Question & Answer
with Kathleen Weiler
Kathleen Weiler is the writer/director/producer of Substance of Denial and is owner of KW Video Production, specializing in local, independent television in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Read her full bio.
As you began your research for this documentary, was there anything shocking or surprising that came out in the process?
- Two years ago when I began the research for Substance of Denial, the media attention was focused primarily on Club Drugs – in particular the drug, Ecstasy. Stories filled television newscasts and newspaper headlines as reporters attempted to explain the latest teenage and young adult craze centered on the club drug, Ecstasy and its popularity of all night dancing to loud Techno music at Raves, and the use of glow sticks, candy necklaces and pacifiers to intensify its effect. As time went on, I found that substance abuse goes far beyond a particular substance, event or party. What surprised me the most is how incredibly widespread substance abuse is in Utah and how much denial exists. I think that is because as a society, we tend to think of drug and alcohol users as individuals representing certain socio-economic, religious, or racial profiles. The fact is, however, the average substance addict in Utah is 31 years old, white, male and LDS.
What challenges did you face in making the documentary?
- At the onset of the project, my worst fear was that I would be unable to find individuals willing to talk to me about substance use and abuse in Utah. I worried that my initial investigation would provoke suspicions conjuring up images of an undercover narcotics detective ready to reveal the underbelly of society. Instead, I found a tremendous need and willingness to talk about substance abuse from concerned parents, substance abusers, addicted users receiving treatment, and experts in the field.
What do you want viewers to gain from this documentary?
- We all know that drugs have always been and will continue to be around. There is so much money involved in drug trafficking to make them go away anytime soon. What I would like viewers to come away with is an understanding that substance abuse is very real and widespread in Utah. Substance abuse generally begins at an early age and can often lead to addiction that needs treatment. Unfortunately substance abuse carries with it a huge stigma that society often tends to ignore hoping that others will fix the problem. What we need to understand is that substance abuse when it becomes an addiction does not happen overnight. It is a progressive disease that should be viewed and treated much like other chronic, relapsing diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.