circumstances, yet touched by opioids. Two cast members are in recovery, including one who is on the path to becoming a drug counselor.

The documentary aired throughout Nevada in both English and Spanish in August 2018. It is available for general viewing on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRmM2rLWCjA.

“We’re grateful to Governor Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nevada Broadcasters Association for entrusting Three Sticks Productions to create this meaningful documentary,” said Polito. “We have so much respect for the people in the documentary that let us into their lives and bravely shared their stories so that we could help inform others about this issue and create an inspiring message of hope for those in need.”

The vice president of the Nevada Broadcaster’s Association also weighed in for This Is Reno. He explained: “This [Emmy] nomination would mean nothing if the message was not heard loud and clear that the opioid epidemic is real and it’s up to us to stop the stigma and lead towards recovery.”

On that Note about Recoveryrecovery begins at desert hope treatment center

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