A collection of documentaries that can help you learn more about addiction.

Crisis Next Door: The Fentanyl Epidemic

"Crisis Next Door shows how fentanyl has destroyed the lives of thousands of North Carolinians, what the state is doing to fight this epidemic and what more is needed to save lives. North Carolina is in the grip of a drug overdose epidemic, with fentanyl being the primary culprit. More than 4,000 people in North Carolina died from drug overdoses in 2021, the most substance abuse related deaths ever recorded in the state. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), 77% of those deaths involved fentanyl."
Addiction PBS - The Science Behind Addiction, Dopamine, The Reward Pathway, and Opioids

Addiction: The Science Behind | PBS

This incredibly informative documentary from NOVA PBS discusses opioid addiction, highlighting that addiction is not a moral failing, but rather, a treatable chronic medical condition. It provides a general overview of the science behind addiction, detailing how dopamine, the reward pathway, and other brain regions change as a result of substance abuse, and how these changes result in drug-seeking behaviours and withdrawal. While there are several personal stories from those affected by addiction, the primary focus of this documentary is to provide education on the science behind addiction and the importance of evidence-based treatments.
Screenshot from Killer High: The Silent Crisis about opioid, fentanyl, overdose

Killer High: The Silent Crisis (Fentanyl)

This powerful documentary explores the impact that fentanyl is having on the United States, particularly on youth living in Fresno, California. You’ll learn about the opioid crisis through the eyes of the families impacted by it, the law enforcement officers who are desperately trying to get it off the streets, and the medical professionals who witness countless opioid-related overdoses and deaths.
Screenshot from Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis ; decriminalization, stigma

Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis (Stigma & Drug Use)

This documentary explores the origins of the opioid crisis to its current state today. Those who are impacted by opiates are interviewed, including law enforcement, medical professionals, and people in recovery. "Their frank discussions highlight disagreements inside the activist community over controversial new strategies to combat the opiate epidemic. Each diverse perspective points to an undeniable obstacle at the center of the crisis: stigma."
Screenshot from Contaminated: The Fentanyl Crisis in St. Louis; harm reduction, opioid crisis, overdose epidemic

Contaminated: The Fentanyl Crisis in St. Louis

"Fentanyl is the defining drug of the overdose epidemic in St. Louis. It has no taste or smell, even a handful of it could kill thousands of people. It reaches into every corner of society, suburbs and cities, rich and poor, black and white. Many who become addicted have no idea they're even taking it and it's caused drug addiction in the region to spiral out of control. More than 70% of overdose deaths in the St. Louis area now involve fentanyl. We spent months looking into the local crisis. This story is told by recovering addicts, those fighting for change, and those left behind."
Screenshot from The Fix: Examining Rhode Island Opioid Epidemic; the opioid crisis, addiction, and recovery

The Fix: Examining Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic

This documentary covers the opioid crisis in Rhode Island specifically, but the messages within it are important for all communities. While there are some personal stories from people who use drugs, the main focus is on listening to the opinions of frontline workers who see the societal impacts of addiction on a day to day basis.
Screenshot from Chasing the Dragon: The Life of An Opiate Addict; from prescription medications to heroin

Chasing the Dragon: The Life of An Opiate Addict

The FBI and DEA released this documentary "in an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse" with the hope that it will help educate "students and young adults about the dangers of addiction." You'll hear in-depth stories from several people, some who are in recovery and others who have lost a loved one.
Screenshot from Bryan's Hope: Heroin & Opiate Prevention & Education; opioid, heroin, prescription medication

Bryan’s HOPE: The Heroin Epidemic & Prescription Medications

"Bryan, I'd like to think, was just like any other boy growing up, active, happy, healthy. It wasn't until he starting taking prescription Vicodin that he morphed into somebody that I didn't know." Everyone in this documentary has something unique to offer - their own personal insight into the opioid crisis, the addictive strength of prescription medications, and the easy move from pills to heroin.
Screenshot from Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction; Prescription Medications and the Opioid Crisis

Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction

This documentary covers the opioid crisis in Arizona. You'll hear from frontline workers, policymakers, and counsellors, as well as parents who have lost a child and those who made it to recovery. This video focuses on the route that people take to becoming addicted, starting from being prescribed a prescription medication to suffering from a full-blown addiction. It also discusses the ease at which people are able to obtain the pills, as well as some stories about medical professionals who abused their prescribing powers.