Survivors is about America's ongoing opioid crisis.
This morning, 200 Americans woke up not knowing that today will be their last day. They will die of opioid overdoses. Tomorrow, another 200. Five years ago, that number was 91 per day. About 80% of heroin users started their addiction with misusing prescription opioids. And only 4-6% of those misusing prescription opioids turn to heroin, which means that there is still a huge population throughout the nation that can potentially become heroin users. Meanwhile, the economic cost of the nation's biggest public health crisis is substantial: according to the most recent statistics, the total cost due to a combination of labor loss, public resource consumption, and deaths as outcomes of opioid disorder is 504 billion dollars each year. As a reference, the country of Belgium had a 2018 GDP of 562 billion dollars.
The more urgent aspect of the crisis is that American youth is being severely impacted as well. Around 1.3 million, or 5.1%, of adolescents ages 12 to 17 need treatment for substance use problems. And yet only 6.3% of those who needed treatment received it. In high schools, the statistics are much higher: 21.7% of students have been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school premises in the past 12 months.
We are making Survivors to bring awareness to the situation. It's to not only spread information about the crisis but also guide people towards a correct understanding of the crisis. Unlike the popular myth, it's not just the lowest among our society that is involved in drug usage. As a matter of fact, many of those affected by the crisis are (or were) middle-class families. And it is precisely this population that's been the most vulnerable in this current crisis.
Under this grand narrative, there is a more intimate and personal reason for us to make Survivors.
We feel it is part of our obligation to do what we are best at - making films - to address this issue and prevent more families from going through the horrible and painful experience as a result of drugs. We believe that Survivors will be a powerful tool in educating the public on the true scale of the crisis in an intimate way.