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Audiences are 'Overtaken' by Documentary About Teens and Prescription Drugs

Two Laguna Niguel mothers recently held a second screening of their film about the drug epidemic sweeping Orange County in hopes of raising awareness and saving lives.

Some would say Laguna Niguel residents Jodi Barber and Christine Brant are saints but the women aren't after sainthood. Their goal is to create awareness about a spreading problem—prescription drug overdoses.

In Orange County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, young people between the ages of 15 and 25 are not only becoming addicted to prescription drugs, they are overdosing on them faster than a parent can say Oxycontin or Opana.

In an effort to educate teenagers and parents, the women have worked tirelessly for almost one year to create Overtaken, the powerful 28-minute documentary made for high schools across the country about the prescription drug problem. The short film consists of several young adults sharing their heartfelt stories about their own drug problems, as well as candid interviews with emergency room doctors, and rehab counselors. 

The was a huge success, just as the first was, as more than 300 people—young and old—came out to see the film. Many left in tears and were clearly moved by what they saw.

"It was one of the most powerful films I have seen and it really made me think about what's going on in our communities," said Sherri, a teen as she exited the film.

Her friend, Meredith, added, "I've had friends hooked on prescription drugs and it's frightening and heartbreaking to see them go down that road. I think this film should be shown in every school across the country."

According to Barber, who lost her own son, Jarrod, 19, to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2010, "Overdosing is occurring in record numbers. There have been more than in those ranging in age from 15 to 25 in the last three years in South Orange County. It is an t now.”

Both women set out seven months ago to begin making the documentary when Brant contacted Barber after seeing one of around town; the posters display photos of local teens who have died of prescription drug overdoses. Shop owners around the city have them posted to their windows, also hoping to send Barber's message to the masses.

"Christine offered to help in any way possible," Barber said. "We teamed up and brainstormed ideas on how to spread the message. We thought a documentary would be the best way to educate the kids.”

Both women say that first and foremost, they want the film to be seen in local schools, but hope Overtaken will eventually spread to schools across the country.

“It is not just about saying 'no' to drugs. We need to educate teenagers about what is really out there,” Brant said.

CC October 25, 2011 at 01:25 PM
The community is welcome to join us for a special showing with guest speakers this Thursday, October 27th at 6:30 Dana Hills High School
Linda Altergott October 25, 2011 at 03:10 PM
This is more than a documentary; it is a lifeline of hope to end the needless pain that is insidiously overtaking loving families everywhere. If you think this couldn't happen to someone you love, you could be wrong! I strongly recommend you watch this film and urge others to do the same.
Valerie Burchfield Rhodes October 25, 2011 at 05:13 PM
I believe it is equally important for those families fortunate enough to have kids who aren't using drugs to attend these types of events so they can learn how to recognize and support their friends and fellow students suffering from addiction.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 25, 2011 at 06:27 PM
CC: I think this is an important film that everyone should see.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 25, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Linda: You are right and it is happening in our own backyard. Parents should not take a blind eye or that attitude of. "Not my kid." Jodi and Christine have done an amazing job.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 25, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Valerie: I agree, this is an important film that parents, teens, young kids and just about everyone should stop and watch. They need to make the time.
Jodi Barber October 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Thank you Debbie and Barton for the awareness you are bringing through the interviews and taping of Overtaken. I appreciate this very much! Well done!!
CC October 26, 2011 at 12:52 AM
Valerie- You are100% correct - I have 4 kids all who have not been on drugs but i chose to make this film because it is so important to educate our community on the #1 killer of kids 15-24 Christine
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 26, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Jodi: I have known you for a few years now and you are truly an inspiration and a wonderful human being. Chris, too.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 26, 2011 at 02:58 AM
CC: Everyone needs to see this film and both you and Jodi are remarkable women.
Jodi Barber October 26, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Debbie, I thank God for the opportunity to have met you and became a blogger for the Patch to get the word out that Prescription Pills Overdoses started becoming an epidemic in the past few years. You and The Patch Family have been wonderful and I'm so very grateful to be a part of The Patch Family! Thank you!
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 26, 2011 at 04:32 AM
Jodi: And we at LN Patch are honored to have you. You are one of our most popular bloggers!
Jodi Barber October 26, 2011 at 05:11 AM
Awww, thank you and I guess that's a good thing, because people are getting educated and are concerned!!
Marilee October 26, 2011 at 04:48 PM
This is a great article and adds another tool for parents to talk with their children about the dangers of prescription drugs. Jodi and Christine have done a wonderful job bringing awareness about the problem of prescription drugs. I have already forwarded the article to many of my friends, co-workers, teachers, and children with a note for them to spread the word and talk with their kids. The more we share the dangers of this addiction we have the potential of saving many lives. Thank you, thank you!
Sandy Barker October 27, 2011 at 03:52 AM
I am so proud of you both (especially my great friend Jodi) for taking this horrific tragedy and doing something vitally important with it. I pray all of your tireless efforts will stop kids from taking that first drug. You both are honoring your sons legacies by doing this. I know they are so proud of you too!! (((HUGS))), Sandy Barker
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 27, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Sandy: Jodi and Chris are true inspirations!
Kate April 25, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I actually saw this, and I'm a teen, and it really touched My heart and changed my way of thinking. I hope they show it at my school soon :)
Jodi Barber April 25, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Awe, I'm so glad it helped you! What school do you go to? I will work on that! You can also mention to your friends that this Saturday Overtaken is in the Newport Beach Film Festival being held at noon at the Triangle Square Theater in Costa Mesa! They can purchase tickets online at newport beach film Fest .com. Keep making those good choices!!! Thank you, Jodi
Kate April 25, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Jodi- I believe that we watch it in our health class at school according to one of my friends, but the first time I saw it was at The Crossing in Costa Mesa, and I really thought it was amazing. Also, thank you for the information on the festival, I'll try to spread the word :) -Kate

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