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What Documentaries on Addiction Can Do for Awareness

//What Documentaries on Addiction Can Do for Awareness

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the statistics about drug use and overdose rates in America. Nearly half a million Americans have died of drug overdoses since 2000 and over sixty percent of those involved opiates (CDC.) That’s an almost incomprehensible number. But most people are more affected by the very human and relatable personal stories of people who have suffered from addiction rather than raw numbers. That’s why documentaries on addiction can be a useful tool for raising awareness, invoking compassion for addicts, and inspiring people to get help and to confront the problem of addiction in their communities.

Recent Documentaries on Addiction

Documentaries on addiction range in topic, from biographical flicks about the lives of drug users and people in recovery to explorations of drug culture in the United States and criminal justice. Some are more informative while others can sensationalize and (arguably) even glorify drug use, but many documentaries on addiction portray the reality of substance use disorder. These documentaries on addiction offer a glimpse into what it is like to live with a drug or alcohol problem, how difficult recovery can be, and some of the reasons that addiction develops. For people who struggle to understand that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing, documentaries on addiction can make things more clear and can also inspire compassion for people who suffer from the disease. Recent documentaries on addiction include:


  • Prescription Thugs (2015): This documentary followed the lives of the director Chris Bell’s family members who struggle with prescription drug abuse, and it also explores Bell’s own relationship to these drugs. The film goes further into detail by examining the marketing practices of drug manufacturers, such as the makers of highly addictive drugs like OxyContin. For a more broad understanding of how prescription painkillers have fueled addiction in America as well as an intimate look at how addiction impacts families, this is a good documentary to check out.
  • Dope Sick Love (2005): This is a very raw and honest portrait of two couples who are suffering from drug addiction. Both couples live in New York City, and throughout the course of the documentary, they are filmed going about their daily lives- which include homelessness, stealing, prostitution, and various schemes to get high. The result is a tragic picture of the reality of addiction and what it does to relationships and the lives of people around us, and it’s a must-see for anyone who wants a true look at what addiction is like on a daily basis.
  • Addiction (2007): First released in 2007, this series is produced by HBO in conjunction with organizations like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It’s broken into several segments that each focus on one aspect of addiction. The series covers topics like the impact of addiction on hospitals, mothers of addicts and their stories, addiction treatment methods, opiate addiction, and more. For a deeper understanding of addiction and its many facets, in every aspect of society, this is one of the most in-depth documentaries on addiction that you’ll find.


What Documentaries on Addiction Can Do

Documentaries on addiction are important because they tell the stories that often aren’t made clear by raw data and statistics. These films offer an intimate and often tragic look at the real lives of people who suffer from substance use disorders, and they also examine our culture’s response to these issues. The list above is by no means exhaustive- documentaries on addiction come by the dozens. Some are better than others, but they all allow for viewers to think more deeply about substance use, the healthcare and criminal justice systems in America, the process of relapse, and what can be done to prevent and treat addiction.

As more people are affected by addiction and alcoholism, the dialogue in the nation is shifting. Rather than being stigmatized and treated as a crime, in more and more places addiction is treated as the disease that it is. However, there is still more work to do. Showing documentaries on addiction can help to motivate the public to look for solutions to the problem and to extend compassion to people who suffer from it. To get help for an addiction or alcoholism problem, call All About Recovery today at 888-712-8480 for information about treatment programs.

By |2017-05-10T18:58:14+00:00May 10th, 2017|