"Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" is a new documentary from HBO that is set to air on December 28. It chronicles the true stories of eight heroin addicts that live in Falmouth, showcasing the lives of those who are caught in the growing opiate epidemic across the United States. Covering the life of a 21-year-old who become addicted to heroin after being prescribed pain killers after a severe injury after they were struck by a drunk driver, as well as the 28-year-old drug dealer who makes a round trip to Boston every night to up his supply of drugs, this documentary covers it all. There is no part of the journey that is left out during this seventy-six-minute long film.
It takes a deep and unflinching look at the lives of these eight addicts, all of whom are in their early twenties. It shows a complex yet repetitive struggle with life as the stars of the documentary cycle through different stages of addiction, rehabilitation, recovery, and relapse.
This documentary comes in response to the huge opiate crisis that is circling the United States. Opiate related overdoses have quadrupled in the U.S. since 2001 and this number is growing higher every day. While the crisis is national, Massachusetts itself has an overdose rate from opiates that is more than double the average for the nation. In addition, eighty-five percent of the crimes that are committed within Cape Cod are related to opiates. This is one of the reasons that HBO has centered this documentary in this area.
This documentary is directed by Steve Okazaki, who won an Academy Award Oscar for his work on "Days of Waiting: The Life and Art of Estelle Ishigo, and it offers a humanistic take on opiate addiction. While the struggles of those in the documentary may be difficult to watch, the ways in which young people become addicted to opiates is shown clearly. It does not offer happy endings for everyone in the documentary, in fact, some of those in the film died of overdoses.
One of those who died was 22-year-old Melissa. She became addicted to opiates at the age of fourteen after trying her friends pain medication. This slowly grew into a serious opiate addiction that she began to feed with heroin until she overdosed and died at 22. Another woman, Arianna, had been battling her opiate addiction for years. She had stopped using her drug of choice, heroin, for three years after realizing she was pregnant. She was able to stay clean for a little over three years before she suffered an overdose that killed her at the age of 23.
Opiate addicts come from all walks of life and the recovery process is difficult and long for many of them. Many people who use opiate drugs will suffer an overdose during their use and not all will make it out of their addiction alive. This documentary provides a snapshot of the ways that opiate addiction overtakes your life.
There will be a premiere held for "Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" on December 17 and will be held at the Cape Cod Community College.