Roxy at the opening of Lead with Love Documentary at The Gem Theatre Submitted

BETHEL — “It’s one thing to fix the system that deals with addiction, but why not fix the system that causes people to need drugs in the first place?” Bethel resident and ex-addict Jeffry Givant says at The Gem Theater after the viewing of the documentary, “Lead With Love.”

“Lead With Love” follows the stories of three women from Maine whose lives have been affected by opioids. There are many common themes among the three woman, the main being all three had been through trauma at a young age.

“I think one of the biggest things that can be said is people find healing through finding their voice, and thinking they don’t have a voice or they can’t be heard or that no one cares to hear them, is one of the biggest things that make people afraid to speak out,” says Bethel born Roxy Kai-Petrovich, volunteer leader with Maine People’s Alliance. “Never underestimate the power of a single person’s voice. Because when we all come together and use our voices, you can’t ignore that.”

In the documentary, which can be viewed here, one the women talks about wanting to escape the racing thoughts in her mind. Another woman talks about how after a traumatic experience, she felt so worthless, she began using.

“First and foremost, I believe all human beings are addicted to distraction,” says, Patrick Babcock, Foundation House owner. “It is the nature of the mind. The mind is addicted to distraction. Addicts and alcoholics when in active use, seek connection with themselves, the world around them, through the use of chemicals in hopes to quiet their mind and control the uncontrollable distractions. On the flip side, the recovery process takes a tremendous amount of effort and faith. It stresses encouraging interpersonal connectivity, which is the opposite of addiction.”

Seventy percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whether  antibiotics, antidepressants, or opioid painkillers. In 2020, Americans spent $500 billion on prescription drugs from the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma).


Back to the beginning. In 1980, a New England Journal of Medicine stated that of the 1,882 hospitalized people who were prescribed opioids, only four became addicted. However, there was no evidence to support this information. Another letter was in rotation stating the drugs were only addicting if used in recreation, according to Doctors kept on prescribing. The first wave of opioid related deaths hit in1990. The third wave hit in 2013.

Chemical vs people power?

Babcock describes a coin with two sides. “On one side chemical dependency is more powerful. It is a power greater than ourselves. Albeit a negative one, of course. If left untreated it is undefeated. If not managed properly it will win by tipping the scales of the coin in its favor. On the other side of the coin is a program of recovery, which has as its foundational basis a strength and power superior to that of chemical dependency. When that side is engaged, it ultimately tips the scales in its favor, thankfully.”

Where from here?

“Incarceration is not working,” says Kai-Petrovich. “People are going to jail and they do not have the resources there that educate people, or make them feel safe or heard and then people are being released right back into same environment and you cannot heal in the same environment that you got sick in.”

According to, “LD 1675, sponsored by House Assistant Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland), changes Maine trafficking laws by requiring prosecutors who pursue felony drug trafficking charges to, instead of determining whether someone is a “dealer” based on the amount they are arrested with, actually prove a person intended to sell the drugs. Another law, LD 994 introduced by Rep. Genevieve McDonald (D-Stonington), removes criminal penalties for possession and exchange of hypodermic syringes.”

“One of the people in the film had mentioned people won’t get help until they’re ready to get help and that’s one of the hardest things to understand,” says Kai-Petrovich. “But never underestimate the power of planting a seed in someone’s mind so they can remember a name and say, you know what, I can reach out to this name when I am ready.”

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