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FDL Movie Night: American Meth

American Meth, , Justin Hunt’s blunt look at methamphetamine use in the American heartland, is pretty brutal, but then so is meth, the “devil’s serum,” as one interviewee calls it. It is a killer drug, worse than heroin, worse than crack, based on what I’ve seen in real life and what you’ll see in this film.

Hunt interviews users, law enforcement officials and anti-meth advocates–including the founders of Faces of Meth and the Montana Meth Project. Hunt visits a Native American reservation decimated by meth addiction when a Mexican cartel moves in and begins dealing, and takes a trip to oil and gas industry where meth addicted workers are in the fields because

a warm methed up body is better than no body at all.

Grandparents are raising grandchildren because meth addiction has taken away the middle generation. In some areas treatment centers are working with meth addicted parents and their kids, but elsewhere the outlook is not as good. Foster care and social services are overwhelmed, as are the courts and prisons. Funds are get shifted from infrastructure and growth to addressing the meth epidemic.

Meth is easy to make–there’s a new mobile method that involves a soda bottle and chemicals, but the more traditional way takes a lot of Sudafed and potent household chemicals. Mega-labs in Mexico also supply meth to areas in the U.S, as Val Kilmer’s measured and thoughtful narration informs us.

As Hunt is filming the documentary, he is invited to film Holly and James who are battling addiction, cancer, past sexual abuse and crippling poverty as they try to raise their four children. Holly makes the decision to stop using meth. Will James, and can they leave meth’s grip behind?

Cheap and plentiful, meth finds its way into rural areas, decimating communities already facing economic ruin. Can it be stopped? And how? Education, prevention and treatment are the keys, as is addressing the underlying social malaise that leads to meth use.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.