Picks and Pans Review: Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home
PBS (Sun.-Tues., March 29-31, 9 p.m. ET)
Unquestionably this 5½-hour presentation is a public service. Host Bill Moyers studies substance abuse from a number of angles—the struggles of individual addicts, the effects on their families, the modes of therapy and support, the work of scientists to determine the impact of drugs on the brain. Onscreen cues guide viewers to further information via the Web. And there are moments of deeply personal drama: "My alcohol told me, 'Cut your face,' " recalls a treatment center counselor, still scarred from her presobriety days. "You don't stop loving them," says a boy with heroin-addicted parents. It's understandable if Moyers on Addiction sometimes seems like an infomercial for the Ridgeview Institute near Atlanta, where the host's son William Cope Moyers was treated successfully for drug and alcohol abuse, and the Minnesota-based Hazelden Foundation, which the younger Moyers now serves as public policy director. And if the program occasionally reminds us of a telethon (without fund appeals), is that so bad? The longer it's on, the more people may tune in and find help. But the final segment on the politics of the "drug war" would be stronger if it covered a broader spectrum of policy options.
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