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‘How to Be a Respectable Junkie” Shows Challenges of Opioid Addiction

Playwright Greg Vovos knows the title, “How to Be a Respectable Junkie,” leaves some people wondering what kind of play he created.

He is hoping that intrigue brings people to Dobama Theatre for the one-man show, which offers a window into what life is like for a man addicted to heroin.

The main character, Brian, is considering suicide and decides to make a how-to video before taking his own life. The instructional video is intended to show drug users how to improve their behavior as addicts.

“It’s humor, it’s hope, it’s sadness and it’s love,” Vovos said. “Hope and love, I think, go together in a lot of ways, especially when someone’s trying to recover from something and they’ve given up on themselves.”

Vovos based the story off of the real-life experiences of a man he met at a town-hall meeting in Lake County. Inspired by his struggle and drive to recover from heroin addiction, Vovos met with him regularly to learn more about his life as Ohio loses citizens to overdoses daily.

“You talk to [addicts] and you’re like, ‘wow, they’re really funny, they’re really smart, they’re really engaging and our community is losing people like that,” Vovos said.

The 80-minute play, starring Chris Bohan and directed by Nathan Motta, premieres tonight and continues through July 2 at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights.

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