NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The opioid crisis has deeply affected people across the nation and Tri-State Area.
More than 70,000 opioid overdose deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention in 2017. That number is likely much higher this year.
While those numbers are tragic, there’s now a different take on the impact the drug crisis is having.
It’s from a 7-year-old girl, and it’s a moving point of view, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
While we usually look at opioid overdose from the perspective of the victim – what demons drove them to get addicted and eventually to overdose – what we sometimes forget is that an overdose has a profound effect on everyone around them, like 7-year-old Layla Borras.
“Most of the people in my family do drugs. They want to get better but they’re struggling and just can’t get better,” Layla said.
It’s a moving an surprisingly matter-of-fact admission from Layla. It comes in a documentary from producers Ken Spooner and Mike Mee.
“Life With Layla” tells the story of the 7-year-old New Jersey girl who is surrounded by a family struggling with drug abuse.
Layla lost her aunt to a fatal heroin overdose. She and her family try to stop her uncle from going down the same tragic path. But it was Layla’s relationship to her aunt that comes through as the driving emotion behind Layla’s quest to protect her family.
“I miss her a lot. My whole family misses her,” Layla said.
The film shows us how Layla deals with the loss of her aunt Melissa, sometimes celebrating, sometimes brutally frank and sometimes what sounds like “get over it.”
“Layla calls this Melissa’s party, but she gets mad if people cry. She tells me to stop crying,” said Cait Borras, Layla’s mom.
“She OD’d. She choked on her own puke,” said Layla.
The documentary won best New Jersey film at the recent Montclair Film Festival and the producers hope to show it to high schools around the state to drive home the widespread impact and tragedy of opioid abuse.
A screening will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Click here to learn more.
The loss everyone feels perhaps came through strongest in a letter Melissa wrote to her young niece before she died. It said “I love you to the sky, Layla.”
There are many causes and culprits in the opioid crisis, including doctors who overprescribe, drug companies that pushed unnecessary amounts of painkillers to patients, distributors and regulators who looked the other way when massive amounts opioids were being diverted into illegal channels, and finally a lack of effective treatment programs.
All will have to be part of a solution.