Columbiana Co. filmmaker hopes documentary sheds light on heroin crisis

Joshua Menning_519770

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – While communities are looking for answers to the heroin crisis, one local man is trying to help in his own way — by spreading hope.

Filmmaker Josh Menning grew up in Columbiana County. He remembers seeing the photo of a couple in East Liverpool overdosed in a car with a child in the backseat.

That’s when he knew that he needed to do something.

“You start to hear the stories — everyday people, people who live down the street, have good homes, and they just started making some decisions that weren’t the best,” he said.

So, Menning started making a documentary, “Gateway to Hope: Overcoming Heroin.”

He began asking the questions that many of us are asking, too.

“It’s taught me a lot about the whole heroin epidemic because I had a different perspective than I do now,” he said. “I just thought, you know, it was their choice. They made a decision, got addicted, and it’s their problem, really.”WATCH: 27 Investigates – Heroin and Opioid Crisis

Over the course of a year and a half, Menning talked with former addicts and first responders in East Liverpool. It gave him a different perspective on the issue.

“What I’ve found through doing this documentary is there are a couple different types of rehab different clinics using suboxone and methadone, basically other drugs to try to combat the drug problem, but I found that doesn’t really work,” he said.

From his research, Menning thinks that good options are faith-based rehabilitation centers.

“There’s something more filling that void, instead of more drugs to combat the issue,” he said.

He found former addicts whose lives changed completely through these centers. By sharing their stories, Menning is trying to spread hope that you can break the cycle of addiction.

“Whenever you have the chance to reach out to somebody — whether through a documentary or just helping them out — then you just really show them the love you have in your heart, and in turn, hopefully, they continue showing that love to others,” he said.

You can watch the documentary starting Friday, March 16.

It premieres at the Columbiana Main Street Theater, at 5 N. Main Street.

Tickets are $15.


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