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Nov 29, 2016

HBO Documentary RISKY DRINKING Offers New Perspective on Alcohol Use Disorder, Holiday Season Drinking Debuts Dec. 19


Nearly one-third of adults in the U.S. engage in problem drinking at some point in their lives. 

The way health professionals now assess drinkers at risk falls on a spectrum from low-risk to an alcohol use disorder that can range from mild to severe. 

HBO and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism present a documentary that challenges viewers to recognize when their drinking may be putting them at risk, offering information that could help millions of Americans lead healthier lives.

Through case studies and expert analysis, this timely documentary investigates the broad spectrum of risky drinking at different ages and stages in people’s lives: including a young professional whose weekend binge drinking only exacerbates her already fragile emotional state; a single mom whose drinking has gone beyond the social level; an ex-pat whose heavy drinking finds him on the cusp of losing his son and wife; and a young grandfather whose physical dependence may cost him his life, this cautionary documentary debuts on December 19 on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: TBD

HBO2 playdates: TBD

The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

From Oscar® and Emmy®-winning filmmaker Ellen Goosenberg Kent (HBO’s “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” and “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq”) and journalist/producer Perri Peltz (HBO’s “The Education of Dee Dee Ricks” and “Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.”), RISKY DRINKING takes a case-study look at the risks of alcohol use and the ways in which the medical community is viewing and treating “risky drinkers” today. 

These very human stories of people at a turning point in their relationship with alcohol provide an intimate look at a national epidemic that affects people from all walks of life. 

Informative interviews with addiction experts explain the science behind alcohol-use disorder, as well as stunning statistics about its prevalence and hazards.

Among the medical professionals interviewed in the film are: George Koob, Director, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Carrie Wilkens, Clinical Director, Center for Motivation & Change; Stephen Ross, Director, Addiction Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center. 

The featured health experts discuss the specific risks and treatment options for drinkers along the spectrum, from behavioral and pharmacotherapies, to various support groups for moderation and abstinence

Subjects include:
  • Kenzie, a young Denver professional, sometimes binge drinks with her friends on weekends as a social lubricant and to “turn off her brain” after a stressful work week. During one holiday weekend, on the heels of a difficult breakup, she consumes well over ten drinks a night, leading to an emotional breakdown. Binge drinking, or having four to five, or more, drinks in a single episode, accounts for more than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S., with most of those at risk between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Mike tries to build a new life and career in St. Thomas, but his visiting teenage son notes his daily schedule often involves drinking. With his current marriage hanging by a thread after a series of dangerous “drinking incidents,” Mike decides to enter rehab. But a trip to see his wife beforehand finds him drunk once more, leading his wife to walk out. Unwilling to give up drinking completely, Mike participates in a 90-day program to help moderate his alcohol use, but after a relapse, he questions if he’s ready. 
  • Rhonda uses alcohol as a “coping mechanism” for the stress of raising a family, and participates in a weekly happy hour with friends to let off steam. But she has become increasingly concerned about her friend Noel, a divorced mother of two who uses wine as an “escape” from her negative feelings surrounding her ex. As Noel starts to lose the ability to control her drinking, Rhonda encourages her friend to try a treatment called moderation management before it’s too late. 
  • Neal, a father of two grown children, is currently on his second marriage, and risks losing everything from years of alcoholism. He struggles to physically function without alcohol, suffering withdrawal tremors. When his wife Kathy finds him drinking in the parking lot of his part-time grocery-store job, she convinces him to go to the hospital for detox. A month later, a sober Neal feels he’s getting a second chance to stay sober for his grandson – but his sobriety doesn’t last. Having been in and out of rehab and detox 12 times in four years, Neal prepares to try one more time by entering a 35-day residential program.
"RISKY DRINKING" was directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent; produced by Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Perri Peltz; segment director, Perri Peltz; supervising editor, Geeta Gandbhir; editor, Alex Keipper. For HBO: senior producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

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