With Netflix adding tons of documentary options to its collection, it may be hard to choose which ones to watch. Along with various documentaries on everything from health care to LGBT rights, the streaming service has a small but strong set of films exploring the drug industry (both legal and otherwise) and the issues surrounding the trade. Here are five drug-themed documentaries to watch on Netflix.
1. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
While many of Netflix’s drug-related documentaries cover the dangerous and terrifying world of the trade, not all of them fit this mold. Enter DMT: The Spirit Molecule, a documentary that dives into the mysteries of the strongest hallucinogen known to man. Most of the film is based on a study from one doctor, who conducted a five-year study in the early-’90s covering the effects of the drug, how it changes peoples’ perception of reality, and how it’s actually a natural-occurring chemical in the human body.
2. Cocaine Cowboys
This powerful 2006 documentary, directed by Billy Corben, explores the rise of cocaine and the resulting crime epidemic that swept Miami, Florida, in the 1970s and 1980s. The producers interview everyone from law enforcement officials, journalists, and lawyers to former drug smugglers and gang members, in order to provide a first-hand perspective of the Miami drug war. The film is gripping, gritty, and intense and poses some hard questions about the drug trade and its ability to turn a city into a crime-infested war zone.
3. The Culture High
A sequel to the 2007 documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, this 2014 doc is about the war on drugs in the U.S., specifically focusing on marijuana. It tackles the issues with and motivations of the war on drugs and what could change with the legalization of marijuana in more states. This well-regarded documentary has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
4. Russell Brand: End the Drugs War
Comedian Russell Brand has never shied away from controversial topics. In favor of decriminalizing drugs himself, Brand investigates how various countries’ drugs policies are working. He looks at the different sides of the issue by joining police for drug raids and also talking with drug users and visiting drug dens. While Brand is known for sharing his opinions loudly, a review from The Telegraph said, “the truly insightful scenes came as Brand stepped down from his soap box and focused on the human stories behind the statistics.”
5. Drugs, Inc.
This documentary series from National Geographic focuses on the different roles of people involved in the drug world and what their motivations are to sell, deal, ship, etc. different kinds of drugs. It covers the production and sale of drugs as well as the culture and crime that come along with it. Two of the show’s seasons are currently available on Netflix.
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