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Oceana residents upset with documentary's message

May. 09, 2013 @ 12:45 PM

OCEANA, W.Va. (AP) — Some Oceana residents are upset over the portrayal of their southern West Virginia town in a documentary about prescription pill abuse.

The film "Oxyana" chronicles the lives of townspeople addicted to Oxycontin. Filmed by Sean Dunne, it was part of the lineup at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in March.

Spurred by the film, residents have organized a town hall meeting on May 31 at Oceana Middle School to share ideas on fighting pill addiction, The Register-Herald (http://bit.ly/10ksj90) reported.

"We want to give our residents a chance to showcase themselves and the town and give the region, and possibly even the country, a different look at what the real Oceana is," resident D.J. Morgan said.

Morgan challenged the accuracy of statements from some people interviewed in the documentary, including a man who claimed half of his graduating class had died from drug overdoses.

"We're not naive," Morgan said. "We know there's a drug problem in central Appalachia, but we also know the problem's not just Oceana. That's why we're trying to include all the leaders in our area. The prescription drug problem encompasses all the communities in central Appalachia.

"We're hoping by getting a town that's motivated from this documentary, coupled with getting our leaders into this area, maybe we can formulate a plan, take our region back and start implementing steps to effectively deal with this prescription drug problem we have."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia has the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.

Dealing with the problem starts with greater interaction with law enforcement agencies, Morgan said.

"Having the community involved is always helpful for law enforcement, because if the community feels welcome to give them tips and speak about the problems they're seeing, that can only help the cause," Morgan said.