1 IN 7
The United States is facing an unprecedented public health crisis regarding addiction. The stigma associated with the disease prevents many addicts from seeking treatment and diminishes the ability of their families and friends to support them. On a national scale, the stigma obstructs the mobilization of resources and policies that could serve to aid those in need and mitigate the devastation that ensues, in regards to individuals as well as families, communities, institutions and governments.
While a unified theory of addiction seems curiously seductive, it lacks utility. The variables for those afflicted are many and as unique as the lives themselves. Genetics, biology and psychology; unique upbringings and family dynamics; and access to education and community structures and support - or lack thereof - all play a role in when, how and why those predisposed - but not necessarily predetermined - to the disease may or may not become enthralled. They also affect these individual’s access to opportunities for recovery and, ultimately, redemption.
In an effort to better understand addiction as a biological and emotional affliction and to explore the multitude of ways it can manifest for millions of individuals across the United States, 1 IN 7 weaves one man’s personal struggles with depression and addiction and his experiences as a recovering alcoholic and substance abuser - explored over the course of his cross-country run from New York to Seattle - with the lives, stories and circumstances of a range of other Americans living with or affected by the disease.
The film also focuses on and emphasizes ways in which our society stigmatizes some forms of addiction - drug use being a major one - while championing other, perhaps more privileged forms such as achievement and consumption - including major challenges like the run.
The film humanizes the experience of addiction while compelling us all to work to better understand the deeply personal struggles of those affected, ultimately calling attention to how we can better support this community of people biologically beholden to an illness.