USA: The Trade – New Documentary Series on Opiate Crisis

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‘It needs to make you uncomfortable’: the opioid documentary set to shock America

Documentary Amanda Holpuch Wed 31 Jan 2018 22.00 AEDTLast modified on Thu 1 Feb 2018 04.58 AEDT

The Trade is a new docu-series focused on the stories of addicts, their families and the law enforcement officials trying to curb the epidemic that kills 91 Americans a day

Fifteen minutes into The Trade, a new docu-series about the US opioid crisis, a woman is seen injecting heroin in a dingy Atlanta hotel room.

“I hate this shit,” she mumbles as the drug takes hold.

It’s now her friend Skyler’s turn. He ducks into the bathroom to use and soon the two are sitting on the bed: the woman sobs while Skyler simply offers her a cigarette and sits quietly by her side. He’s not panicked and it’s clear this isn’t the first time they’ve gone to a hotel to shoot up.

Each day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose. The five-part docu-series, which premieres Friday on Showtime, bypasses the didactic timeline of how the US got to this position and instead places the audience in unvarnished scenes of human suffering.

It’s an intimate style the director, Matthew Heineman, used in the Oscar-nominated Cartel Land, and it puts a face to people affected by the crisis.

The camera keeps rolling as women with children are investigated by police for their connection to the opioid trade in a home filled with kilos of heroin, in a car driven by an intoxicated mother and in a front yard, being taken away by child protective services.

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