In Harrison Township, Ohio, the community is bonded by death. Everyone seems to know someone who has perished from a drug overdose. Entire families have suffered extermination by addiction. The bodies housed in the local morgue overwhelmingly represent drug-related fatalities. MSNBC travels to this small town hell and others in “One Nation, Overdosed”, and exposes a stark reality that curses countless communities across the country.
In Montgomery County, overdose cases are expected to double over last year. On a per capita basis, the county ranks as the top region in the country in overdose deaths. Like many similarly hard hit communities, Montgomery County has suffered tremendous economic woes in recent years, and unemployment continues to blanket the community like a plague.
Law enforcement, social workers, and medical personnel are stretched beyond their limits as they struggle to contain this epidemic. “This is a mass casualty event,” says one mortician. Many of them lack the resources they need to make significant gains in this battle; they utilize all the manpower they have just to keep track of the dead.
The main culprit behind these deaths is fentanyl, a narcotic that’s many times more potent than heroin or morphine. The drug is especially fatal when taken in a high or pure form dosage by an unsuspecting user. The bulk of the supply originates from China, funnels through Mexico and is delivered into the state by savvy traffickers who have a gift of blending in with the native population.
The filmmakers embed themselves with the forces who stand on the frontline of our modern drug war. Police officers hunt down dealers on the street, customs agents inspect suspicious packages as they arrive from overseas, and treatment counselors go door to door as they plead with users to accept their help. Viewers also witness the horrors of addiction through the eyes of an addict in withdrawal, and observe the ease with which someone can shop for illicit drugs through the internet.
“One Nation, Overdosed” is an uncompromising and multi-faceted look at an epidemic that continues to claim tens of thousands of lives on a yearly basis, and the efforts of those who are determined to reverse this troubling trend.