O'Keefe troubled by narrative in new heroin docu

District attorney says "Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" only covers a "fraction of the universe of heroin addiction"
DA O'Keefe released a statement saying early abuse of marijuana and alcohol is also a path to heroin abuse. Facebook photo.

Two premieres for the new documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" were held this week--one in Boston and the other at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable. The Boston screening was held at the Revere Hotel and was attended by Governor Charlie Baker, fellow legislatures, state officials and members of the public. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe attended the Boston screening at the governor's invitation.

Although the district attorney applaudes the efforts of the filmmaker, he seemed to take some issue with the overall message of the documentary. On Thursday, Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe issued the following statement:

"This past Tuesday evening I attended, at the Governor’s invitation, the Boston showing of Heroin: Cape Cod, USA. 

Though I applaud the raising of awareness which may result from the movie, I am troubled by the narrative which seems to be ‘accident, prescription pain pills, abuse of same, then on to heroin.’ This is a fraction of the universe of heroin addiction. The most common path is the early abuse of marijuana and alcohol by kids who then progress through a lot of different drugs culminating with heroin or heroin/fentanyl. 

Next year we will face a decision in Massachusetts to legalize marijuana or not. The AMA and the Mass Medical Society oppose legalization. Yale Medical School recently did a study which reinforces the link between marijuana use and heroin. 

I respectfully suggest that if we think we have an opiate crisis now with four deaths per day in the Commonwealth, it will be much worse 5 or 10 years after we legalize marijuana. 

I urge all citizens to carefully weigh the negative impact on our public health and public safety which will result from the legalization of marijuana.”

The documentary, which was directed by Academy Award-winner Steven Okazaki, will debut on HBO on December 28. The film focuses on eight heroin addicts from Falmouth, all in their twenties, several of whom say their heroin addiction began with painkillers prescribed by a doctor. 

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