From the outside, life in Oceana, West Virginia seems ideal. The oldest town in Wyoming County is distinguished by beautiful mountains and soothing streams, an unhurried pace, and the simple pleasures of an unpretentious existence. But beneath the surface lies a sinister underworld. The scourge of prescription drug abuse has ravaged the community, resulting in widespread addiction, rampant crime and escalating death rates.
The award-winning documentary Oxyana places us inside the center of Oceana's heartbreak and despair, and paints a harrowing portrait of modern day small town America.
It wasn't always like this. At one time, Oceana was a booming coal mining capital. Then, the corporations came in and claimed the lion's share of an industry that has previously belonged to the people. Older generations began to fall ill from black lung and other diseases. Economic downturns hit families hard. With few job prospects and even fewer options for extracurricular activities, the youth quickly grew listless and unengaged.
Perhaps this embedded sense of fatalism set the stage for addiction's lethal grip. Regardless of its origin, residents are now in the throes of an epidemic of unprecedented proportions. Oceana fills more prescriptions per capita than any other city in the country by as much as 50%.
The film documents the daily lives of its inhabitants without intrusive commentary or judgement. An emergency care worker reveals that an average of one patient a day dies of a drug overdose in their hospital. A desperate mother sobs and pleads with her son to attend rehab before his child is born. Teen girls speak of their experiences serving as prostitutes in exchange for a single dose of Oxycontin. A young man reflects on the drug-related deaths of half of his high school graduating class. A drug dealer explains the inner workings of his criminal enterprise. His efforts are empowered by shady figures within the medical community, and they reward him with extraordinary profits. But even he understands the dire human costs of the service he provides. "It's killing a lot of people and it's not going to stop," he says.
Oxyana captures this stark reality with unbearable honesty at times. The community it portrays is at war from within, but it's not so far removed from countless other cities and towns across the United States.
Directed by: Sean Dunne
I thought my mom was the only one who said “no one can do it but you. If I could do it for you it would have been done.” Just started crying right then.
I am in so much pain I can't walk. Advil, aspirin, and especially tylenol, is useless to me , and all these over the counter drugs accelerate severe joint damage, plus liver damage. I can not even get a tylenol 3 because of the war on drugs. Tylenol 3 allows me to sleep at night. I can not sleep now because of the never ending stabbing pain in my hip. I have osteoarthritis from working construction all my life. Thank you , DEA f*cks. I kn ow you will never end up in my situation because you don 't actually work for a living. But because of a few people that overdosed on really hard drugs, I have to suffer.
I grew up in Oceana , enlisted in the navy at 17 to get away from there saw this doc on PBS and it broke my heart to see the kids & grandkids of the people I grew up with and the town hitting rock bottom
WTF no government ?
Heartbreaking. Everyone is so honest about it. I hope they find a way to fight the scourge. Such a beautiful country; such a horrible addiction.
Hopefully, the addict/dealer wearing the red headband whose rhetoric is so ignorantly laced with the F word, has been arrested for so proudly displaying his trade. I'm sure there a lot of hard-working, honest people in Oceana who hate to see their town/region depicted so horrendously.
I have a lot of family from oceana. Growing up, we were always going there to visit, and the visits were magical. From the beautiful mountains, to the most loving people you'll ever want to meet. Oceana, matheny, pineville, all the way to princeton, wonderful people dying and suffering from this unforgiving disease. Its heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking.
Well produced documentary regarding the scourge of the early 21st century. Often the epidemic is the best kept secret any jurisdiction in the United States. DOCTORS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY LOSE LICENSES FOR BEING PART AND PARCEL TO THIS CYCLE OF DEATH.
Big pharmacy loves these kind of stories customers for life ,addiction to street drugs from the previous use of prescription drugs ? Pharma manufacturing they are in the billion dollar business of making money not in making you well .?
That is a multitude of weak-willed, defeated people.
I wish I could thank these people for sharing. This documentary is excellent journalism because it reports without editorializing. Each storyteller seems authentic and each story is poignant. One thing that strikes me, when listening to addiction sufferers, is that they use to feel "normal" or to not feel sick more than they use to get high. So sad.
Looks to me like economic interests have targeted that community for destruction. They probably want that valuable land.
We have military guarding the poppy fields in Afghanistan that supply the constant flow to pharmaceutical companies, then constantly push it during the endless commercial breaks on TV.
I was a addict for a heck of a long time but I'm clean since september 1997 and I never looked back, what the fuck is wrong with you guy's don't tell me you haven't hit rock bottom for me that was the day I grew a spine and went into rehab, shit yes it was hard but it's the best damn investment I ever did I invested in me.
I have a son who was 4 years old at the time he's 24 now and he as a Dad !
And so on goes the pharmaceuticals murderous regime of dangerous narcotics and over prescribed drugs
I think this doc was very sensitively produced. Many of the people in my family, my loved ones, have been devastated by prescription drug abuse. This film brings a stong focus on addiction as a 'companion' for people living with generations of poverty, shame, loss and psychological trauma from abuse in their families. It is time for a shift in our focus from the 'problem of addiction' to the 'problems that cause addiction'. Thank you for this film.