Addicted: America's Opioid Crisis

2019, Drugs  -   5 Comments
6.43
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Ratings: 6.43/10 from 7 users.

It begins with the children. Haunted by abandonment and other horrors they are far too young to fully process, they testify to the toll their parent's addiction has taken on them. These opening moments of the BBC Three documentary Addicted: America's Opioid Crisis set the stage for a harrowing portrait of hellish descent.

This crisis originated from a position of greed. The pharmaceutical industry systematically set out to over-prescribe these drugs for the treatment of pain. The film outlines the tactics taken by the industry to target potential patients and persuade medical professionals to fully embrace their use.

With the introduction of their star brand OxyContin, the drug's manufacturer Purdue doubled their sales force. Their sales reps were trained to deliver pitches marked by false assumptions, lofty promises and faulty science. Started in the 90's, Purdue also spread their message through a slick ad campaign that touted a safer, more reliable painkiller free of undesirable side effects. They promised that "less than 1% of users become addicted". Over the next 15 years, the rate of opioid addiction increased by 900%. As one interview subject explains early in the film, "No other medication kills as many people as opioids."

The documentary investigates the horrific individual and societal impact of these rising addiction rates, and relentlessly exposes the chief engineers behind the epidemic. If these companies are directly responsible for this scourge of death and destruction, the film argues, then they should cover the cost to help resolve it.

The filmmakers speak to a variety of figures who represent the totality of the epidemic, including grieving parents whose children have passed from overdoses, addicts who struggle everyday to stay clean and lead productive lives, overwhelmed drug counselors who stand at the frontline of the recovery process, drug enforcement agents who fight to stifle the flood of opioid shipments from drug cartels, and a former sales representative from Purdue who blows the whistle on the company's shameful practices.

With great anger and urgency, Addicted: America's Opioid Crisis unflinchingly confronts the traumatic results of the opioid epidemic - from decimated communities across the United States to the individuals who have been left grieving or dead in its wake.

Directed by: Darren Conway

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5 Comments / User Reviews

  1. john

    since the "establishment" in the US caused the addiction both now with big pharma and in the early 70's with CIA heroin flooding the country, ordinary people with addiction problems should be not only helped by the state but compensated by the state for those lost years. How about $50,000 per year, help setting up a business or getting a good job/training, relocation into a safe neighbourhood, etc? This should be paid out of the profits made by those legal drug pushing Sacklers, pharma companies and the US gov.

  2. Esali

    Furthermore, the biggest (unindicted) co-conspirator here is the FDA regulatory board and their shocking abdication of duty to protect the health of the American population

  3. Esali

    Two months clean for Derek is too soon to say with any degree of certainty that he's cured. He needs to be off drugs for at least one year, and even then, it'll be a constant daily vigilance for the rest of his life

  4. Earl montgomery

    The Reagan administration with the complicity of Oliver North deliberately funneled cocaine into the African American communities with the assistance of the C.I.A to fund a war in Central America in the '80s disrupting generations of families through addictions and mass incarcerations causing many to legally become disenfranchised from the system. The majority of these people and their relatives are still feeling the effects and have been met with no redress. Could this be a case of reaping what you have sown, the chickens coming home to roost?

  5. Keith R. Sauerwald

    Why do people use drugs? Every person has the right to say, "Yes, I will" or "No, I won't". It cannot be the bad times in their lives as many people who have the world at their feet, use drugs. So, why do some do it and so many don't. The old adage of smoking marijuana leads to harder drugs is a fairy tale. I first smoked marijuana in 1974, a number of times. Those times never went past 1974. So, again I ask.....Why? Is it a mental condition that that entices sane people to do it and in the process kill themselves? As I have said, EVERYONE has the right to say yes or no. So, what is it that entices them to say yes?