A seven part BBC Three series from 2016 which explores drug problems in different parts of the United Kingdom, filmed at a time when drug related deaths in the country are rising sharply. Each episode explores a unique drug problem in a different UK city. All seven episode are available to watch here on Documentary Vine, navigate via the numbered tabs below the video player above or use the episode list below.
The first episode explores the legal high epidemic in the city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, following a 27 year old man named Liam over a period of three months as he attempts to get clean from a synthetic cannabinoid called black mamba. Initially legal and sold in local corner shops, synthetic drugs like Black Mamba have since been outlawed by the British government due to the health and social problems they were causing.
This episode focuses on a group of vigilantes in an area of Manchester who violently attack heroin addicts to tackle what they perceive to be a growing problem with the drug, as well as some of the heroin addicts that they target. The vigilantes are, ironically, users or dealers of cocaine themselves.
This episode explores the problem of Valium abuse in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow where there have been spate of deaths linked to the use of both legitimate Valium and fake Valium, a quarter of drugs deaths in Scotland in recent years have been linked to abuse of the drug. A huge oversupply of the drug has led one expert to proclaim that Valium really has become “cheaper than chips”.
The filmmakers go on a road trip of the UK meeting various people who are taking cannabis and believe that it is curing them of their serious medical conditions or at least helping them to manage their symptoms. In the UK the government position is that cannabis has no therapeutic value and medical marijuana is not legal, but in the US the drug is now legal for medicinal purposes in 50 states.
Swansea is in the grips of a serious heroin epidemic (which was previously explored by Vice in their documentary Swansea Love Story), this episode looks at the serious health effects intravenous drug use is having on users and local health services. Common problems include abscesses and infected open wounds, with some users even having to have limbs amputated.
People associate MDMA and rave music with the acid house scene which gave birth to the Second Summer of Love, but there is a new generation of users and ecstasy use is on the rise. This episode is filmed in Newcastle and explores widespread use of the drug by kids born in the 90’s who use it to help them to socialise and open up with friends, but demand for ever stronger pills which are often made by amateurs in their bedrooms brings about some risks.
The seventh and last episode explores the problem of alcoholism in London, following Garry who is desperate to kick his alcohol addiction, a young entrepreneur named Nathaniel who runs a business which delivers alcohol when the shops are closed, and some volunteers who look after people on the street who have had a little bit too much to drink.