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Bill Moyers Hosts Five-Part Pbs Series On Addiction

Sat., March 28, 1998

Bill Moyers wants you to know that “addiction” isn’t just a fancy word for “habit.”

“We’re talking about an obsessive desire,” Moyers says at the start of his five-part PBS series, “where a chemical you take, drink or smoke becomes the master of your mind and the tyrant of your life.”

Moyers wants you to know that addiction isn’t an issue of character, morality or strength of will. And he wants you to understand that addicts, defying any stereotype, represent every segment of society with their common affliction, which many suffer in secret - Moyers’ own son kept his addiction hidden for years.

This is some of what makes “Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home” essential viewing.

It begins Sunday at 8 p.m. on Spokane’s KSPS-Channel 7 with “Portrait of Addiction,” a riveting montage of testimony from nine recovering addicts. Then at 9 p.m., “The Hijacked Brain” explores how addiction is a chronic brain disease wreaking physiological havoc that scientists can actually map.

Monday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., “Changing Lives” visits addicts in several recovery programs, including that of the Ridgeview Institute near Atlanta. “Addiction gets its tendrils in the part of our brain that is much deeper than reason,” Ridgeview’s medical director tells Moyers. “That basic, primitive drive says, ‘The heck with Just Say No. I’m gonna do it!”’

Tuesday at 8 p.m., “The Next Generation” examines what can be done to break the chain of addiction for the one American child in five who grows up with an addicted family member.

And at 9 p.m. Tuesday, the series concludes with “The Politics of Addiction,” a look at the nation’s misguided drug policy. With an annual price tag of $16 billion, the war on drugs has made no dent in the addiction rate, while more Americans are hooked on socially sanctioned alcohol and tobacco than on all illegal substances combined.

“Close to Home” means to help you face the two looming obstacles encountered by anyone in recovery: stigma and ignorance.


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