Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street

Published on 3rd February 2016 by

Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street is a 1999 documentary by esteemed filmmaker Steven Okazaki, it follows five heroin using youths in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco as they went about their day to day lives between 1995 and 1998. The result is a grim depiction of the unglamorous and frequently highly dangerous life of a heroin addict and the depths at which they will sink to feed their habits.

Prostitution, male prostitution, drug dealing, and theft feature in the film, as do some tragic overdoses and a positive HIV diagnosis. This film was one of the most popular on HBO in the year which followed its release and it has regained popularity again in recent years since reappearing for viewing online.

The vast majority of people who watch this documentary will inevitably be left wondering what has happened to them in the intervening years. You can find all the answers you need on our article: Black Tar Heroin: Where Are They Now?

Academy award winning director Okazaki returned to the topic of heroin addiction with the 2015 documentary Heroin: Cape Cod, USA which deals with the subject of heroin addiction in more unlikely surroundings, a middle class area which has been hit by America’s new prescription drug fuelled heroin epidemic.


Tracey from the show went on to get clean and in 2016 released a book on her life, she writes about her time living on the streets of Tenderloin, her recovery, the rebuilding of her life and relationship with her mother, and discusses what she believes is wrong about the rehab system in America. The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin by Tracey Helton Mitchell is available in kindle, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

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