WASHINGTON — From the Bronx to Montana, from feel-good psychology to painful confrontation, "Over the Influence" covers a wide array of successful - though little known - drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs. The two-hour documentary hosted by Tom Selleck and Whitney Houston is "solution" television, says producer Arnold Shapiro. It has been airing nationally on independent and network affiliates during prime time this week.
"You don't have to be the parent of child" to have an interest in the program, says Mr. Shapiro.
"We're all taxpayers, we're all people who are affected by people who abuse substances and some way or another wind up abusing us."
The program, endorsed at its preview here by Federal Bureau of Investigations Director William Sessions, evokes an unusual amount of humor and sympathy from a subject that so often involves discouraging television viewing.
For example, after a few weeks on a Montana ranch drug rehabilitation program, one fresh-faced drug addict looking at life anew says, "I've got this unexplainable desire to finish school."
If incomplete in its exploration of the difficulties of running and maintaining these programs, "Over the Influence" offers some inspiring seeds of solutions to the drug- and alcohol-abuse crisis that can and should be cultivated.