YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – A film about a musically talented Yorktown Heights teen who died after snorting heroin has received the endorsement of a national organization.
“Whispering Spirits,” a film about Justin Veatch’s 2008 death, has been recommended by The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), according to a statement from The Justin Veatch Fund, which said the NCADD recently mailed copies of the film to its 80 affiliate offices across 29 states.
Directed by documentary filmmaker Sean Gallagher, the 2014 documentary follows Veatch's father and family as they cope with his loss while connecting with him through the music he left behind, according to the statement.
The nonprofit Veatch Fund said the film’s soundtrack features only the teen’s original recordings.
According to the statement, the film is accompanied by a discussion guide authored by Ellen Morehouse, executive director of Student Assistance Services Corp. in Tarrytown, an NCADD affiliate.
“Whispering Spirits uniquely approaches a subject often kept quiet in many suburban communities,” said Suzie Ross, co-founder of the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series, in the statement. “Our screening attracted a full representation of our community from school administrators, students, parents, health professionals, musicians and artists, to recovering addicts. It also allowed us to make the easy link to the array of health-related resources in our backyard.”
According to the Veatch Fund, the media company Reconsider has provided a grant that is allowing the documentary to be released to anti-drug coalitions and other organizations at no cost.
“Whispering Spirits” can also be viewed for free at the “Whispering Spirits” website , where professionals can request free copies of the film and download the discussion guide, the statement said.
The NCADD’s recommendation comes about a month after U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy - in a report about the drug crisis in America - tallies the number of deaths caused by opioid and heroin abuse at 28,647 since 2014, according to the statement.
According to the Surgeon General’s report, 20.8 million Americans suffer from substance abuse disorder. Ninety percent of those people receive no treatment, according to the statement, which again cites the Surgeon General's report.