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Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis

An investigation of the opiate crisis following the stories of the people it has impacted in a small Michigan community.

  • Garret Morgan
  • Keith Schnabel
  • Garret Morgan
  • Garret Morgan
  • Keith Schnabel
  • Sammi Schenkel
  • Garret Morgan
  • Wagner Koop
    Music Composer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    57 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 25, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival
    Bay City, Michigan
    United States
    September 30, 2017
    Worldwide Premiere
    Audience Awards: Fest Best
Director Biography - Garret Morgan

Michigan-based Editor, Videographer, Motion Graphics Artist, and award-winning Documentary Filmmaker. Alumnus of Ferris State University.

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Director Statement

In May of 2016, Keith Schnabel and I began work on our first feature-length film – an intimate look at the heroin epidemic in our homes, Bay and Saginaw Counties. We just didn’t know it, yet. McLaren Bay Region had contracted us to create short, educational films for local schools. The project happened to involve interviewing medical professionals with first-hand experience dealing with the heroin epidemic. In the process, we realized that people we knew from the community had been hurt by this crisis. So we kept digging. With assistance from friend and filmmaker Sammi Schenkel, we formally interviewed nearly twenty people, with law enforcement, press, medical professionals, educators, and numerous personal accounts of addiction. There was simply too much to tell about the crisis’ impact on our community in just a few short videos. This had to be a feature.

Still, I’m not sure any of us knew how to tell this story for quite a while. It wasn’t until late into production, after having spoken with a number of people in recovery, that we recognized the key to unraveling this epidemic: stigma. The amount of public shaming our interviewees dealt with was horrifying and only served to feed their isolation and illness. Educators, law enforcement, and medical professionals all seemed to agree that stigmatizing addiction was counterproductive at best. Thus, our film and title, “Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis,” was born.

To defeat the opioid epidemic, we must defeat stigma. Our hope is that Stigmatic will not only illuminate the suffering that opioid addiction and its stigma have inflicted on our community, but highlight the efforts our neighbors have taken to solve it.