“Substance abuse and addiction cause illness, injury, death and crime, savage our children, overwhelm social service systems, impede education — and slap a heavy and growing tax on our citizens” – Susan Foster, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis
Since the fall of 2008, I have been documenting my experiences while living among several Appalachian women during a period of their recovery from substance abuse and domestic violence. In November of 2009, I produced Neverland, a short documentary film. I hope to enable others to better understand the roots of destructive addictions, and the harsh road to recovery.
In the United States, only about 2 percent of government funding for drug and substance abuse is used for prevention, while the remainder is spent on substance abuse treatment, and its secondary consequences, such as prosecuting offenders and putting them in prison. The state of Ohio is in desperate need of legal reform to address drug abuse as a public health concern rather than a criminal justice issue. Public awareness needs to be raised regarding the strong correlation between domestic violence and substance abuse, as I have witnessed first-hand that many of these women become addicts as a result of incest or family violence. In far too many cases, battered women begin using drugs or alcohol to mask their pain, fear and embarrassment. This fragile population of women is characterized by a lack of self-esteem, self-destructiveness, severe mental health disorders, and the lack of a constructive life pattern.
Those who are most affected by addiction are the children. Most of these women have 2 or 3 children, of whom many have lost custody. What is the future of these children? Are they destined to become the next victims, batterers or addicts? Is it possible to break the cycle that often passes silently from one generation to another?
Yanina Manolova is native of Bulgaria. In 2000 she moved to the United States where she is currently a graduate student in photojournalism at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. She has worked on different projects in Africa, Latin America, Europe and USA. Manolova’s real dedication is working on worldwide humanitarian and health care associated projects. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), National Geographic (Bulgaria) and many others. Her photos appeared in numerous exhibits and she has won several international awards and various nominations including in the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, Northern Short Course in Photojournalism, Southern Short Course in News Photography, NPPA Women In Photojournalism and many others.
Manolova’s latest work is a short documentary film detailing her experience while living among several Appalachian women during a period of their recovery from substance abuse and domestic violence. website.