A Drug Addicted PHD Author Speaks Out
In Jennifer Di Cresce and Michael Savoie’s
The Adventures Of Dr. Crackhead
World Broadcast Premiere
Sunday March 9 | 9:00pm ET/PT
Most agree our approach to drug addiction needs a re-think. But are some of the most provocative and intriguing ideas suspect because of their source?
Jennifer Di Cresce and Michael Savoie’s thought-provoking documentary The Adventures Of Dr. Crackhead profiles one of the most controversial harm-reduction advocates in the country and follows him down a drug-induced rabbit hole of his own making.
At first glance, author and research scientist Dr. Peter Ferentzy – whose business card proudly identifies him as a “crackhead” – seems the perfect spokesman for turning conventional wisdom upside down. His book Why The 20th Century Was Wrong attacks the notion that drug addicts must “hit rock bottom” before finding motivation to seek help. That’s if indeed they need help – other than a helping hand out of squalor and criminality.
The idea hits home with filmmaker Di Cresce, whose personal experience is her mother, a car accident victim who was rescued from chronic pain by controlled use of Oxycontin. “The only difference between me and a street addict is a prescription,” her mother says, underlining the notion that drugs aren’t the problem with drug addiction. Look no further than the 1800s, when legal opiates were a key ingredient in patent medicines favoured by homemakers.
But Ferentzy doesn’t always follow his own script, and for Di Cresce, The Adventures Of Dr. Crackhead becomes a frustrating exercise. He is off the wagon in the very first scene in which we meet him. She accompanies him and sometime girlfriend Kathy to a speech before an addiction group in B.C., where it becomes apparent that Kathy’s own demons are a constant temptation to Ferentzy.
His family’s past is a curse, and his various demons don’t stop at crack – as his burgeoning medicine cabinet attests. Soon the questions become unavoidable: Is Dr. Ferentzy the wrong guy with the right message? Is his whole crusade one massive exercise in self-justification?
Jennifer Di Cresce was a production coordinator/manager for such documentaries as Four Paths to Peace: Inspiration from the Dalai Lama (CTV, 2009), Music From the Big House (documentary, 2010), the four part series Sex Scandals in Religion (Vision, 2011), and The Nature of Things The Autism Enigma (CBC, 2011). She co-founded Big Twin Productions with cinematographer Michael Savoie in 2011. The Adventures Of Dr. Crackhead is their debut project.
Michael Savoie is an award-winning cinematographer who traveled war zones on behalf of CBC’s The Journal and The Fifth Estate. He was a DP on award-winning PBS films like Born In Africa, Romeo & Juliet In Sarajevo and Murder On Abortion Row. He was director of the feature documentary Des McAnuff: a Life in Stages, about the Artistic Director of the Stratford Theatre.