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Drugs & Health Blog

Behind the Curtain of the Addiction Performance Project

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Poet and playwright T.S. Eliot said, “A play should give you something to think about.” That’s exactly what happens with a new NIDA project—called the Addiction Performance Project. It illustrates the emotional toll drug addiction takes on people and their families and gets the audience to talk about it.

At a recent performance, award-winning professional actors, including Debra Winger, performed a dramatic reading of Act III of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day's Journey Into Night. Based on O’Neill’s own family, this play shows how, over the course of just 1 day, a family can fall apart when addiction rules over it. In this family, the mother is addicted to morphine and starts abusing it again, and the father and sons, who are alcoholics, drink to cope with her relapse.

By putting a human face on addiction, the Addiction Performance Project helps break down the stigma—or discrimination and judgment—associated with this disease. The Addiction Performance Project reading is followed by a discussion with scientists, doctors, and medical students on the challenges and opportunities in treating people who are addicted to drugs.

Watch the video below to see snippets of the Addiction Performance Project, performed here by Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother) and other actors.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


ok first of all anyone can sit there and play a script but untill you actually get out there and do the stuff your selves keep your comments to your self. yeah i agree drugs are bad... but marijuana is not a drug... yeah the "government" says it is a drug but come on really since when is a plant a drug? oh sorry co co plants produse the main ingredients for cocaine... "main ingredient" see... you have to ad stuff to it and do things chemically before it is ready for "use". when is america going to realize that marijuana is an industry capable of billions of dollars in profit... and it has many more uses than just smoking... the plants fibers are stronger enabling the possibilities of making stronger rope, better paper, and fasion. and as far as your "gate-way" theory goes... studies show that alcohol and nicotine have higher chance in causing hard drug use than marijuna does. plus the main income of the drug cartel is marijuana... the legalization of marijuana would cut down on the rate of violent crime... the one thing we can learn from history is that we cannot learn from history... hello america... prohibition spawn the mob and many other organized crime gangs. and what happened when it was legalized again... crime rate decreased dramatically... and if it becomes legalized where will the cartel get there money for weapons. cocaine, pills, meth? well i will tell you that meth is becoming increasingly worse over time because you can use simple household products. police are uncovering more and more meth labs each and every year so th cartel really dont get much from meth... pills? well i could go to the doctor right now and say i have headaches and i can get painkillers or i can just say hey my back hurts oh ok well here have some somas... these things are the real problem in america not marijuana. i dont know about anyone else but when u have kids and marijuana is still illegal and increasingly hard to get and your son/daughter wants to experiment like all teens have a tendency to do and gets ahold of coke or ice then maybe you will think hey maybe marijuana isnt such a bad thing.

Mary-Jane activist,
I do agree with you that marijuana is not a "drug" as one would typically classify it. For myself though, being that I am a drug addict, I just can't smoke it. While I don't have a problem with ANYONE who smokes marijuana, I do have the problem that it leads me back to real drugs, including heroin. In a way, it is a gateway "plant", lol.
I've got an article on my site Sober Nation about gateway drugs and if they exist or if its a myth. I say yea, they exist. I'd love to hear mja comment on it, and I would really love to have the owner of this blog comment to let us know of the thoughts. We've got a great community, and a lot of my followers really like this blog as well. Thanks guys! [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Well ok i agree that... THIS TELLS ME NOTHING!!

Thanks for finally writing about Behind the Curtain of the Addiction Performance Project. Loved it!
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