Broken up into segments Addiction is a mind changing series of short films that take our preconceived notions about addicts and throw them out the window. The main film that is currently airing on HBO has 9 pieces that are assembled in the following order:
- Saturday Night In A Dallas ER
- A Mother's Desperation
- The Science of Relapse
- The Adolescent Addict
- Brain Imaging
- Opiate Addiction: A New Medication
- Topiramate: A Clinical Trial for Alcoholism
- Steamfitters Local Union 638
- Insurance Woes
The brilliance of this series is the it looks at the multi-faceted complexity that addictions harbor in people. For example, I am sure that many think that young people become addicted because they don't have a parental figure guiding them. This might be true in some cases but in the A Mother's Desperation portion of this film, it is very clear that this woman's daughter would have become an addict regardless of the kind of parents she had. Other segments like The Science of Relapse and Brain Imaging examine the scientific aspects of addiction. We see how our brains make a substance that helps us cope with the world. Drugs and alcohol seem to have that same effect. The process of wanting these things is so quick, that our brains can't even process the idea to not want them.
Other segments like Opiate Addiction: A New Medication and Topiramate: A Clinical Trial for Alcoholism, show how medicines are currently being employed to rid people of their addictions. These segments also make it clear that, sadly, the addicts might simply be trading one addiction for another. Another interesting piece in this ensemble is Steamfitters Local Union 638. This looks at men who have problems with alcohol but they aren't the kind of people that ask for help easily. This group seems to have banded together to try and solve their problems from within. They talk about how the culture and history of the job almost had a predisposition toward alcoholism, and how unless they work together they aren't going to be able to get some kind of grasp of their addictions.
HBO has put together a very powerful show with Addiction. All told, the final summary seems to be that we need to look at it in terms of a medical disorder. By criminalizing it and creating a war against it, society seems to have placed addicts in a position that only seems to further their need for substances. Sadly, our healthcare system is set up so that we don't insure or even recognize addiction as the dangerous problem that it is. In addition to the stories currently airing on HBO they also have supplementary and complimentary segments available via HBO on Demand and HBO.com.
Addiction is currently airing on HBO.