As NIDA reports lower designer drug use

Film on two area drug tragedies gains significance

• Film focuses on four tragedies—two in Chicago area—caused by party drugs to deliver check to young people and parents.

Laguna Hills, Calif.—Today’s report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showing an 11 percent decline in teen drug use provides little solace to Beth Pearce, who spent the last year reliving four family tragedies in order to produce, direct and edit her just-released film, Voice of the Victims: True Stories of Ecstasy and Ketamine.

The film focuses on two Chicago-area designer drug tragedies, the deaths of Sara Aeschlimann (Naperville) in 2000 and Steven Lorenz (McHenry) in 2001, and two similar Southern California cases. “Whether the numbers on drug use go up or down, the frightening reality is that each year, millions of young people pop colorful pills they think are harmless into their mouths. My film shows the heart-wrenching reality of four families who learned these popular drugs are anything but safe,” Pearce said.

Pearce feels her video, which has been a self-financed labor of love, dedication and sacrifice, could be the answer. “Kids are used to reality television, and this is a reality movie. There are no tricks, no preaching, no presentation of statistics that can be questioned—there’s just the true stories of what really happened.”

In the film’s second section, the victims’ family members and drug experts share their views on how to keep friends and loved ones safe, warning signs to look for, the risks of rape, how these drugs can lead to depression and other topics. For parents, the film is a tool that can ignite conversation and serve as a valuable source of information.

“I know that if my son had seen this video, he would not have taken the drug,” said David Lorenz, whose son died from a drug overdose when he took PMA, an imitation Ecstasy drug that dealers manufacture at a cheaper price.

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