Small Town Strong

$15 Regular
$11 for Members



Release Year



Chase Millsap, Spencer Millsap


Sharon Schindel, J. David Harden, Maile Gerken Millsap, Dale King, Chase Millsap




84 min


Limited Mobility Access

One Night Only, October 12!
Q&A With director Chase Millsap, subject Dale King, and producer Sharon Schindel to follow the screening.  Moderated by Paul Solotaroff.

Realizing no one is coming to save them from a growing opioid crisis, the people of Portsmouth Ohio, led by Army veteran Dale King, band together to save their forgotten Appalachian town. Their strategy is unorthodox— they take on fentanyl, the most lethal drug on the planet, through fitness. Fueled by the energy and community of Dale’s gym, we follow the town’s remarkable comeback through the lens of one woman’s recovery.

Former Military Intelligence Officer Dale King returned to his hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio after serving two tours in Iraq only to discover that this once booming river town had become ground zero of the opioid epidemic. This small town in Appalachia had become the Pill Mill capital of America, and there was no one coming to save them. Portsmouth had given up. But King wouldn’t.

Instead, he opened a gym in an abandoned warehouse and offered $5 workouts. All were welcome, and soon enough, folks in recovery looking for a fresh start were swinging kettlebells. And getting clean.

King believes if you can work hard in the gym, you can work hard anywhere. So he gives job opportunities to recovering addicts looking for a second chance, who, in turn, are successfully establishing themselves back into society, into their families, into their community.

SMALL TOWN STRONG not only highlights the struggles of the Appalachian Americans left behind in the wake of the opioid crisis, it’s a comeback story celebrating recovery and resilience.

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