SMACKED! film screening coming to Syracuse


An award-winning documentary, “SMACKED! Heroin Addiction and Recovery in Rural America,” and blue-ribbon panel, will explore the opioid crisis from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, November 8 at the LeMoyne College, Campus Center, James Commons, 100 Springfield Rd, Syracuse, NY 13214. A town hall-style meeting, open to the public free of charge — will consist of a 65-minute film screening followed by a panel discussion with opportunity for Q&A. This program seeks to explore the opioid crisis, revealing how stigma surrounding addiction affects recovery. Success stories are depicted, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Jessica Vechhione, and area recovery professionals and others to better understand recovery initiatives in Central New York.

“Addiction is a disease much like high blood pressure or diabetes, as our understanding and compassion increases, help is being found and solutions sought for those who find themselves struggling with an addiction to opioids,” says program coordinator, Lauren Davie, Central Region Addiction Resource Center.

Matt Whitman, Executive Director, Cortland Area Communities That Care Coalition, adds, “There are no socio-economic barriers to addiction. More and more are dying from addiction every day, across Central New York and beyond. Education and open discussion with health care professionals, people struggling with substance use disorders, their families and the general public is vital.”

“Smacked!” earned Best Picture at the 2018 New Jersey Recovery Film Festival and was named an Official Selection of the 2018 New Hampshire Film Festival and of the 2018 REEL Recovery Film Festival in Los Angeles. Filmmaker, Jessica Vechhione feels that “documentaries, such as SMACKED, can serve as ‘ice-breakers’ so that interested community members can come to the table, broach a discussion, and find solutions to problems.”

To register vist the Cortland Area Communities That Care Facebook page.

Panelist Moderator:
Matthew Whitman, Executive Director, Cortland Area Communities That Care Coalition collaborates to address the growing opioid epidemic in Cortland County. They enhance existing efforts such as the annual medication disposal events, increasing access to Narcan, creating countywide awareness campaigns, and developing stronger partnerships with physicians and local law enforcement agencies.

Project Coordinator, Lauren P. Davie, Central Region Addiction Resource Center (CRARC), serves both community members & professionals in the field of Substance Use Disorders (SUD). The goal of CRARC is not only to reduce the stigma around the disease of addiction and substance use disorders by bringing prevention, treatment and recovery support providers together, but to also give parents, siblings, friends, and other community based providers in the central region access to the resources available in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, & Oswego Counties.

Award-winning videographer, Jessica Vechhione, of VeccBrowne Productions has carved out a niche for herself in the Catskills, helping individuals, businesses, and organizations connect to others and define their brand by telling their stories on film. Vechhione’s documentaries facilitate discussion on important issues and give participants tools that help them to form opinions.

Director of Behavioral Health Services at Crouse Hospital, Monika Taylor, is dedicated to improving substance use disorder treatment for women, and individuals with co-occurring disorders and other disadvantaged populations. Her current efforts include advocacy on the local, state and federal level for treatment on demand. A licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) with over 20 years work experience including direct clinical care and a variety of administrative roles, Ms. Taylor holds seats on the boards of Elmcrest Children’s Center, Prevention Network and the NYS Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers.

Oswego City Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division Commander, Lieutenant Zachary Misztal, and his fellow officers, participate in the City of Oswego’s REAP program (Rapid Evaluation for Appropriate Placement) launched in April 2018. People struggling with substance use disorders can enter the Oswego Police Department building for screening without facing any criminal charges if they’re willing to turn over their drugs. Police can then facilitate that first phone call to medical services or recovery programs outside of incarceration. The REAP program also allows parents or guardians to request a police officer to a specific location to help intervene with a child under the age of 18 who is suspected of drug use. The REAP program launched through an agreement with the Oswego County District Attorney’s office is coordinated between the police department and the Farnham Family treatment organization whose motto is Hope Starts Today!

Ashley Dailey serves as the Family Support Navigator at Prevention Network. In her role she provides addiction education, insurance advocacy, and treatment referrals for individuals and families struggling with addiction. Ashley currently serves 5 counties including Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland, Madison, & Cayuga. Ashley has worked in social services for over 7 years and understands the importance of connecting people to the appropriate resources necessary for strengthening individuals, families, and the community.

The doors open at 5:30pm. Parking in Lot C on the LeMoyne College campus is suggested. Light refreshment will be available.

The event is sponsored and presented by Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Le Moyne College, VeccBrowne Productions, Cortland Area Communities that Care Coalition and Central Region Addiction Resource Center.

To learn more about how to prevent Rx drug abuse and addiction, visit

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