The feature length documentary film ADDICTION brings together the nation's leading experts on drug and alcohol addiction with a collection of award-winning filmmakers to shed light on addiction, its causes and the latest and most prominent developments in treatments. Its focus is on case studies and new medical treatments. A supplementary series of 13 short films delves deeper into the various dimensions of addiction.
Documentary:Includes 3 discs of additional content that will not premiere on the network.
Interviews:Includes additional interviews with: Nora Volkow, M.D. Mark Willenbring, M.D. Michael Dennis, Ph.D. Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D.
This groundbreaking HBO series teams some of America's foremost experts on the vexing problem of addiction with some of the most talented documentary filmmakers working. The result, Addiction, is a riveting pastiche of short spotlights on the deep wounds, scars, and battles affecting the growing numbers of people plagued with addictions, especially to drugs and alcohol. In A Mother's Desperation by Grey Gardens co-filmmaker Albert Maysles and Susan Froemke, a Pittsburgh mom is wrung nearly dry in her frantic attempt to keep her daughter alive through her horrifying addiction to opiates. At one point, she resorts to having her arrested: the ultimate in tough love. Other segments look at the devastation wreaked by alcohol, that most sanctioned of social drugs, and how people in varying social and economic strata have tried (and in some cases, failed) to overcome their heart-breaking diseases. A lot of emphasis is given to medical solutions and research, and less to some methods with very established success records (notably, Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups). But the filmmakers may have felt the work of A.A. has been explored deeply over the years, and also doesn't necessarily work as a film subject. The ones they have chosen to focus on, including struggling teens, insurance lapses, workplace stigma, etc., are gripping enough.
The set comes with even more intense and deeply reported footage (more than four hours' worth of extras) including interviews with addiction experts, and fascinating brain research that shows how the flawed addict brain reacts. There's also a helpful paper guide to the series, with talking points, which can make the series a useful tool for health professionals, teachers, 12-step groups, and even families who are desperate to understand this often baffling condition. It's not a breezy experience, but watching Addiction will surely change hearts and minds of those touched by one of the most destructive conditions in modern life. --A.T. Hurley