documentaries about drug addiction

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

The Best 8 Documentaries About Drug Addiction

Table of Contents

Documentaries are often the antidote to the humorous or positive depictions of drug abuse found in mainstream cinema. Documentaries on drugs, which are films rooted in facts, are more likely to depict substance abuse accurately. A wide assortment of informative and engaging best documentaries about drugs have been produced in the last few decades that show what drug and alcohol abuse is really like, what consequences it leads to, and what can be done about it. Some even feature the stories of recognizable public figures.

Here are the 8 best documentaries about drug addiction that you must see:

  • Oxycontin: Time Bomb
  • Take Your Pills
  • Marijuana: A Second Class Addiction
  • Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery
  • Understanding the Opioid Epidemic
  • Heroin(e)
  • Addiction
  • Drinking to Oblivion

1. Oxycontin: Time Bomb

This addiction documentary from CBC News is about the origins of the opioid epidemic. Oxycontin, a prescription narcotic produced by Purdue Pharma, is one of the most widely abused prescription pain pills available in the United States. This documentary explores how Purdue Pharma’s corrupt marketing campaign led to the popularity of Oxycontin as a recreational drug.

2. Take Your Pills

A documentary about addiction to prescription stimulants, “Take Your Pills” is a 2018 documentary from Netflix that explores the extent of prescription stimulant abuse among young people in America.

3. Marijuana: A Second Class Addiction

This drug documentary is about the long-term effects of marijuana. It goes to great lengths to shatter the misconception that marijuana is a harmless, non-addictive substance.

4. Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery

This recovery documentary covers the life of popular comedian, writer, and character actor Russell Brand. The documentary covers Russell Brand’s period of active addiction, but it also follows him along his recovery journey.

5. Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

This compelling documentary investigates the origins and repercussions of the opioid crisis in the US, shedding light on the role of pharmaceutical companies and societal factors. Through personal stories and analysis, it underscores the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to tackle opioid addiction.

6. Heroin(e)

This drug addiction documentary, available on Netflix, was filmed in West Virginia, exposing the truths of the heroin epidemic.

7. Addiction

This HBO documentary, a nine-segment film, aims to deepen understanding of addiction’s individual and societal impacts, aligning with a wider trend of productions seeking to illuminate addiction’s realities, injustices, and associated stigmas.

8. Drinking to Oblivion

This graphic documentary reveals the dire consequences of alcohol addiction through the lives of afflicted individuals in the UK. The film portrays the physical, emotional, and societal tolls of alcoholism, addressing its harsh realities and the challenges of recovery in the face of deep-seated stigmas.

Real-Life Recovery Stories

Our culture normalizes and glamorizes alcohol and drug use. The documentaries about addiction listed above show the truth about addiction and substance abuse. If you are ready to face your own personal truths and want to escape from the vicious cycle of addiction, you are not alone.

NuView Treatment Center, one of the best treatment centers in Los Angeles, provides a safe, supportive, and compassionate space for people struggling with drugs and alcohol. Our individualized treatment programs and evidence-based treatment methods are designed not only to help people get sober but to ensure they stay sober.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Drug Addiction Documentaries

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Documentaries provide a factual and often raw insight into the world of drug addiction, helping to dispel myths and provide real-life perspectives. They serve as educational tools, shedding light on the complexities of addiction and its impact on individuals and society.

While mainstream movies might glamorize drug use, documentaries on addiction present a more realistic and often harrowing view of the consequences of drug abuse. Unlike fictional movies, these documentaries are rooted in facts, offering viewers a genuine understanding of the subject.

Not necessarily. Many recovery documentaries focus on the journey of overcoming addiction, offering hope and inspiration. They highlight the resilience of individuals and showcase the support systems available for recovery.

By presenting facts and real-life stories, these documentaries can educate the public, leading to more informed opinions and decisions. They play a crucial role in shaping perceptions and encouraging informed discussions about drug-related issues.

Platforms like Netflix, HBO, and CBC News often feature high-quality documentaries about addiction. These platforms curate a range of documentaries that offer diverse perspectives on the topic, ensuring viewers have access to comprehensive information.

A drug documentary is based on facts and real-life events, while movies might take creative liberties, potentially misrepresenting the reality of drug addiction. Understanding this distinction ensures that viewers are equipped with accurate information.

Recovery documentaries can inspire those struggling with addiction by showcasing success stories and the possibility of a life free from drugs. They serve as motivational tools, emphasizing the importance of seeking help and the potential for positive change.

Yes, documentaries on addiction often delve into the recovery process, highlighting the challenges and triumphs of those on their journey to sobriety. These films provide insights into the various stages of recovery and the support systems that play a pivotal role in the process.

Documentaries about drug addiction accurately depict substance abuse by presenting real-life stories, expert insights, and unfiltered visuals that showcase the challenges, consequences, and societal impact of addiction. These films often incorporate personal narratives, scientific research, and candid portrayals of addiction’s physical and emotional toll, striving to authentically capture the complexities of this issue.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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