Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 – 7:30pm
Great Britain 2008. Director: Olly Lambert


VANCOUVER PREMIERE – When Ben Rogers picked up a video camera in 2004, he didn’t think he’d be filming the final two years of his life. Ben was 32 at the time and had been a heroin addict for 14 years. No one’s idea of a “typical” addict, Ben came from a loving middle-class family and had been both a good student and a Boy Scout. But “typical” teen behaviour — drinking and smoking pot — gave way to heroin; by 18, Ben was hooked. Every attempt to quit, every trip to rehab, proved fruitless. At 32, diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly condition, Ben went home to live with his parents. There, he began to film his life as he experienced it — unadorned and raw. We see him injecting directly into his groin (the only place left where his veins were not ruined), driving while high, in anguished arguments with his desperate mother. At one point, Ben’s father drives him to his dealer, so Ben can score safely. Ben kept recording up until 36 hours before his death. What he hoped would one day be a triumphant film of his recovery is instead a harrowing and visceral account of a short life ravaged, and ultimately consumed, by addiction. Colour, Digibeta video. 45 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Ian Forbes, a psychiatrist who works in the fields of addiction and chronic severe mental illness. Dr. Forbes is currently a staff psychiatrist at Vancouver General Hospital, an addiction psychiatrist with Richmond Mental Health Services, and a Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Psychiatry.

Moderated by Dr Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Cosponsored by Richmond Hospital’s Dept of Psychiatry.


“I think they’ve really honoured us as a family. They’ve not dumbed it down. But they’ve not sensationalised it either.”


Ben’s mother | full review