Unlike movies and social media posts that are sometimes exaggerated, documentaries about drugs, if shot with the right intentions, provide a more authentic view of substance abuse. They capture real-life experiences and statistics related to a wide range of drugs and their effects on people and society at large. For many people who struggle with drug addiction, these documentaries can be exceptionally educative while offering inspiration and shedding light on the stigma that revolves around drug abuse. Here are the top 10 documentaries about drugs that are worth watching.

1. Addicted: America’s Opioid Crisis

Undeniably, this is the best documentary about drugs because it tackles all aspects that revolve around this issue. Addicted: America’s Opioid Crisis exposes how pharmaceutical companies are the masterminds behind the opioid problem in America.

One of the interviewees in this documentary is among the four whistleblowers who exposed the giant pharmaceutical company – Purdue. It also showcases the fight between authorities and drug cartels. This documentary digs deeper into the lives of opioid addicts, with its introduction being among the most emotional parts. It shows children narrating the harmful effects of addiction on their parents.

2. Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street

This documentary revolves around the lives of five young heroin addicts who are less than 25 years old. The most interesting thing about the Black Tar Heroin documentary is that it captures their lives from all angles.

Viewers are given an up-close and candid depiction of the dangerous life of heroin addiction, such as overdoses, incarceration, crime, disease, and prostitution. The documentary also involves the families of the addicts to portray how massive the effect of substance abuse can be. Families of the five young heroin addicts give the viewers a before and after heroin addiction.

3. Drugged – High on Alcohol

As society continues to socially accept alcohol abuse, Drugged is a documentary that shows the danger of this substance through the life of Ryan, who is a 28-year-old alcoholic. In this informative documentary, Ryan explains how he must drink daily, or his body will shake tremendously.

Ryan’s father, who was an alcoholic, somehow influenced his son into this problem. Things got serious when Ryan’s organs started shutting down due to the effects of alcohol abuse. He explains that he continued drinking despite being fully aware of the dangers it had on his body.

4. Heroin(e)

Available on Netflix, Heroin(e) is a documentary centered on three women, a volunteer, a paramedic, and a judge, who are at the forefront of battling the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. This gives you a full overview of what happens on the streets, hospitals, and the courts, which are synonymous with heroin addicts. The film doesn’t just show the dangers of heroin abuse but also portrays the lengths other people would go to save those in need.

5. Highland: Thailand’s Marijuana Awakening

When Thailand legalized marijuana, many players stepped into this market, intending to make profits. One of them is a former Thai boxer who is the main character in this documentary. Through his journey, we learn about the numerous benefits of marijuana and its legalization. It is a mini-series that has 20-minute episodes. Interestingly, the documentary is packed with lots of valuable information, which is why viewers should watch only one episode at a time.

6. Recovery Boys

Recovery Boys is the ideal documentary for any man trying to get his life together after defeating addiction. It creates a blueprint for what to and not to do in the recovery journey. This documentary follows the lives of four men who are getting treatment and extends to their lives afterward.

The documentary touches on both the good and bad things about recovery. It’s highly inspirational as it portrays the courage and strength needed to fix broken relationships with partners, friends, and families.

7. Montana Meth

Unlike most drug-based documentaries that are too general, this documentary specifically discusses the effects of methamphetamine addiction in Montana. The directors were very keen on the type of demographics they captured. They highlighted the life of a Chippewa Cree tribe member who started abusing meth at only the age of 11.

The documentary also shows an A student who dropped out after a year of starting meth. Then there’s a young lady who used to exchange adult services for meth in Montana. Disclaimer: it’s graphic, especially when showing the physical side effects of meth abuse.

8. Meth Storm

This documentary debunks the misconception that drug abuse only affects those in urban areas. Meth Storm follows the lives of a family of meth users in Arkansas in the United States. It portrays the socioeconomic conditions that often drive most people into substance abuse.

In the 95-minute documentary, viewers learn about the cheap methamphetamine that comes from Mexico. The producers of Meth Storm clearly took their time to understand the effects of the on this community before filming.

9. Generation Found

Generation Found is a drug-based documentary promoting a unique approach to this problem. It revolves around a community in Texas that creates a recovery high school for young people struggling with substance abuse.

The documentary encourages the community to tackle drug abuse as a whole instead of just leaving this fight to families and friends. In these institutions, young people are taught about the dangers of drug abuse and how they can recover and seek treatment.

10. Louis Theroux: Drinking to Oblivion

Released in 2016 by the British-American journalist Louis Theroux, this documentary shares his experiences with heavy drinkers in the UK. The documentary is set at the King’s College Hospital in South London, where Louis finds himself amid alcoholics whose bodily organs have been significantly affected by this drug.

Louis Theroux tries to show that alcohol is still a substance that can cause as much damage as heroin, cocaine, and meth. One of the victims of alcoholism is Joe, a 32-year-old who leaves the facility covered in blood but still goes on to buy vodka, knowing that it will eventually kill him.

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Last Update: July 11, 2024