Heroin: Cape Cod, USA (2015)

Heroin: Cape Cod, USA (2015)
7.2
  • 623
  • TV-MA
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release year: 2015 ()
  • Running time: 75 min
  • Original Title: Heroin: Cape Cod, USA
  • Voted: 623

Documentary examining the impact heroin has had on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, following the stories of eight people who are all in their twenties as they battle with their addiction.

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  • very well-intentioned but could have had more by 6

    This is a documentary that you can find on HBO on-demand and it's a part of a documentary series looking at issues in different parts of the country. It's a look at heroin addicts (among some other substances connected with it, like oxycodine and painkillers), all living on Cape Cod in Massachusetes. The focus is simply on the addicts themselves, which is fine up until a certain point. It's a collection of people who are in desperate ways, some started on their paths with no desire whatsoever to do drugs (some via bad accidents where they needed something to deal with the pain, which painkillers don't really do anyway in a concrete way), and may be facing death (and some of them, sadly, lose their lives in the course of the making of the documentary - a few of them it's easy to see, but others it's a tragic case of relapsing after being sober for a while), and it's compelling. It can't help but being so when looking at such desperate characters who, by their own admission, are facing perpetual downward spirals without proper treatment.

    I think if I wished for something more it would have been two things: that there was a focus on the location itself - it's in the title so it's not outside the realm of question - as Cape Cod is an interesting and captivating place where people come for vacation year in and year out (it's mentioned briefly how people who stay on the cape don't have much to do, which isn't very detailed). Why is the Cape different than other places? Is it because of the state itself and what it offers (how is it different than, say, Florida which is also a tourist destination)? Or is there something else that attracts these people to use in this place vs any other place (perhaps addiction is becoming rampant nationwide and this is just the focus, but if so why).

    The other thing was a little more focus from the medical side of it, or just another perspective to mix in with all of the testimonials from the addicts; the access is without much in the way of a filter - you feel like you're often there in the room - and yet there's no other voice to talk about why heroin addiction has become so rampant in this section of the country. This isn't to say this is something to avoid, far from it - if you're on HBO and see this and are compelled to watch something new about the world of heroin addiction, this has some good moments and tragic details. But the subjects carry some depth on other programs like Intervention.

  • Uncomfortable and heart sinking documentary by 7

    Many of us have been touched by the damage that Class A drugs can do, and for those affected close to home, this is a difficult watch.

    We have here an unflinching documentary which is no holds barred as the interviewees are the talking heads explaining their exasperations, failures and hopes to kick the heroin addiction. Giving free reign to the interviewees is quite a brave move, but it works and you feel that you are learning something. It's good to see it let them paint themselves and not resort to filming tactics to try to humiliate them.

    One of the most difficult parts is watching the help group for the parents of the addicts. They are honest and straight, and it can be quite heart sinking to see this.

    There is not necessarily anything ground breaking here, it's a window into a world where those there are in a downward spiral. It's difficult viewing but still interesting.

    Give it a viewing. A good job done by the documentary makers and hope others follow their example in how to tackle such a subject.

  • Not a great documentary if you're looking to get insight on heroin addiction by 3

    It's unfortunate this documentary had the faults it did, because it meant well.

    These were the issues that made it hard to watch for me:1) It was a little confusing how they put together the stories of the multiple people together to create this. I understand wanting to include many different voices and experiences, but including so many different people meant that some of the people didn't get to tell much of their story.

    Personally, I love watching these to get inside the heads of an addict so I can empathize better with those I care for and my loved ones. This didn't really offer much of a look into their minds and hearts because they had to be told so short.

    2) Some of the people interviewed seemed genuine. They were raw and vulnerable, and really seemed to care about being a part of this documentary.

    Others seemed to be more interested in bragging (literally) about stealing, neglecting responsibilities, and how they were a "better" addict than others. These were hard to watch.

    I understand they wanted a range of experiences. I'm not judging these people's lives. We all have our stuff we go through and it's great that these people put their struggles and vulnerability on display to raise awareness.

    I just feel some of them weren't interested in doing that, it seemed they just wanted to be on TV or something. Maybe if they had allowed us to see more of their stories it wouldn't have felt like this. I feel like they just randomly introduced people who wanted to brag.

    3) They spent a long time describing how "amazing" the heroin high is. I mean like at least 15 minutes. I understand that they need to let people understand why the drug is desirable, but they didn't need to spend so much time explaining it. My boyfriend is a recovering addict (3 years clean!) and he had to walk away from this because it was so triggering.

    I get that it's going to be triggering in a sense because of the topic, but he likes watching docs about heroin addiction because it helps him stay sober, seeing how far he's come and doesn't want to go back to that life. But this was super detailed, multiple people describing the high in very intimate ways.. I don't understand why they'd spend so much time just talking about how great it feels. Isn't this about awareness??

    4) The interviews with the healthcare officials seemed randomly placed too. They didn't add to the story told before they jumped in. They just jumped in with random facts.

    At one point, a pharmacist said "I don't know myself, but I have heard oxycodone produces a similar high as heroin". You don't know this?! They are both opioids... Why would they even include this clip in the documentary? This is supposed to be informative and the professional chosen to educate the public is admitting she doesn't know much.

    Scary that a healthcare professional wouldn't know that honestly, considering they've linked the heroin epidemic to the over prescription of legal opioids in the late 90s/early 00s.. people turned to heroin when they cut down on this. This is universally known information. Again, if she didn't know about the heroin epidemic, why include her?

    TL;DR:They could have made a great documentary so easily honestly. A pretty standard formula, considering the bulk is supposed to be focused on getting to understand and empathize with the people telling their stories. Instead this gave many surface-level accounts from people who use heroin. They spent 15 minutes detailing what a heroin high is like and emphasizing how amazing it feels.. in a documentary meant to spread awareness.Some of the healthcare professionals in the documentary admitted they didn't know much about the heroin/opioid epidemic but were somehow chosen to be in a documentary about it?The entire construction was messy and poorly executed. It almost seemed more like a reality show rather than a documentary.

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1Steven Okazakidirector