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Local play will bring awareness to drug and alcohol abuse

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) is partnering with Candy Studio LLC to bring the public two showings of “Users/Alky,” a play to bring awareness to the dangers and realities of alcohol and substance abuse. Performances will be shown at the University of Monroe Brown’s Theater from May 20 to 21 and will start at 7 p.m. There will be no charge for either show.

The production is a part of NEDHSA’s Rise Above Stigma initiative. Its aim is to help increase access to behavioral health support services, provide mental health awareness, and other culturally and linguistically appropriate training for the twelve parish communities in Northeast Louisiana.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said that the agency is reaching out to the public in creative, engaging ways through challenge, sadness, and motivation. He said that the production is helping people to understand addiction and mental health.

Written by Jerome McDonough, “Users/Alky” depicts the attraction and devastating consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. It gives the audience a closer look at a pill pusher, an inhalant abuser, a user of PCP, a marijuana user, a cigarette smoker, as well as other types of drug abusers by telling their stories and showing the horrible outcomes.

Candy Studio’s Jerrilyn Profit, an experienced veteran theatrical director, entertainer, and performer in the area, has been selected as the performance director and producer. Her goal is to engage at-risk youth and adults in the production. This will allow them to learn and develop vocational and life skills.

Profit said, “This production is another thought-provoking experience to help viewers think what would they do in this situation. These events are real and have happened to real people, and we’re sharing to make the audience resist these temptations.”

NEDHSA’s Rise Above Stigma campaign began in July 2021 and has featured the release of a mobile agency app and the reveal of an art mural designed by University of Louisiana Monroe students. The mural will be toured throughout the 12-parish region and is currently hosted at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum for Black History Month during the month of February.

NEDHSA will soon release a 6-month evaluation report of its rise Above Stigma initiative that created a foundation for community transformation.

For additional information or questions about the auditions, contact Candy Studio LLC at 318-516-3735 or CandyStudio2016@gmail.com.