Penn State Abington to Host Screening of ‘Our American Family,’ a Documentary on Generational Addiction

our american family
Image via YouTube.
The Philadelphia clan profiled in the 2021 documentary 'Our American Family,' showing at Penn State Abington.

Penn State Abington will host a free public screening of Our American Family, a 2021 documentary that examines the searing impact of generational addiction on a Philadelphia family.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 28.

A reviewer for The New York Times praised the film, writing, Our American Family, in its sharp specificity, handles [addiction] with grace. … The film’s freshest insight lies in the comparison of addiction to cancer. Both are deadly diseases; only one is stigmatized.”

Glenn Sterner, assistant professor of criminal justice at Abington and an expert on the illicit use of opioids, will moderate a post-film discussion.

“The more we talk about the ways addiction manifests itself in our families and communities, the more we dispel stigma around the condition. If we address addiction head on, it’s more likely people will attempt to manage it,” Sterner said.

Two members of the family featured in the film will share their experiences after the screening. Daughter Nicole was once considered a chronic relapser with a heroin addiction. She attended more than 15 treatment centers before achieving long-term sobriety and now works as a certified recovery specialist. Bryan, Nicole’s stepfather, shifted his life’s focus and spent years learning about addiction to support his wife and their children.

Panelist Carla Sofronski, the director of the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Network, will highlight community resources and, as a person with lived experience, she will address the role of stigma as it pertains to addiction.

More information — including directions, parking, and an optional RSVP form — is available at the PSU Abington website.

Owing to the film’s language and thematic elements, its is not suitable for audiences under the age of 18.

The Our American Family presentation is sponsored by the Penn State Abington Criminal Justice program and the Division of Social Sciences, with support from the Division of Arts and Humanities and the Penn State University Libraries.


The trailer for Our American Family.

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