Addiction Recovery
By BrightView
Published: May 20, 2020
Updated: June 3, 2024

Often the best stories about recovery can be found in documentaries.  Most documentaries are created to change or improve society or shed light on a certain injustice or issue.   Documentaries have the power to portray realism and emotions in a way that can captivate a viewer, giving the viewer a completely different frame of reference to then make or shape their own opinions.   Documentaries about drug and alcohol addiction are mostly made to give you a sense of feeling what the person in the film feels, how the “addict” deals with their problems, what their family feels, and  how their addiction affects everyone and everything around them.  Documentaries about drug and alcohol addiction also shed light on everyday injustices, from the way people with addiction are treated in society, in the criminal justice system, and the overall stigma of addiction that goes along with all of this.  Here are eight documentaries about addiction and recovery filmed within the last four years, available on all different streaming platforms, that are worth watching.

*Please note that some of these may be graphic in nature and show violence, paraphernalia, and individuals using drugs or drinking alcohol.

1. Heroin(e): Netflix

Filmed in West Virginia, this documentary features three women who live and work in the “epicenter” of America’s opioid epidemic.  This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

2. Understanding the Opioid Epidemic:

A powerful documentary that combines stories of people and communities impacted by opioids. It traces the causes behind the unprecedented growth in use of prescription opioids and the devastating impact drugs are having on the United States.

3. Russell Brand – From Addiction To Recovery: Netflix, Amazon

Drawing on his own desperate journey through heroin addiction, this documentary defies conventional theories and social policies about drug use and treatment.

4. Addiction:

Hear firsthand from individuals struggling with addiction and follow the cutting-edge work of doctors and scientists as they investigate why addiction is not a moral failing, but a chronic, treatable medical condition.

5. Drinking to Oblivion: buy on Amazon for $2.99

Louis Theroux spends time at King’s College Hospital in London – a specialist liver center – where he immerses himself in the lives of patients in the grips of alcohol addiction and the medical staff trying to make them better.

6. Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic:

Filmed in the opioid epidemic ground zeros of Seattle, Kentucky and New Hampshire, the film features poignant stories from recovering addicts and families with losses; reveals the insights of leading doctors and law enforcement officers; reports the failure of drug companies to take appropriate responsibility for the crisis; traces what monies legislators have received; and focuses on those who fight back with effective, long-lasting treatment programs.

7. Recovery Boys: Netflix

Filmed by the same director who filmed Academy Award Nominated Heroin(e), this documentary follows four men attempting to reinvent their lives, mend broken relationships, and navigate all of the ups and downs that come with recovery.  It is intimate and courageous at the same time.

8. Addicted: America’s Opioid Crisis: YouTube

With great fury and determination, this documentary fearlessly confronts the traumatic results of the opioid epidemic – from devastated communities across the United States to the individuals who have been left grieving or dead in its wake.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, we encourage you to contact us today. Our friendly and caring recovery center staff answer the phones 24 hours a day. 888-501-9865