Warning: This Drug May Kill You
IMDB rating:
Perri Peltz
Storyline: An unflinching look at the devastating effects of addiction through the stories of four families whose lives have been decimated by addictions that all began with legitimate prescriptions to dangerous painkillers.
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Think opioid addiction is someone else's problem? Think again.
This HBO documentary is an OK introduction to opioid addiction as it exists in 2017. It's only an hour long and features a handful of families sharing their stories of addiction. In each case, the opioid addiction started with individuals being prescribed opioids for pain relief, but without needed education, support, and oversight. Individuals were prescribed high doses of multiple medications for too long, and they became addicted and then progressed to heroin when the prescriptions are cut off by the doctor and the (now) addicted person learned that heroin is cheaper than buying pills on the street.

I hear this story all the time in my work with people with substance use disorders. It's like a bad dream that recurs over and over again. But it's real, and I'm only seeing a drop in a larger ocean of pain.

I do wish HBO had gone ahead and made a 2-hour film (at least) with more in-depth information, including how the drug works in the brain/body of the addicted person, why one person becomes addicted and another doesn't, what kinds of treatment are most effective in supporting long-term recovery, the ways for families and other loved ones to support people in addiction and recovery, and the kinds of policies and programs needed to reduce the incidence of addiction and to help those who are addicted, etc. (I know HBO touched more on these matters in their 2007 Addiction movie, but that was 10 years ago.) It seems unfortunate to me that the movie introduced the problem with so little to say about what can be done to address it. Especially at a time when the current Republican government seems hell-bent on cutting insurance coverage for addiction treatment!

In a nutshell, this isn't a bad place to start if you've heard about the so-called opioid epidemic but don't know anyone affected and feel that the problem is someone else's and could never happen to you or your loved ones. But, it leaves a ton of questions unasked and mostly unanswered.
Big pharma's bucks and their collateral damage
This documentary looks at several middle class families and how well adjusted people had various illnesses of short duration and ended up addicted to OxyContin, then buying pills off the street when their doctors finally identified them as drug seekers, then to heroin as a cheap alternative, and then either ended up dead or in multiple relapses.

The illnesses involved were kidney stones, a cyst, and a C-section. The problem is, in the 1990s the manufacturers of the new opioid drugs were telling doctors that these drugs were not addictive over the long haul and that they could be prescribed freely for chronic pain. This is not to discount the usefulness these drugs have had for people in truly horrible long term pain due to cancer or car accidents, but M.D.s were passing prescriptions out like candy for a few years to people who didn't really need it and found themselves addicted in as little as one week.

There are stories of addiction, getting clean at clinics, and then relapsing at some point once released. Stories of children having to take care of and see their mother in a state that no children should have to endure, the stories of heartbroken survivors when the addict takes a fatal overdose.

There is also a look at a support group for parents who have lost children to this drug. The survivors are truly shell shocked, almost in disbelief that their Mayberry like existences would ever be permeated by drug addiction.

I can't remember if the documentary mentioned it or not, but you can't help but notice that everybody in this documentary is white and at least middle class. It could be because doctors have bias that makes them suspect non-white or poor patients. You also can't help but notice that all of the addicts here are offered rehab rather than incarceration.

This documentary is worth watching not because it breaks new ground, but because in spite of the warnings and the settlement with Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, ten years ago, this epidemic is still with us.
An amazing film that shines a light on a sad yet hidden epidemic
I loved this film- although the material is incredibly heavy, it presents the footage in an incredibly graceful and interesting way. The film essentially uncovers a hidden problem that exists in the USA. Moreover, the film is all about the victims of the opioid epidemic as opposed to focusing on experts which really provides the viewer with a candid understanding of what is happening around us. It is a must watch!!! Bravo to the filmmakers-
Shocking to see how ill informed we all are about this problem
As one who recently had spinal surgery and was offered pain killer (30 day supply!) upon discharge from the hospital and given no warnings about possible consequences, I was shocked to learn in the film how legally and professionally dispensed medicine can become addictive in a matter of just a few weeks, sometimes in a matter of days.

The film should be seen by everyone or otherwise more people will stumble into the unknown darkness of addiction which has devastating consequences for the individual involved, of course, but also for the immediate family as well.

This is a spiral of disaster and it is amazing that it can all happen so quickly.
A searing indictment of our failed war on the wrong drugs
Provocative, unflinching and at time utterly heartbreaking, Warning This Drug May Kill You takes us deep inside the lives of four American families shattered by the prescription opioid epidemic, the worst drug crisis this nation has ever seen. It is an hour long indictment, expertly delivered, of a culture and system that sold us on dangerous medications, got us hooked and then tried to dodge responsibility. We're still trying to dodge it, pretending that our drug problem is imported, and that a wall can stop it, when indeed the fault lies in ourselves. This is a challenging and important film. It should be made required viewing for our state an federal lawmakers.
Opioid addiction - a growing epidemic and how it can impact us all
Warning: This Drug May Kill You was EXCELLENT!! It should be mandatory viewing for all parents and children of a certain age.

I would use words like chilling and scary to describe what I saw. And if you think it can't happen to you or your family you are sadly mistaken.

Opioid addiction has become a scourge in this country. It's reaching pandemic proportions and it cuts across all demographics in society.

As someone who has lived through multiple replacement surgeries (both hips, my left knee and my right knee later this year) and who has been prescribed Opioid pain killers after these surgeries I know how easy it is to become dependent on them.

And as an aging athlete suffering chronic pain it would be so simple to use Opioids as a daily crutch.

As the parent of a 12 year old boy I am especially concerned about this horrific problem.

Director Perri Peltz dramatically illustrates how families are impacted by this addiction problem.

It's scary and touching at the same time and if you are a parent and you aren't moved by seeing this there is something wrong.

Time to empty your medicine cabinet.

This doc was a great public service and should be seen by everyone.
movie about opiate addiction
I found this movie to be extremely well done. It covers three families as they struggle with a loved one addicted to opiates...they started taking pain killers, then moved onto the less expensive heroin. Most films like this have a lot of newsy talking heads explaining how the viewer should interpret all of it. I liked that it had none of these, just a few black cards with statistics.

THe movie is really a fast paced must see, especially for those with kids. Keep them off any prescription pain killers, or at least monitor carefully and throw the rest away (not into the toilet to contaminate our waters!)

If you are looking for a good documentary that moves along, and really informs, this is it. It's a gem of a short film.
Powerful and shocking
This documentary is a cautionary tale about opioid addiction that packs a real punch. This isn't just another story about drug addition, it's a look into the lives of people who unwittingly became addicts due to medication they were legally prescribed. It's very powerful, very upsetting, and does a great job of shining a light on this problem. It's well worth an hour of your time.
Amazing and important film!
Warning: This Drug May Kill You is an absolutely outstanding film. What is happening with prescription medications and how addictive they can become is horrifying. This film could save the life of one of your loved ones - it is a 100% MUST SEE! It is informative, smart, well paced, and brilliantly tells a hard, but "must be heard" story. Perri Peltz did an exceptional job bring this very sad, but real story to life. She is to be congratulated. Amazing work! If you know anyone who takes too may pain killers or is using heroin - help them by seeing this incredible film. You could save a life.
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