CUFFED? \ A FILM BY ANGELICA HESTER
They line up before the sun even begins to rise. Some of them have traveled an hour in a borrowed car, with just enough cash to buy the gas that will get them here and back. Many of them unemployed, on Medicaid and stuck there by shame. In the line stands a father, a mother, a sister and a brother, a son and a daughter. Most of them have someone who loves them, like me, fighting in their corner. They seem ill-equipped with the lack of information and dull tools used to fight a dangerous monster.
In there stands my father, huddled under a sign that says new beginnings or second chance or turning point. Some, like my father, would joke the real names of these facilities should be standing still or zombie-land or liquid handcuffs, popular terms used by people on methadone to refer to their addiction. This is the world of methadone, a synthetic opioid approved by our government as an analgesic or anti-addictive. It's an America sub-culture wide spread throughout the states that not many, at least not enough, seem to know about. A culture where some people live their days for the moment they can take their legalized synthetic opioid, and when the moment passes, go back to waiting again. A culture of men and women who some would say are merely being kept alive, but far from living. Though there are also many among them fighting for the moment when the urges will finally subside. Many who want to succeed but are not receiving the help they need. This is the story of CUFFED? a documentary film focused on addiction which explores alternative recovery through non-chemical paths such as Yoga and meditation.
In order to figure out why recovery is so difficult, we must first ask: What is recovery? Is it being on a substitute drug like methadone the rest of your life, or is full abstinence-based recovery possible? Through the stories of the real people battling with real addiction, living on methadone, and living completely clean, we explore the potential for a drug free life and a healthier rehabilitation process. In order to do so, we immerse ourselves in the culture of methadone. We examine the industry of rehab clinics and pharmaceuticals, the regulations or lack thereof, the street sales of diverted medication and abuse of methadone. We interview a range of professional experts that explain how Methadone works chemically to perform as a substitute to Heroin, Vicodin and other opiates (theoretically trading an addiction for a dependency in many cases). We will speak with clinic owners to understand how these facilities are run and regulated. We will hear the arguments of anti-methadone groups as well as pro-methadone groups to understand the way people are truly affected, for better and worse, by the existence of this anti-addictive. And we will witness firsthand a program developed for individuals battling to overcome their addiction without pharmaceutical substitutes, through abstinence-based recovery involving intense one-on-one therapy and Yoga.