How’s Rob Reiner on addiction? Well, if you judge by the legendary director’s recent appearance at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) International Convention in Boston, he’s as honest and as candid as can be.

Why? Because Reiner’s been personally stricken by addiction. And he's also put it on the big screen.

The film’s called Being Charlie, which educates audiences about the realities of opioid addiction and sheds light on the stigma associated with the disease. It’s also a testament to how the opioid crisis affected Reiner himself.

As reported by BIO, Reiner directed the film based on a screenplay co-written by his son Nick Reiner, based on the latter’s struggle with addiction. In between clips of the 2015 feature, Greenwood and Reiner discussed the film’s personal nature, Nick’s and his parents’ struggles, and the medical and societal forces that can be an impediment to recovery.

Reiner said that they first realized their son Nick was having problems with drugs when he was 14 years old. “If you’re a parent of a child who experiences this … you really don’t know what to do,” he said. “All I kept thinking was ‘I don’t want my kid to die.’”

For more than half a decade Nick was in and out of rehabilitation, a process reflected in Being Charlie and one that both Reiners approach with earned cynicism. “To send him away at age 15 was traumatic,” Reiner said.

More Than Medicine

Medicine alone cannot address all the challenges of opioid addiction, said Richard Pops, CEO of the biotech company Alkermes. “We know that to have the most significant impact we have to be part of a broader solution.” That includes science and medicine but also the patient’s point of view, and the patient’s family’s point of view.

We at both Recovery Boot Camp and the Schnellenberger Family Foundation couldn’t agree more. Our best chance at long-term sobriety is if we integrate the treatment between the addict and the family.

You can see highlights of the interview with Rob Reiner on addiction in this WCVB clip. The Being Charlie trailer lies below.

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