‘A Hit of Hell’ aimed at helping with epidemic PDF Print E-mail

A daily trend for Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk got his attention.

 

He said he would look at the Obituaries in the newspaper and each time he did, he would see the names of young people that were being prosecuted in Harrison County.

Schalk said seeing those deaths, most caused by overdose,  became an alarming ritual that had to be stopped.

“(The daily overdose deaths) are not a win for the state,” Schalk said. “We got sick and tired of the unnecessary overdose deaths and realized we had to do something. We wanted to be proactive and educate the public and maybe preventing some of these deaths.”

One of the steps Schalk took was producing a documentary called “A Hit of Hell.”

The raw documentary is an inside look into the problem facing Harrison and many other communities in Southern Indiana -- drug addiction.

Inmates, who are addicted and families of some of the incarcerated men and women are interviewed in the documentary.

They share stories of how addiction started and the horrible roads they have had to travel on to get through it.

One of the more moving moments of the film is when a Harrison County parole worker is asked if any of the people she works with because of addiction are over the age of 40.

“No!” she answered.

The film makes it clear that the reason no one is over 40 is because without help, those addicted to Heroin don’t make it to 40.

“We wanted it to be a real, in-your-face look, and that’s what it is,” Schalk said. “A lot of the people we interviewed were in jail at the time we interviewed them. We interviewed people who have lost loved ones and the stories are very real and emotional.”

Schalk said “A Hit of Hell” is on the opposite end of the approach taken to combat drug abuse when he was in school.

“When I was in school we had the DARE program, and not to be critical, I am just not sure how effective it was,” he said. “Kids were wearing ribbons on their shirt, again it was well-intentioned, but I don’t think it reaches the level of effectiveness we need to reach in order to combat this epidemic.”

Since the documentary debuted earlier this year it has been on the move, according to Schalk. He said his initial plan was to make sure every high school student in Harrison County saw it, but realized early on that wasn’t soon enough.

“It soon became apparent from talking to some of the addicts that high school was actually not soon enough and we needed to make sure the middle school kids were seeing this,” Schalk said.

The video has had a great response.

Schalk said schools from several different counties have reached out to him wanting to show the video, as well.

“Hopefully, they find the message of the documentary to be powerful and if we can stop one kid from starting to abuse pills, that is a real win for the state,” he said.

Schalk did the documentary with the help of a Corydon-based company, “Digital IT.”

The documentary was funded entirely from drug money taken off the streets.

“That’s a little bit of sweet irony that the drug dealers are paying for an anti-drug documentary,” Schalk said.

Most young people in Harrison County have seen the documentary, and those who haven’t, likely will.

Schalk said he has been contacted by school corporations in other counties and he will do all he can to get it to anyone who wants to use it.

In addition to showing the documentary, Schalk said he also includes a panel discussion with people in the video, and with some of the Harrison County inmates, as part of the program.

“We want the kids to see what a pill addiction looks like in person and how some of the people affected by it got started,” he said. “We extend an open invitation to any school anywhere who wants to watch it or be part of it.”

Schalk said not only does he want to get the attention of the young people, he also wants to get the attention of adults in the community.

“Whether we want to admit it or not, we are losing an entire generation of young people to this Opiod addiction,” he said. “We need to make some effective changes immediately!”

For more information about the documentary visit www.hitofhell.com or contact the Harrison County prosecutor’s office.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:33