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It took nearly four months, but persistence paid off.

Rick Jolly, substance abuse coordinator for Woburn, and director of Mayor Scott Galvin’s Coalition on Substance Abuse, said city and health officials have worked hard over the past year to raise awareness in Woburn. Still, it’s not enough.

From Nov. 1, 2015 to March 15 of this year, the city has recorded 33 overdoses – six of them have resulted in death.

According to Jolly, surveys indicate four of five heroin users began their journey to addiction with prescription painkillers.

Addiction has become omnipresent in communities. Jolly’s own nephew, he told the audience, would be late for the film because he was attending a wake for a man who passed away at 26, the result of an overdose.

“That’s the reality of it,” said Jolly.

Jolly introduced James Wahlberg, who wrote the short film, “If Only,” with Michael Yebba. Wahlberg is also executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Foundation.

The screenplay was written to encourage an open dialogue between parents and children.

Wahlberg said the movie, which was filmed entirely in Massachusetts, with a significant portion filmed in Tewksbury, has been shown in communities across the country.

Wahlberg, who calls himself a “recovering person,” said a number of the film’s characters were portrayed by family members, including his son, Jeffery, who starred as Issac Diaz, a teenager trying to fit in at school.

His reasoning was simple: getting people to talk about prescription drugs and opioid addiction.

“I believe for the most part, it’s starting in people’s medicine cabinets,” he said.

Wahlberg said kids are taking pills from those cabinets – some that parents may have forgotten about – and using them
But his is not the only family involved with the film. A number of families who have lost loved ones to addiction are featured at the end of the film, holding photos of a son or daughter.

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