CRANFORD, NJ -- Scotch Plains native Garry Pastore (The Irishman and HBO's The Deuce) and writer-director Spencer T. Folmar hosted a red carpet screening of the film “Shooting Heroin” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the newly reopened Cranford Movie Theater.

Folmar told the audience that he was inspired to write the movie after seeing the effect of the opioid epidemic on a small town near his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania. The narrative could take place in any small town. 

"It's a multi-faceted effort. They (drug companies) got people hooked, while doctors write the prescriptions," Folmar said. "You can get opioids for $7; Narcan (an antidote) costs $200 per dose."

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Folmar added that overdoses are underreported. and that someone is "more likely to die from an overdose of opioids than be killed by gun violence or accidents combined."

Pastore recalled that during production, filming was disrupted on three different occasions because a local resident OD'ed. He also shared the story of a young friend, Scott Warren, whom he helped to get off drugs and then relapsed and died of an overdose about a year later. 

In attendance were community leaders and guests. Among the local attendees were Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith, Police Chief Ted Conley, and Fanwood Police Lt. Frank Marrero. Comedian Mike Marino, a Scotch Plains native, who warmed up the crowd.

"I'd like to have this film shown to young people at our schools in Scotch Plains," said Mayor Al Smith, who plans to incorporate a presentation of the film as part of his Mayor's Health and Wellness efforts. 

The screening was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from area police departments, Cranford Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Rubin, and Sean Foley, an addiction therapist at Resolve Community Counseling Center in Scotch Plains. 

Proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales at the screening will benefit Prevention Links, a non-profit organization that works to educate young people on the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse.