Like many families throughout the nation, Leslie Glass has seen the challenges of addiction unfold in her own family. But even if her children had never experimented with drugs and alcohol, she had a pretty good idea of what substance abuse could do to people. “Everybody knows what addiction looks like,” Glass said. “We have all seen that produced in movies and television series.” But as she led her daughter Lindsey through recovery, Glass hungered for different imagery, and when she didn’t find it, she made a documentary herself, the 2011 film The Secret World of Recovery.
The film, shot as Leslie and Lindsey traveled the country speaking with people about the recovery process, will be honored on Saturday by the American Society of Addiction Medicine with the organization’s annual Media Award. After its debut five years ago at the Van bezel Performing Arts Hall, the documentary has become a widely viewed film among others seeking recovery.
Glass figures the film also has earned the attention of the medical community now in large part to her and Lindsey’s other work for recovering addicts. Glass serves today as the founding CEO for the Sarasota-based Reach Out Recovery, the largest nonprofit recovery portal on the internet. The website shares personal stories of recovery and directs users to resources for fighting addiction.
But while the personal honor gratifies Glass, she most appreciates that more professionals identify substance abuse not simply as a social problem but a public health matter. She notes startling statistics, such as the 38,000 annual deaths from opiate abuse, a mere 11 percent of identified addicts undergoing treatment “Addiction is the No. 1 health issue in America, and it has been for a long time,” she said. “I think the press, the media and the world is beginning to understand and does not want to tolerate the number of deaths we have.”
The award will be given to Glass at the ASAM Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland this Saturday.