A new docu-series, “The Trade”, aired on Showtime, showcases America’s tragic opioid crisis from a completely different perspective. The opioid epidemic is the worst crisis that America has faced in so far. The devastation it has caused far exceeds the scale of the Vietnam War and the HIV/Aids crisis. What sets the series apart from others is that, instead of focusing only on the numbers and questioning how America reached this unenviable position, the documentary gives a first-hand account of the epidemic, through the lens of those who have been affected the most–the individuals struggling with addiction and their families. It also looks into the daily battles of the border patrol agents and law enforcement officials, as they struggle keep a check on the inflow of drugs from across the border.
The series has been directed by Matthew Heineman, the director of the Oscar-nominated Cartel Land. It is a compelling watch, as is evident within minutes of the film’s progression. A woman is shown injecting heroin and later her male friend does the same. She is shown crying and even voices her displeasure about using the drug. The series also shows the parents of drug users later locking them out of their home, for violating the home policy of ‘not doing drugs’. The parents kept a strict abeyance to their “no drugs” policy and despite repeated yelling and pounding on the door, refused to open the door for the kids in the throes of drug use. The series successfully leaves one with a feeling of discomfort, as intended by the director. As one of the parents, Jennifer Walton, involved in the entire episode says, “It needs to make you uncomfortable. You need to discuss this.” She further mentioned that keeping the identity anonymous was responsible for keeping people sick.
America’s drug crisis, the origins and the future estimates
President Trump declared the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency on October 26, 2017, under the federal law. He had also acknowledged the current epidemic as one, which had affected almost every race, community and ethnicity. The opioid epidemic is responsible for many deaths every day. Though the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and bodies such as the DEA and the FDA pass new rules for tackling the drug crisis, there has still been no improvement. Drug traffickers continue to sneak in drugs through the back door. The rate of deaths caused by an overdose has been spiraling.
The origins of the crisis goes way back to the 1990s, when Big Pharma companies reassured doctors that those prescription opioids for pain would not lead to addiction. Until then it was not a common practice to prescribe opioids like candy pills. Because of the marketing efforts of companies such as Purdue Pharma, the sale of prescription pain relievers, such as OxyContin, increased phenomenally between 1996 and 2002. Slowly, the dangers of the drugs began to unfold, in terms of widespread overdoses and subsequent deaths. The fatalities that could be attributed to prescription opioids was more than the fatalities resulting from heroin.
According to the observations of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2016, 28.6 million people aged 12 or older had used illegal drug in the past 30 days. The use of illicit drugs arises primarily from marijuana and prescription opioids or pain relievers.
Waging a war against drugs
Any form of substance abuse, be it heroin or cocaine, can be dangerous. If action is not taken on time, it could be fatal. Apart from ravaging the life of the user, the drug is also responsible for unsettling the family life, causing unemployment and homelessness.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is imperative that you seek professional help. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline offers a variety of evidence-based treatment plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 or chat online to connect to the best substance abuse treatment centers in Texas or to get information on substance abuse treatment programs in Texas