The idea for the documentary came to Baldwin after he learned about the overdose death of his friend PJ Raynor.
An upcoming documentary will focus on an area of the drug epidemic that isn’t often talked about: the experiences of friends and family members who are left behind when someone overdoses.
The documentary, called My Promise To PJ is being produced by Daniel Baldwin, the brother of Alec, Stephen and William Baldwin.
The idea for the documentary came after Baldwin, who is in recovery, learned about the overdose of P.J. Raynor. Baldwin had helped Raynor get sober, but after more than three years in recovery, Raynor relapsed and died on June 28, 2017.
“I felt robbed,” Baldwin told WECT News about Raynor’s death. “I felt this is not the way the script was written by me. He finally got it, he had three and a half years sober and then I got a phone call that the first time he went back out and used heroin again it was laced with fentanyl and he overdosed.”
Raynor’s parents, Patrick and Barbara Raynor, will participate in the film, and share how their lives have been changed since their son’s death.
“I’m a different person now,” said Patrick Raynor. “Not always a good thing when you’re changed by something like this. Never a good thing actually.”
Baldwin hopes that the film project will help other people with substance use disorder and their families.
He said that it is healing for him to work on the project. “The service portion of my sobriety in my program is imperative for my staying sober,” he said. “So, another reason I’m doing this film is because unlike the one kid I’m going to take to coffee and take to a meeting and try to help him, I might reach five million people by doing this movie, and that’s part of what keeps me sober.”
Baldwin pointed out that long-term sobriety is a challenge, especially in communities that have been heavily-impacted by the opioid epidemic.
“You have such a concentrated problem, when they come back from rehab, they’re thrust with the same people, places, and things that they were around and they don’t have long-term sobriety,” he said.
It’s a problem that Baldwin knows firsthand. He did nine stints in rehab before he successfully got sober in 2006. Since then, he has used his celebrity status to work on projects about addiction.
“By my taking those actions and being of service, it keeps my disease right in front of me and allows me to give away what was so freely given to me when I was in need,” he told The Fix in 2016. “It’s the cycle of life.”
Filming of My Promise to PJ recently began, but a release date hasn’t yet been set for the film.