Scottish filmmaker Norman Stone, who has captured a Bafta (the British Oscar) and two Emmys, took two years to produce a 93-minute documentary called “The Final Fix,” along with Tim Neeves of Prospect Arts. It is a riveting story narrated by award-winning Scottish actor Ewan McGrergor about four Kentucky drug addicts who successfully go through the neuro-electric therapy (NET) treatment.
Eric Allen, team leader of missions mobilization with the KBC, was at the Christian-based Isaiah House when the first men were hooked up to the NET device for the documentary.
“I was afforded the opportunity to be closer during this most recent trial at Isaiah House, as I was there when the NET was first connected, watching the men change within the first few hours of wearing the device,” he said. “These men were given another chance at life and God is doing some pretty incredible things.”
NET claims to work for everything from nicotine to alcohol and every other form of drug dependency, from prescription painkillers to cocaine and heroin.
It uses a device only slightly larger than an MP3 player with tiny electrodes taped behind the participants’ ears. The NET machine is calibrated to send low-voltage electrical pulses, depending on the individual’s addiction, into the brain.
By accelerating the brain’s own natural repair process, it allows it to respond normally again to endorphins, the body’s stress and pain-relieving hormones, which are being blocked by long-term use of drugs.
The four men featured in the documentary are from different parts of Kentucky with various forms of drug addiction. The Isaiah House rehabilitation center in Chaplin, Ky., was the site of the treatment administered to the four men – Brandon Garrison, Kevin Arnold, Robert Capley and Ross Smith. All four had previously tried and failed to kick respective drug habits that gripped their lives.
But with each previous detox treatment, the pain had been too much for each to bear. They couldn’t break the addiction. This treatment would prove different for them.
A fifth man, David Emanuel, who was addicted to heroin after getting hooked on opiate-based painkillers prescribed after he was hit by a car, started the trial, but he smuggled in drugs and had to be taken out of the program. His fate is revealed in the documentary as well.
“Drug abuse is an issue that every county is having to address,” Allen said. “Therefore, most of our pastors are counseling families and addressing the issue as well. Seeing the film and learning of the device’s effectiveness will give hope to many families that have experienced loved ones struggling to beat addiction, in some cases, time and time again.”
Allen also says the quality of the documentary is top-notch and “tells the story really well." After seeing the documentary, he says he “came away with a feeling of hope for something that would really help people to come off drug addiction.”
The film’s participants go “cold turkey” without any withdrawal effects or cravings.
“Those guys who came off, you watched them sort of re-inflate and become shiny human beings again, useful members of society again, in five to seven days,” Stone said. “It’s 18 months since we filmed that and they’re all still doing brilliantly.”
The origin of the treatment dates to the 1970s when Scottish surgeon Dr. Meg Patterson learned about it through experiences with opium addicts at a hospital in Hong Kong. The technique uses electrodes to send low-voltage electrical pulses into the brain.
Despite repeated efforts to have her invention explored further, it never happened in Dr. Patterson’s lifetime. She died in a care home in 2002. However, record drug deaths in Scotland and the growing addiction to pharmaceutical and synthetic opioids in the U.S. ramped up interest again in NET.
Clinical trials have been delayed by COVID-19 but they are expected to start at the end of the year, said Owen Fleming, the Scotland-based director of clinical services for NET.
“We’re still tentatively having those conversations, but the message we’re receiving from our stakeholders is ‘wait until we’ve finished responded to COVID and, by all means, we’ll pick up the discussions,'” Fleming said.
Allen said the documentary is inspiring as viewers follow along the journey of the Kentucky men who are central in the video.
“Medical missionary Meg Patterson used her medical knowledge and experience years ago to develop the device so that she could meet the needs of people bound in addiction and share the gospel,” he said. “For that reason, I also believe viewers will be inspired and challenged to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory, as Dr. Patterson did.”
Allen said the documentary also shines a spotlight on one of Kentucky’s biggest issues.
“Kentucky has more drug abuse overdoes per capita than any of our neighboring states,” he said. “A recent study found that 80% of those addicted to drugs began doing so by misusing painkillers prescribed for them. The higher rates of poverty, unemployment and disabled adults in Kentucky have contributed to our drug abuse as people seek freedom from emotional or physical pain, while others got caught in the trap of drug abuse because of curiosity or out of a desire to be accepted by others.”
“The Final Fix” can be rented for $4.99 or purchased for $7.99.