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Dope Sick Love

Ratings: 7.06/10 from 125 users.

Dope Sick LoveDope Sick Love is a really remarkable documentary made for HBO about two pairs of heroin addicted lovers roaming the streets of NYC. There is no narration and we never see any interviews with the subjects, the camera just follows them around, like a third eye, completely detached.

The people being followed don't even seem aware that they're being filmed! (or, at least, they don't seem to care). The footage is amazingly candid. This is as real as it gets. The nuts and bolts of what its like to be on the street and addicted to heroin. We watch them score dope, shoot it, make up, hustle, and even impersonate cops to rob people, and about a million other tiny details that less observant documentary filmmakers would leave out.

Some of the footage is truly horrifying. Like watching one guy frantically searching for the fix he lost. And when he does find it, the guy literally dances in the street.

The cyclical nature of drug addiction becomes very apparent while watching this. EVERYTHING is about getting the next score to these folks, yet the next score seems to be well worth the immense trouble they go through.

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55 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bob

    Is there ever going to be a follow up of this

    1. Jlove

      Where is matt,sebastian, tracy, and the other girl,?

  2. 1treasurehunterdale

    I can completely relate to the horror and despair these people's lives have spiralled into. What really bothers me is another documentary I watched recently about addicts in Canada who can go to a safe place and get the drugs they need with no fear of getting bad dope.
    It seems like other countries have come up with some real solutions that actually help the addict, the ones who are getting their drugs are also offered treatment to help them stop. They have a choice which is something a lot of addicts in this country don't have, treatment isn't even an option in most places and definitely no way to get safe drugs in a safe place.
    All our government wants to do is use scare tactics to tell us how bad it is but any solutions they have are not geared towards the user. They're going after Drs and Hospitals and all this other crap, here's an idea why don't you try to keep the fentanyl from even hitting the street. Also offer a legal and safe alternative for addicts like other countries are doing, it works for them why wouldn't it work for us!

  3. Joe shmo

    Idk I agree with both sides they are wastes of space and people who should be loved as all do. Society needs to be less hateful more compassionate. But people choose certain things. Addicts have been rewired mentally and are to a degree controlled by the poison. Also they are in control of themselves not mindless drones so not everything can be passed of as "it wasn't me it was the drug". People are individual clap of hands to the former addicts commenting who turned around and are doing well. Some addicts are scum some are people who could change the world. Rambling but point is those who throw the book at and condemn the junkies are right, those that say they need a helping hand are right but it is a matter of the person using. Sure they could be you or your family member or they could be Manson dahmer or Hitler. Blanket statements are meaningless.

  4. recovery 101

    NYC in the lower has many recovery type meetings, and three clubhouses. Too bad this was not even a part of their story, of course this was a story about people struggling with their addiction not their recovery.

  5. recovery 101

    Addict exploitation movie. I always wondered if any good could come out of paying someone to get high(low) and filming it. Where's the LOVE? There must be something wrong with me, because I could not turn it off!

  6. Mike Hughes

    I sawthis Doc when it first came out... anyone know where they are now???

  7. collective_poo_machine

    i think you people like sounding intresting on the internet, but really you made of coal.

  8. davy11

    i enjoyed this doc. really raw insight to a drug addicts life. they could easy be me or anyone else on here. i suppose its about the choices we each make or past expierances. i dont think u could do much worse to yourself than sticking needles in yourself. thats as close to rockbottom as u can get. but watchin this doc would deter others from doing so. i love this website. u guys do a great job at TDF

  9. Joshua Sweany

    this doc was BRUTAL. very very very good and real! im sad to say the realness is of course at the expense of peoples lives! but theres a lesson about choice in all of this. The variables of free will across the board eventually lead some to a life like this.

  10. Jeffery DeWayne Martin

    thank you. i appreciate the lack of spin, bias, additive, and other common cancers found in other many documentaries. it was genuine, it was simple, it was a camera standing in for all the eyes that too often stay closed to this reality. it brought up so many glimpses of my self and events and periods of my own struggle. i shed more than one tear during this film, for the subjects on the screen and for myself, as my reflection shone back at from each of they'r faces. i will have these people in my head for a long time from now, hoping they will make it out of the ashes as does the phoenix..... all while remaining painfully aware of the reality of things, and the most likely end to most of they'r stories. i wish i didnt know that the phoenix was a mythical creature. still.. i still hold a child's hope of against all realistic expectations, i will witness one's rising from a mystic fire. magic.. miraculous.. a sense of hope for the people in this film, and for myself.

    1. Sean Merchant

      amen to that man. I walked this path through hell myself and fortunately made it out before it was too late.

  11. Mcnabb

    I agree with pipo, they are human waste. Weak.

    1. Jeffery DeWayne Martin

      weak? human waste? i would save such titles for those so far from human and with minds closed too tightly to see that weakness is a trait of all humans, even you. what, really, is human waste? i would say people like yourself who apparently consider themselves intelligent and of strong will, but who take no time to learn more about whats really behind the problems of they'r fellow man. people who are apparently stronger of will and spirit than these "weak wasted humans", but lend none of that strength to help they'r fellow man. you'r contribution is a one line generic insult.. how can a human really be a waste? by having the ability to learn, to listen, to attempt to help his fellow man, fellow humans.. and does nothing. that is human waste. why would you even post your comment at all, mcnabb, pipo. just to further weaken these people? did you post from your desk at your jr. high school that you are head bully of... or did you just need to feel better than someone? thank you so much for all you've contributed here with your in depth, heartfelt, intelligently stated ideas and philosophies. these weak pieces of human waste on that film showed more strength and will most likely will contribute more to help others in the world by sharing they'r stories with the rest of us, as humiliating and as painfull as they were. you need to take some time to re-evaluate who's truly wasting they'r humanity here. who is truly weak.. the weak who reach up for a hand to grasp, or the strong who's hands stay in they'r pockets? i'll let you be the judge, since that seems to be what you do best....

    2. Sean Merchant

      You tell 'em man I find it frustrating just how soulless some people are. These two couple gave us a intimate view of their lives and the life of addicts in the grip of heroin and crack; that takes stones. I hope and pray that someday they find their way out of that hell

    3. Guest

      I did not watch the doc, but no matter what's in it....human waste is the shite we expell from our as* and sometimes from our mouth.

    4. Sean Merchant

      Walk ten feet in their shoes and say that. Say what you will but these people are still human beings. Also,if you didn't watch this "doc" than how can you judge them? Take it from someone who was there for five years,once you start down this path it takes the "gift of desperation" (a miracle) to get out of it. I have been clean for ten years, I have a house (bought and payed for), two kids and a wife (who went down this road with me). In my opinion you sound very uncaring and uneducated in the power of addiction. Maybe someday you'll change you tune; just be thankful your not in this mess and pray for those who are.

    5. Guest

      My comment was not targetting the people in this doc or anyone who lives a similar experience. My comment was in response to McNabb for what he had written below. I have much compassion for anyone who has strong addiction, actually i have compassion for anyone who is going through thick and thin knowing full well that it is by conquering our own difficulties that we immerge strong and able to help our loved ones, the ones we touch every day.
      In retrospect i think my comment to McNabb wasn't appropriate, at one time or an other we all have a cold attitude towards other people's problem and a lack of understanding, but life often takes care of softening us.
      I congratulate you. Stay is all that is needed and you seem to be surrounded by it's flow.

    6. Drazen Vojnovic

      you and stupid pipo are human waste, ignorant selfish fools

    7. Sean Merchant

      words escape just how shallow and soulless your comment is. Your contribution to this discussion is pointless,heartless and selfish. I don't know kiddo, other than you have a LOT to learn about the human condition and the world around you.

  12. j.hustler

    listen, i was there through this whole doc, i refused to exploit myslef and let my family see how bad it really was, but for those saying this is fake or that any of my friends were oxygen theives, i guess you will understand when this disease hits home, and its happening in your loved ones life,, becarefull to judge. i know all of these kids hung out with them daily like a brotherhood and i promise you. living on the street and doing what we had to do was not a dream or first choice. we were victims of prior abuse and at the time nyc provided a play ground of fake hope and a way to earn money and i suppose you can say take care of your self. but how dare u say they are oxygen thieves. you my friend and your spirit and out look are the thieves. sorry you will never get it

  13. beauregard

    This is a gripping doc. It deserves an A. Every cocky kid should be made to watch this video in order to avoid this hideous lifestyle. All drug addicts care most for their next fix. The two men in this film are particularly parasitic, though. Street drugging should be so illegal that every one found participating in it should be locked up for awhile, for the good of everyone.

    1. avd420

      That would have the opposite of the intended effect.

  14. zeck

    oxygen thieves, although i do like Matt.

    1. Sean Merchant

      Zeck if they are "oxygen thieves" than what the hell are you? Let me guess and outstanding upright citizen hell bent on making the world a better place for all mankind. If your not part of the solution your just another additive to the problem, so untill you can show the rest of the world how its done then shut the hell up!

  15. matthews

    poor people

  16. Mantram

    Word@Anon´s comment! <3

  17. HoboBoxerJoe

    I agree, I was never as bad as you, Campbell M, but I did spend a few weeks living out of my car at one point. I was lucky enough to have a mother and father that didn't give up too easily. My brother couldn't care less about what happened but on top of that I had a few friends as well who just completely gave me up for dead.
    Which I don't resent them for, most people don't understand and aren't trained to understand.

    The couple in this film that got a place, by luck of one of them having well-to-do parents, is simply that, stroke of luck by association. I don't know what drove that young girl to do it. But it is amazing how quickly life can spiral out of control. Her dad is certainly not wrong for buying her shelter, clothing her, etc. But what she needs is to be watched and supported by that family. As sick of it as they may be. Getting off the streets after that long and going into a home can be the mesmerizing step to healing.

    Personally I don't even understand what got me clean to this day. It had several factors, like all people it can be a whirlwind breaking bad and becoming a junkie and an equal whirlwind becoming sober again. A strange dichotomy. What I noticed with myself is that the urge to get sober was there long before it happened. It just took something to trigger it into happening. I didn't go to an expensive rehab, I didn't seek counseling. I did get put on methadone by a doctor for pain and norco for pain as well. And much of the time I don't even take the Norco (which is like percocet or lortabs) and I don't abuse my methadone. I still admit that if I were around certain pharmecuticals I would likely abuse them. So I stay away from them.

    I live with my dad who supports me and helps me get my focus on my life again. I'm 24 and have been in deep envy for the past 4 years of almost everyone, and that's no way to live. For drug addicts and street addicts it becomes worse. I'd rather be clean (going on 3 years), and not abusing, then where I was. I was a 220 lb heavyweight boxer and I dropped to 145 or so lbs at one point, now I'm up to 240, flabby, and out of shape, but at least I got some meat on my bones again.

    Point is, never give up on your problems. Shows like these serve us well in showing us how we can have our low points mentally far before we hit them physically. And sometimes we are better for it. Two weeks on the street and some extremely violent street fights and encounters with firearms and worse showed me real quick. I was one of the lucky ones to get out as quick as I did. And I really see that now. Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict is also another fantastic portrayal of addiction. Raw, emotional, heartbreaking, haunting, all that stuff.

  18. Campbell M

    I have been clean for 6 yrs now and now am employed as a recognized substance abuse counselor. at one time i was homeless hustling anyway I could to get enough money for my next shot. life was all about the next high, how would i get the money what could I do to myself or someone else to get it. this movie is real and those that cant see that haven't been there. I was shaking at the end of the movie. we used this movie in a substance abuse group session and it hit hard. excellent documentary.

  19. burddog

    This was a great documentary , the folks in this where probably everyday joes at one time . To the person that calls themselves pipo,, walk a day in ones shoes before you judge one day that could be you or a child of yours.. I have seen drugs take down sunday school teachers to PTA parents. Just becareful what you say about your human brother..

  20. Charles B.

    Wasted years.

  21. doc-fan

    Eye opening, makes me overwhelmed with gratitude of even small things I have access to...

  22. Henry

    the scenes with the vice scam are fake or at least the "johns" are voice overs. Lame.

    1. Sean Merchant

      Ohh really? Prove it. Or is this just your "expert" opinion? If you think this was staged then you are highly overrated

    2. switcharoo1

      I would think the producers of this doc had to voice over the "Jon's" or else they could have run into legal trouble. What if someone recognized their voice or whatnot? On the other hand the sound could have been bad since she was probably hiding the mic somewhere really well and the "Jon's" voices couldn't be picked up. With everything going on in this film I doubt they are going to make scenes up....what would the point be?

  23. Patrick

    Wow! this is the most powerful film I have ever seen. So freaking sad. This is like Requiem for a Dream all over again for me.

  24. dana

    i went out with sebastion after this was made and hes nothing like this anymore. im proud of you and will see you soon!!! bas i miss you and hope to see you soon. love you!!!

  25. Nielsch

    Yo vlatko :D

    I'ts broke :( User doesn't allow embedded video's...
    Thought I'd let you know...


    1. Vlatko

      Fixed that. Thanks.

  26. tator

    sickening...... gritty and real. everyone that uses drugs, even relationally and responsibly, should watch this film

  27. Anon

    I saw a documentary about a heroin addicted girl, about 20 years old. When she was five, her grandfather began raping her to the point where he damaged her hips and she was hospitalized. Her own mother convinced doctors she'd fallen down stairs and the abuse continued. When she told that story, it made perfect sense why she had become a homeless heroin addict - what chance did she ever get?

    She isn't 'human waste' as one commenter wrote, her grandfather is.

    My point though is, before folk go and judge addicts, take a moment to consider WHY their lives have turned out this way and to all of those who balk, scoff and think these people deserve what they get, ask yourself, what would Jesus do?

    These people are still our 'fellow man' and none of them, given the right set of circumstances would behave the way they do, if they weren't using heroin.

  28. Kyra

    I was just going to watch the first video then ended up watching the whole thing...
    why don't they show these kind of films in the theatre!?
    Well there are many reasons why. I guess if they did our society probably wouldn't have many drug users to begin with.
    anyways, very interesting film.

  29. froggy614

    wow .. great doc.. it really takes you into the world of addiction .. some people think that addicts deserve the pain from living a life like that but i think that everybody makes mistakes and take make some bad choices... i don´t think anybody deserves living that hell, because it is hell what they are living.---- everybody deserves a chance to get back on their feet and start over. I think we as humans should do everything we can to help....

  30. joey sspencer

    Look, I am a heroin addict. Or at least i was. For twenty two years I lived through the same thing if not worse. Now I'm a writer. I write newsletters, articles, and im working on my book (38 Scars) I have put together a foundation too. Silver7s Foundation was founded with the principle that individualized addiction treatment, allows the addict to be more comfortable with the idea of what recovery is, and it also allows the empowerment of inclusiveness.

    In creating his/her own recovery program, they became invested in their own future, while bolstering their sense of self. It also produces a more invested participation. We are opposed to any treatment that requires the addict to surrender their will and life over to the care of anything other than themselves. We are not subscribers to the theory that addiction is an incurable life long disease. These are poisonous ideals, coercive and destructive in their practice.
    That is the reason why AA/NA actually keep addicts in the cycle of addiction. They are killing people with their cult mentality

    I strongly suggest Suboxone treatment for heroin addicts it helped me, along with a counselor that is not tied to the disease model of addiction and groups that are focused on the Individual program that the addict helps to create. the hope you need is not lost. you can find it again, and i will help you, and not try to sell you anything or treat you with disrespect. i was where your at now. i made it out and you can too.

  31. bob geldoff

    the guys talking in the cars when she does her scam are fake.... obvious

  32. Dre

    I wouldn't even disparage the people in this doc. They get enough of "your a waste" already, but it was really insightful into what world their living in compared to my comfortable lifestyle. The doc. definitely shined a light on a lot of issues incurred on these guys, that they were joint at the hip as couples, and the false optimism which was prevalent in their attitude to kick the drug habit. Yes, it was harrowing, but shows the potency of the drug as well and all the other factors rolled in one that lead to such depravity.

  33. pipo

    human waste...

  34. gemini

    Haven't seen a raw one in awhile. My favorite. Thanks Vlatko.

  35. Paul

    Remember when you were a kid and the world just didn't seem like it could get so bad?

  36. blaxparx

    How sad and pathetic. That human beings can be reduced to such a level. Some scenes made me think 'these people are wasting good oxygen on this planet'. But I suppose the drugs make them
    unable to make any sort of 'decent human value judgments'. All in all this documentary was enlightening in that it requires you to think more deeply about the entire way the drug problem is handled. There has to be a better way.

  37. William

    At the risk of sounding utterly selfish, I think docs like this are great to watch on what one may think was a "bad day". Very well done. I love my bed.

  38. beeXnice

    This made me feel like I was right there with them. I can truly appreciate these kind of documentaries.

  39. Yavanna

    Same the world over pretty much.

  40. Shugga

    What an AWESOME concept, thanx, gonna watch this right now!

  41. Robert

    It has Danish subtitles.