We need to stop criminalizing people who are addicted to drugs and start treating them as people with a treatable disease.
We can learn so much about the nature of addiction and the road to recovery by watching addiction documentaries and hearing the stories of people who have struggled with addiction and found a path to healing and recovery.
Groundbreaking neuroscience research in the last two decades has transformed our understanding of addiction and many of these documentary films explore how the treatment of addiction is changing.
There is still so much to learn about how we can prevent addiction and help people who become addicted along the difficult road to recovery.
1. Addiction PBS Documentary
Hear firsthand from individuals struggling with opioid addiction and follow the cutting-edge work of doctors and scientists as they investigate why addiction is not a moral failing, but a chronic, treatable, mental health condition.
2. American Relapse: Addiction Recovery Documentary
Recovering addicts Frankie and Allie spend their lives helping other addicts but can they stay clean themselves? American Relapse, the feature film that inspired Vice’s hit documentary series Dopesick Nation.
3. The Hope Dealer: Helping Addicts Recover
The story of Lucy Hall redemptive journey from addiction to recovery and to starting one of the most successful drug rehabilitation programs in the United States after discovering a new approach to treating women’s health and substance abuse.
4. Reversing The Stigma
Reversing the Stigma is New York Emmy-nominated documentary that highlights the work being done in New York State to combat addiction. The film profiles multiple people in various stages of recovery, who share their stories and experiences.
5. Wasted: An Addiction Documentary
The story of one man’s search for the best new evidence-based addiction treatments. Discover a revolution in addiction research that offers hope to people whose lives and families are trapped by addiction.
6. Ten Dollar Death Trip: Inside The Fentanyl Crisis
The story of Fentanyl, a new synthetic drug is killing more than gun crime, homicide, and car accidents combined. 100 times stronger than heroin, the deadly opioid fentanyl is cheap, potent, and small enough to send in the post.
7. Prescription for Addiction
Prescription for Addiction is one of the most compelling addiction documentaries listed. It examines the growing problem of dependence and addiction to opioid pain medications with lots of good insights from doctors and health professionals.
8. Russell Brand: From Addiction To Recovery
The deeply personal story of English comedian, podcaster and actor Russell Brand as he looks back at the time when he was addicted to heroin, with his career on the brink of collapse, and being told he had six months to live if he continued.
9. Addicted: America’s Opioid Crisis
One of a series of BBC addiction documentaries that tells the tragic story of how opioids have ripped across the American heartland and devastated vulnerable people, their families and communities while enriching pharmaceutical companies.
10. Do You Care? A Documentary about Addiction
The remarkable and inspirational stories of 4 women who tell their Stories of how they went through the walls of Hell dealing with Addiction and then emerged on the other side to live and thrive again in recovery.
More Addiction Related Documentaries
1. Why Addiction Theories May Be Wrong
Is everything we think we know about addiction is wrong? Why do some people get addicted and others not? How do we learn to be addicted? How can we unlearn it? An interesting VICE documentary on addiction.
This Oscar-nominated addiction documentary film that follows three women: a fire chief, a judge and a street missionary who are battling West Virginia’s devastating opioid epidemic.
3. Coming Klean: Stories of Overcoming Addiction
This documentary film chronicles the lives of people who have faced and conquered addiction and looks at how to erase the stigma and to ultimately change the conversation surrounding addiction.
4. Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict
In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA have released this documentary film aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of addiction.
5. A New High
An ex-Army Ranger who runs a homeless shelter for addicts in Seattle tries to give them hope by leading them up one of the most treacherous mountains in North America – Mt. Rainier. Will their personal mountains be too steep to overcome?
Any other addiction documentaries that you would recommend?