Aired on BBC4 January, 2013. Shortlisted for Best Documentary, 2013 Academy Awards; Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, 2012.
As America remains embroiled in overseas conflict, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans. For over forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are more available today than ever before.
Filmed in more than twenty states, this film captures a definitive and heart-wrenching portrait of individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s longest war, revealing its profound human rights implications.
While recognising the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, the film investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have instead treated it as a matter for law enforcement, creating a vast political and economic machine that feeds largely on America’s poor, especially minority communities. Yet beyond simple misguided policy, the film investigates how political and economic corruption have fuelled the war for forty years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic and practical failures.
— From BBC4 Storyville website