SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Addiction impacts millions of people nationwide in the United States and awareness is a key factor in combating that epidemic.

Tuesday at the State Theatre a free movie is being shown to start a discussion about addiction.

The CDC reported a record 106,000 overdose deaths in the US in 2021. That’s a 16-percent increase from 2020.

USD’s Melissa Dittberner says combating that epidemic starts with understanding what addiction looks like.

“I think if we just know what it looks like and how it can present itself, it takes some of the unknown out. So if we know what addiction can look like, we can help people get to a safer place or a healthier place when we know what it looks like,” Dittberner said.

Tuesday she’s bringing that discussion to the State Theatre in Sioux Falls with the film ‘Tipping the Pain Scale.

“It’s really a walk through, you know, the addiction epidemic and what it looks like and how people are rising to meet the needs,” Dittberner said. “And these are just average, everyday people or people who have walked through addiction issues themselves using just different modalities to help people. Whether it’s getting out there, boots on the ground, handing out NARCAN, whether it’s sharing poems or other creative spirits and how we can work together to help people and what it could look like in our community too.”

There will also be a conversation at the theatre following the film.

“There will be people with lived experience on the panel, I myself will be on the panel and another doctor from SDSU will be there as well. Just answering questions about what addiction looks like, what we’re currently doing in South Dakota and any other questions that might arise,” Dittberner said.

The conversation is more important now than ever before. According to the CDC, overdose deaths in South Dakota were up 35 percent between December 2020 and December 2021.

“Bring your friends, family and let’s work together to make our place a happier place,” Dittberner said.

Doors open at 6 Tuesday at the State Theatre and the movie will start at 6:30. Admission is free.