Knott County Drug Court
53 Main St E #226, Hindman, Kentucky 41822
These portraits seek to reduce the stigma around opioid use disorder (OUD), and to humanize the people who are affected by OUD. People who were born, raised – and live – in Knott County.
They are not stories, but rather snippets of intimate, personal disclosures that these sitters have shared with the artist, Charmaine Wheatley, during their portrait session.
“By creating of portraits of individuals, Wheatley builds a portrait of a community and place – and reminds us of our common humanity.”
While in Knott County, Wheatley sat with four people personally impacted by opioid addiction. Three of which are currently residents at Hickory Hill, a men’s residential recovery facility.
Phillip Aaron Hudson, Ben Bowling, and Ethan Chad Whited all shared their personal stories and revealed the profound suffering that the Opioid Crisis has brought into an untold number of lives.
The fourth person Wheatley sat with was Melissa Handshoe, a Native American woman who is representative of many other women in recovery. While the overall rate of opioid overdoses among men is higher than women, the rates have been increasing at a faster rate among women compared to men. Handshoe shares the details of trauma in her early life, her experience being a mother affected by OUD, and how art has been a supporting part of her recovery.