10 Best Drug Addiction Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

Almost everyone knows someone, close or distant, who has struggled with drug addiction at one point in time. It could be a distant relative or someone you went to school with, but the sheer probability of it just goes to show that this situation is getting worse with each passing year. Yes, there are a lot of places that offer help/information concerning such matters, but there are also a lot of stigmas surrounding the same, with people not understanding that no one actually wants to be an addict.

Honestly, it’s often just a slight misjudgment on their part that leads them down this dark road, which could’ve easily been avoided if they had proper knowledge of not only the aftermath of their actions but also of what drugs really are. So, here’s a list of some brutally honest narcotics-related documentaries on Netflix that delve into the same. You will find all kinds of films as well as shows here, ranging from those that touch upon addiction to those that explore the infamous concept of war on drugs.

10. Highland: Thailand’s Marijuana Awakening (2017)

Every country has a different set of cultural, political, and economic scenarios. There might be some gestures that are considered cool or acceptable in your country but might not be so welcoming in another. A similar case follows for marijuana as well. It might not be such an important issue for the American economy, but it paints a whole new picture for Thailand. ‘Highland: Thailand’s Marijuana Awakening’ follows the events that led to its legalization in the country and how it affected the political and economic climate of the country. This documentary presents the opportunity to be a great learning experience about both weed and white elephants!

9. The Business of Drugs (2020)

As the title suggests, ‘The Business of Drugs’ is a documentary series that aims to understand the origins and actual impact of how different kinds of tightly controlled substances work. In other words, it follows a former CIA analyst, Amaryllis Fox, as she investigates the economics of six illegal narcotics to reveal the way they make people lose all inhibitions and thus partake in extremely risky endeavors. This six-part mini production also focuses on aspects like farming, smuggling, and sales to demonstrate that drugs are never just fun and games; they go way beyond and affect more than just the people using them.

8. The Legend of Cocaine Island (2019)

Treasure hunts are awesome. You get to play Sherlock, follow clues, and find cool stuff. It seems a very entertaining game for children, but some people actually do these things for a living. Every year, expeditions are launched to look for some hidden treasure or discover the truth behind a myth. ‘The Legend of Cocaine Island’ follows the story of a man who goes on a quest to find cocaine worth $2 million! But, like any other treasure hunt, the journey to this will be rife with troubles as well. Will he be able to overcome them and change his life, or will he finally give up?

7. Take Your Pills (2018)

Everyone is addicted to something, whether it be food, substances, or just little things like music or reading. But while most of the world is busy trying to keep their children away from marijuana and cocaine and heroin, another form of drug is gradually taking over their lives. It’s no secret that today’s world is of cut-throat competition, and one needs to keep their wits about themselves if they hope to survive the pressure. Thus, either to cope or for a boost, a lot of people have often found solace in prescription drugs, especially Adderall. Some might believe that these aren’t as bad because they are not as hard a drug as, say, heroin, but ‘Take Your Pills’ proves them wrong.

6. Drug Lords (2018-)

After watching so many tales about antiheroes, we know that things never end so well for them. No matter how rich they get, how many people they kill in the process, and what ends of the Earth they run to escape justice, karma never fails to deliver. ‘Drug Lords’ follows the stories of such people — from the ones who have been the kings of the trade to the ones who haven’t acted as more than simple rooks to carry out business for some other titan they serve. Everyone has a role to play in the drug business, and when the time comes, everyone will pay their dues.

5. Cocaine (2005)

In order to eradicate a problem, you have to first delve into its core cause. You have to find out as much as you can about it, right to the basics, because it’s only when you know where it comes from that you can do something to uproot it once and for all. Cocaine is one of the most commonly consumed drugs, and its cause and effects go much deeper than just the addicts that we see in our community. From the drug lords who get rich out of it to the farmers who are forced to do anything to survive in this farmer-unfriendly world, the three-part documentary series entitled ‘Cocaine’ gives you a never-before-seen story.

4. Heroin(e) (2017)

Opioids are tricky; they aren’t legal in any way, shape, or form unless medically prescribed by healthcare providers, yet they continue to be a part of most communities. That’s precisely what ‘Heroin(e)’ profiles by following three women – a fire chief, a judge, and a street missionary – as they attempt to battle the harrowing opioid epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia (the epicenter of the crisis). Directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon, this Oscar-nominated film gives us an authentic look into the reality of heroin, with a particular focus on the devastating cycle of its abuse.

3. Recovery Boys (2018)

Also helmed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon, ‘Recovery Boys’ is a documentary that centers around four men attempting to reinvent themselves and reenter society as sober individuals after years of drug use. They’d forged an unbreakable bond while recovering together in a farming-based rehab, meaning that they support one another at every step of their way in the real world as well. Honestly, with the different yet similar stories of identity, survival, temptation, and resilience, this 2018 movie can only be described as a masterpiece.

2. Murder Mountain (2018)

This one is for those who would like to educate themselves on drugs while watching a true-crime documentary at the same time. Set against the misty backdrop of the Humboldt County of North Carolina, ‘Murder Mountain’ essentially focuses upon the marijuana industry in the region as well as the murders that transpired there. Several people have also disappeared from here, but the worst part is that most of these cases remain unsolved. One such matter is that of Garret Rodriguez’s mysterious yet horrific death, which this six-episode documentary delves into while waking us through the cut-throat marijuana business of this place.

1. Dope (2017)

Vices cannot be conquered in a day — a battle has to be fought, if not won, on a daily basis. Every day, you need to tell yourself that what you are doing is worth it and push yourself to work harder. At least, this is what law enforcement officials do. Even amid an endless battle with drugs, where they might often feel like they are on the losing side, these people don’t falter; they keep pushing on. But they are not the only ones involved. There are addicts, especially recovering ones, who have to take a course that might as well be personal hell in order to save themselves from imminent doom. The efforts of these people are encouraging, but is it enough to survive? ‘Dope’ answers that.

Read More: Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix

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