Author: Justin Mckibben
Ever since August 28, 2015 anyone and everyone seems to have something to say about Narcos, the new hit series that debuted on Netflix and has a monumental momentum that has not stopped since. The show has been talked about on practically every channel, has flooded all Facebook (not to mention other social media) news feeds, and has become a centerpiece of conversation in every medium.
Even the people who have never seen a single episode have chattered about how the plot must be well worth the hype, and everyone else eagerly awaits a second gripping and climactic season.
So why has Narcos taken over, and what hidden truths of the drug trade can we learn from it?
Narcos is an American drug trafficking crime drama television series that was created by various talented writers and producers, including:
- Chris Brancato
- Carlo Bernard
- Doug Miro
Narcos has Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha in the captains seat, and thus far he appears to have done a great deal of justice to the material.
This uniquely epic is so far a 10 installment long episodic portrayal of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel has a thrilling way of packing a serious punch, while also entangling the tales of United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents.
Narcos unravels a dramatic reenactment of the real life events surrounding of the progression and expansion of cocaine drug cartels across the globe, while highlighting law enforcement efforts to bring it all crashing down. Wagner Moura stars as notorious Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, with plenty of blood and brutality to go around.
True Narco Cinema
The series is set during the 1980s Colombian drug war, but it’s more generally about the myths that drug lords, politicians, and cops tell the communities they serve, which has historically been a way they preserve their power; feeding into the fear and mythology that surround them.
Narcos producers call this “magical realism,” but it is actually an old Latin American genre of a storytelling tradition called “narco cinema,” comprised entirely of B-movies about the drug trade. Narco cinema works its own magic through a deeply romanticizing the power and violence of drug lords; turning cops into villains, drug kingpins into underdogs turned heroes, and beauty queens into narcos.
Underneath all this, Narco cinema skillfully exposes the weaknesses and corruption of government systems that have allowed the cartels to infect them and take advantage of the people, which is a clever way to show the truth of how cocaine and cocaine traffickers like those on Narcos have devastated the lives of those around them.
Many people who have made a habit and even a living of dissecting and evaluating films and media have praised the series, and one thing many have pointed out is even though the show has bent the truth a bit to make for more entertaining television, it may more accurately portray the uglier, more sinister side to the reality of drug cartels.
Narcos has been valued by many as the first American production in the true narco-cinematic legacy. Unlike most American depictions of the drug trade, Narcos manages to glamorize its protagonists while still revealing the disturbing structural problems they are working within, exposing the world to the key dynamics in the real life drug wars; specifically the way drug lords and corrupt cops and DEA agents mold their own myths and do everything in their power to instill those terrifying yet empowering legends about them in order to preserve their power over the people.
Drug lords oppress the people, they terrorize communities and they destroy lives across the board. Yet because they are made into these grandiose legends of rags to riches through overcoming injustice, they are idolized. What Narcos has done in the eyes of many is it has continued to stroke the ego of the drug lord just enough, while trying to show the viewer just how disturbing and tragically wicked the world of the drug dealer can be. It is not all fun and games, not all a hero’s journey. It is a twisted and ugly world, and the hidden truth they try to display is that the legend is more important to the drug lord than the truth, because the truth is a lot uglier and a lot less heroic than the stories they tell about themselves.
Along with dramatic series about drug abuse and drug trafficking, Netflix also features some excellent drug documentaries that may also give you insight into how substance abuse and addiction destroys lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
With the northern states set to receive their fair-share of snow and talks of blizzards, it’s a good idea to be prepared with things like food, water, and toilet paper. But, once the basic needs are covered, if you’re snowed in, here’s a list of stuff to do.
#1. Netflix binge!
Duh! Or, here’s a here’s a novel idea…
#2. Read a book
See what I did there? That’s called a pun. Pick up that book you’ve had on your nightstand for like, two years. It will no longer taunt you.
#3. Play games
Board games, card games (Cards Against Humanity is a favorite), or video games – or a combination of all of these. If your friends are snowed-in in other locations, you can still play games with them, such as Trivia Crack or Words With Friends.
#4. Organize your closet
Ugh, sounds like a nightmare but, if this is something you’ve been meaning to do but keep putting off, it’s just another thing you have hanging over your head and creating stress in your life. Think of it this way: you’ll feel much better after you do it. And accomplished, too!
#5. Clean out that junk drawer
Similar scenario to the closet. We all have that one (or several) junk drawer that’s gotten out of hand. You probably can’t get it to close all the way anymore. Think about how nice it will feel to bring some organization – even to your so-called junk.
#6. Rearrange a room
Slow your roll…this isn’t necessarily cleaning. Have fun being creative by rearranging your stuff. You might be surprised to find that you’ve created a much roomier room simply by switching places with the sofa and the TV.
#7. Try out a new recipe
Here’s another way you can play around with your creativity. Crack open one of your mom’s hand-me-down recipe books or consult Pinterest for ideas at cooking or baking a new-to-you meal or treat.
#8. Do yoga in your living room
Or wherever you have the space to do it. Maybe you’re already a hardcore yogi. Or maybe you’ve always wondered what the whole yoga obsession was about. Now’s your chance to experience it. You can look up how to do yoga on YouTube.
#9. #10. Dig out!
As in, venture outside and dig a path in the snow. It’s great exercise and, if you do venture out, you can…
#10. Have a snowball fight
What better way to enjoy being snowed-in than to get back in touch with your inner child.
#11. Call your parents, siblings, and/or an old friend
Catch up with all your peeps, you know, the ones you’ve been meaning to call/text.
#12. Make a list of your goals for the next few months
Really take the time to think them out and write them down so now you’re accountable to yourself.
#13. Clean out your phone contacts
If you’re like me, you’ve got tons of people in your contacts that you don’t recall who they are. Even the word-hint after their name no longer means something to you. Also, this is a great opportunity for getting rid of the people you do remember that have proven to be toxic friends or ex-hook ups who make you feel terrible.
#14. Create all those Spotify playlists you’ve been meaning to make
If you’re a music fan like me, being stuck inside is the perfect opportunity to organize your music into playlists and share them with all of your friends who have been bugging you to do so. Also, you can take this time to check out other people’s playlists and find new people to follow.
#15. Write a letter to someone you haven’t talked to in a while
Or to a best friend, someone you talk to often. There’s nothing like getting an old-fashioned, hand-written letter since we’re so used to only getting texts and emails these days.
Listen to the sounds of the snow outside and breathe deeply. Clear your mind. Nothing’s gonna happen while it’s snowing this hard. Take the time to relax.
If you or someone you love is isolating because of other reasons, not just inclement weather, such as due to a substance abuse disorder like drug addiction, help is available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are here day or night, rain or shine (or snow) 24/7 to take your call. You are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
The LA Times defines binge-watching as “any instance in which more than three episodes of an hour-long drama or six episodes of a half-hour comedy are consumed at one sitting.” Let this serve as our definition. Going by this, I’ve definitely been guilty of binge watching. And the more I give in to the desire to binge watch, the more I want to do it. That is, in my estimation, the very aspect of addiction.
And I’d be lying if my idea of time well-spent – say an entire weekend – was burning up my Netflix account for every penny it’s worth. I’d also be lying if I said that I didn’t look forward to the end of my work day just so I can slip into my yoga pants and cozy up in my bed, binging on whatever new program I’m currently hooked on.
Is Nextflix the Next Addiction?
It could be argued that binge-watching is merely a replacement of one thing for another. That is to say, according to once an addict always an addict dogma, I am substituting one addiction for another, this time I’m binging on network programming instead of heroin.
The mind-brain of the addict is said to be addicted to the pleasure-chemical dopamine, but, there might be more to it than that. However, the whole “addictive personality” concept that people throw around is a cliché, widely understood as the whole, “I want what I want when I want it.”
Just like you’d find with the fast food industry, there’s a science to the irresistible draw to Netflix and the like. The exabytes (equal to one billion gigabytes) of data used by Netflix discovered that people prefer to watch TV-shows in long sessions as opposed to several short sessions. The results of this abundance of information data led to all of those original shows created by Netflix in an attempt to give the consumer exactly what they want.
When I give in to my binge-watching urges, I always have high expectations about just how much I will enjoy lying in bed, watching episode after episode, and basically doing nothing. And time and time again, I realize that what I wanted made me miserable. It’s like chasing that first high; it never measures up. On top of that, I’ve spent the whole day doing nothing and suddenly, I’ve spent the whole weekend doing nothing. Tomorrow is Monday (ugh!) and the cycle repeats.
But, is Netflix the next addiction or is it something less worrisome?
A less serious claim may be that my tendency to binge-watch is some kind of guilty-pleasure-syndrome. We all have those.
An even less serious way to describe it is that I am just decompressing. After a long day at the office, where I have to be “on,” I need some time to “veg out.” In this on-the-go culture, we all need some time to decompress. If we don’t stop and recharge our batteries every once in a while, we’ll surely burn out.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist day or night. We’re here to help.
While there are plenty of shows available to watch that pertain to the production, sale, and use of illegal drugs in our society, there are some that stand out to set examples of situations and circumstances, and give a detailed perspective on the lives damaged and the battles waged over drugs. Netflix has a reasonable selection of shows specifically based on the subject, but these are definitely some of the best shows about drugs on Netflix, for a number of reasons.
Best Shows about Drugs on Nextflix: Reality TV
(2012) 3.8 Stars Rated: TV-14
Drugs Inc. is one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix because it actually takes an indepth look at a variety of narcotics from the perspective of users, dealers, law enforcement officials, and other experts. The 2 seasons available on Netflix takes a look at the production, export, sale, and consumption of the illicit drug trade in a documentary style series. So far the show has included exploring:
- Pill Nation
- Designer Drugs
- Grand Theft Auto
(2011) 3 Stars Rated: TV-14
Weed Wars is centered on the Nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California, and features some of the biggest names in the industry of Medicinal Cannabis. The first season opens up with a look at the family business, and how the owner Steve DeAngelo has dedicated his life to the development of the industry.
It has become one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix by showing how the changes in the medical marijuana policies had effected those in support of the healing power and culture of cannabis in the Oakland area.
Extreme Drug Smuggling
(2011) 3.6 Stars Rated: TV-14
This series is one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix because it follows the efforts of law enforcement officials across the borders of America as they investigate and combat the evolving tactics used by cartels to smuggle narcotics into the country. These illegal enterprises are constantly adapting their methods, and so law enforcement must change their own strategies to keep up with the cartels as they try to expand their markets.
(2010) 3.6 Stars Rated: TV-14
As one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix goes, Addicted is one reality series that take a deeper and more personal look at the lives and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
This is an American reality television series that follows the lives of individuals who are struggling with addiction as they work with interventionist Kristina Wandzilak. The series originally premiered on the TLC network on March 17, 2010. Addicted returned with a second season on August 28, 2012 on the TV network Discovery Fit & Health, and has also aired on TLC.
On Netflix there a 6 available episodes featuring the stories of several different people who are fighting a few different addictions, and with the detailed views from family members, as well as intensive looks at the afflicted in active addiction, this series has earned a spot as one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix.
Best Shows about Drugs on Netflix: Television Drama
(2005-2012) 4 Stars Rated: TV-MA
Weeds is a very popular television drama series that has followed a suburban mother whose husband suffers a sudden and untimely death, and she finds herself struggling to maintain the lifestyle afforded to herself and her family. Ultimately this chain of unfortunate events leads her to start selling marijuana to her affluent neighbors in order to keep up, and this only brings more misfortune and scandals. This series also shows that the stigma of the ‘drug dealer’ can no longer be limited to the poor and urban communities.
The show is probably one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix based on its healthy mix of comedy and drama, while driving home some lessons along the way.
(2008-2012) 5 Stars Rated: TV-MA
The dynamic, thrilling, and emotionally charged story of Walter White (AKA) Heisenberg has definitely earned its spot as one of the highest rated shows on television, and as in this authors opinion THE best of the best shows about drugs on Netflix(in regards to a fictional drama).
For those of you who have never heard of this show, where have you been and how long have you been sleeping? The series follows a high school chemistry teacher Walter White who is informed that he is dying of cancer. In desperation to leave his growing family with more than a bill for his funeral, he ventures to build a fortune by teaming up with a former student to manufacture and distribute crystal meth.
Breaking Bad does an incredible job of not doing much to glorify the lifestyle, and actually articulates how much damage and horror can come from drug dealing, drug addiction, and the violence surrounding the smuggling trade. Characters are depicted painfully real in this show that displays the rise and fall of a drug empire, and the devastation caused to the lives of all that it touches.
There is a great deal people can learn about the severity of the growing problems with drugs and our culture. With views from all sides of the conflict on drug laws and the war on drugs in society today, and with some dramatic character depictions of fiction based plots centered in the underground drug market, people can see how the problem reaches from law enforcement and politics to the home front and the lives and families afflicted in the struggles of addiction. While there is some entertainment in these, one should be able to see how deadly serious the issue is. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
If you are interested in learning more about the culture of drugs and substance abuse, there are plenty of documentary style films out there specifically to educate the public about the politics, law enforcement, and the tragic stories and fatal realities of addiction. The best drug documentaries on Netflix are those that depict either an in depth look at the political and economic elements of the war on drugs, or they are those who give an honest and revealing look into the lives of those suffering from substance abuse or addiction.
The best drug documentaries on Netflix may range from long term impacts on society from decades of drug history, or from the most recent developments in the war on drugs and how these changes affect society now. Now this is a matter of opinions, but most of the listed documentaries are rated fairly high out of 5 stars awarded by Netflix. These are the best drug documentaries on Netflix that are available to you now.
Best Drug Documentaries on Netflix- Political Preference
The following best drug documentaries on Netflix are described mostly as being more focused on the efforts of politics and law enforcement in the history of the American drug culture.
Drug Wars: Silver or Lead
Rated NR: 2008
3 ½ out of 5 Stars
This is a graphic documentary examining the drug wars waged in Mexican border cities like Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo where there is a large concentration of drug smuggling. Kidnappings, torture and executions are commonplace in these tormented areas, and brazen gangs are funded by cartel businessmen. The film takes a deeper look at the situation from the viewpoints of the drug gangs and their victims. Director Rusty Fleming includes disturbing images of the conflict as well as dramatic re-enactments in one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix.
High: The True Tale of American Marijuama
Rated UR: 2008
4 out of 5 Stars
Filmmaker John Holowach directs this absorbing documentary about the causes and effects of the war on drugs that also investigates into the not- so popular and often unnoticed politics and economics behind the scenes. This is one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix as it exposes the broken lives and casualties left behind by this relentless struggle. The director elaborates more on the infamous drug rehabilitation program Straight Inc., the growing battle against prescription pain medications and the abuse of such pharmaceuticals, and even the history of the marijuana legalization movement.
American Drug War: The Last White Hope
Rated NR: 2007
4 out of 5 Stars
Detailed and personal commentary from soldiers on both sides of the conflict that is the war on drugs makes this one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix. Kevin Booth’s insightful film walks into the dark truths of the American war on drugs, exposing it as the longest and costliest war in U.S. history. Taking viewers from prisons and inner-city streets to the halls of Congress and his own kitchen, Booth attempts to sort out the particulars of the national drug policy — and the reasons many suspect the effort has been an absolute failure.
How Weed Won the West
Rated NR: 2010
4 out of 5 Stars
Kevin Booth (American Drug War) again offers an intense chronicle into the exploding popularity of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of California and the varied reactions of law enforcement. Focusing on the controversial story of Organica, a legal Los Angeles pot club that was raided in 2009, the film also gets a lot of input from a wide range of medical marijuana advocates in the community, including a former LAPD cop, making this one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix.
Best Drug Documentaries on Netflix- Look at the Lifestyle
The below listed best drug documentaries on Netflix are described as being more specific toward showing the impact on individuals across national or even global areas who are afflicted with addiction and substance abuse issues and examines the narcotics that fuels such serious addictions.
The World’s Most Dangerous Drug
Rated NR: 2006
3 ½ out of 5 Stars
Cheap, powerful and highly addictive, methamphetamine, better known as Meth or Crystal Meth, has been called the most destructive and dangerous drug in the world. Lisa Ling is a correspondent for National Geographic who investigates why in this documentary charting meth’s impact across America, along with the rest of the world. From rural communities and suburbs to major urban areas, Lisa Ling travels the globe talking to those who’ve been affected by the potent narcotic and its devastating influence on the lives of addicts.
The House I Live In
Rated NR: 2012
4 out of 5 Stars
This documentary is a little darker and more clear cut. The House I Live In shines a harsh light on America’s “war on drugs” and its long-term impact on society, by focusing primarily on the people effected by the struggle with addiction and substance abuse, as well as those fighting to have it treated. This is one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix because it captures the stories of dealers, police officers, prison inmates and others affected by the crusade. Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki earned 4 out of 5 stars for this very intimate look at the world of addicts.
Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded
Rated UR: 2014
4 out of 5 Stars
This is one of the best drug documentaries on Netflix because it is an expanded version of the documentary based on the recounting of the 1970s Miami drug market becoming the hub of international drug-smuggling operations. The documentary shows how the dealers adopted advanced technology to increase their profits and change the war on drugs. This new cut spotlights the 1970’s Miami club scene’s major players with over an hour of new footage.
There is a lot of information in these documentaries to increase awareness and give more insightful views of the growing drug problem in society, politics, and the economy. The best drug documentaries on Netflix may also give you an idea of how substance abuse and addiction destroys lives, and the results of living in these lifestyles and the scope of people it hurts. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135