Everyone loves sitting down for a movie night, with the lights dimmed and a bowl of freshly popped popcorn to share. Many film critics and industry experts have noted that we’re living in a “golden age” of documentaries, and films about substance abuse and recovery are no exception. Whether you want to explore what other addicts have been through, or feel inspired by someone else’s recovery journey, it’s worth checking these films out next time you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking movie.
Russell Brand, star of comedies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, made this documentary to provide an unflinching look about his self-destructive addictions and how he decided to change his life for the better. He also interviews experts on the science of addiction and explains how users and non-users alike can understand the disease better.
The goal of this 2011 film is to debunk the misconception that marijuana is a harmless, non-habit-forming recreational drug. The movie follows 22-year-old David Goldenkranz, who finds himself addicted to marijuana despite his best efforts to quit.
Many documentaries sensationalize the “rock-bottom” side of drug addiction, so one that focuses on the real lives of people working on their sobriety is a refreshing change of pace. The recovery experience is the central theme of this 2015 movie, which is about a group of men and women in Seattle who are training to climb Mt. Rainier under the leadership of former Army Ranger Mike Johnson.
This Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary follows three women on the front line of the opioid epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia – a state with the highest age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving opioids. Ten percent of the people who live in the Huntington area have developed an addiction to IV drugs. Heroin(e) depicts the everyday realities of life in this community, the impact heroin has had and the fact that compassionate people can make a difference.
This 2018 film provides an eye-opening look at the realities of ADHD drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin. Anyone who assumes these medications are not dangerous because of how commonly doctors prescribe them should watch this movie to gain a new appreciation of their potential for misuse, especially among young people who might decide to sell them to their peers to use as study drugs. This movie is a must-see for parents of young adults taking these meds for a diagnosis of ADHD.
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