Every year the PRISM Awards recognize the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and addiction in film, television, interactive, music, DVD, and comic book entertainment. Presented by the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC), the PRISM Awards have been televised nationally since 1997. Winners are selected by members of the creative community as well as scientific experts. Criteria include entertainment value, accessibility of the message, and scientific accuracy. Judged in different categories of production, winners are recognized for their entertainment, as well as their real portrayal of substance abuse.
Past films such as Walk the Line, Ray, City of God, Skins, Blow, and Traffic, have been nominated for PRISM Awards. Nominees of the TV series category include Monk, The Office, “Pinky and the Brain” ER, and Boston Legal. This year’s awards for TV series include The Sopranos and The View.
Actors are also recognized with PRISM Awards for their portrayal of substance abuse and mental illness. These actors use their performances to educate others about the real life challenges of individuals and families dealing with these issues. Winners this year in this category include: Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters), Hugh Laurie (House), and James Denton and Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives). Winners and nominees for the PRISM Awards are listed on the PRISM Awards website: http://www.prismawards.com/winners/
The EIC works with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and television networks to present the PRISM Awards. Founded in 1983, the EIC is a non-profit organization that works to promote the accurate portrayal of health and social issues in entertainment. The EIC in general supports the depiction of negative consequences of drug and alcohol abuse and substance dependence. Through the PRISM Awards, the EIC is able to encourage film and television producers to educate the public about these social issues, while still providing interesting entertainment.
This year’s awards took place on September 27th and were hosted by Nancy O’Dell. A featured speaker at the event was Brigitte Nielsen, who has struggled with alcoholism and the recovery from it. Having been through it first-hand, speakers like Brigitte are doing their part to bring the issue of Alcohol and Drug addiction to light. According to Nielson, the EIC, and many others, it is important for people to learn more about substance abuse and mental health issues and to be encouraged to get help for these problems. “It’s so important to communicate to our society and to our youth how important your health is, and to understand that this is a sickness….Not only is it the addict’s problem to reach out and get help, it’s the friends and family’s responsibility to reach out to stop the destruction,” says Brigitte. Together, the EIC and the entertainment industry are working to spotlight these issues, and to make a difference.