Dope is unlike any drug documentary you’ve watched before.
It’s probably the most confronting show you’ll watch on Netflix this year – it’s also the most important.
The documentary series dives deep into the modern day drug trade, giving the audience unprecedented access to drug dealers, drug users and the police.
Throughout the series we hear from the dealers who make a mint supplying drugs to the street, the users who are always on the hunt for their next fix and the police who are desperately trying to stop this vicious cycle.
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The first episode looks at the cocaine trade in Oakland, California. We’re introduced to El Capitan, a coke distributor who delivers his product to the streets of Oakland via an RV. Yep, an RV.
In the second episode, we get an in-depth look at Baltimore, the ‘heroin capital of America’. We see what life is really like for the addicts, the dealers and the cops working on the streets of Baltimore.
The third installment of Dope takes us south of the border to Mexico, where drug traffickers risk their lives every day to bring cannabis into the US.
The fourth episode is filmed over Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. It gives us a glimpse into how drug dealers prepare for a busy weekend, and how the cops try to stay on top of it all.
While we’re used to seeing fictional depictions of drug dealers on our TV screens, Dope shows us something much more real and it completely challenges our preconceived ideas about the drug trade.
Shows like Breaking Bad, Weeds, Ozark and Narcos, have made these kind of misunderstood, anti-heroes a part of pop culture.
They’ve made us become fascinated by the drug trade, so much so, that we almost put drug dealers and the people they supply to up on a pedestal. We’ve made them into these larger than life characters who almost exist simply to entertain us.
But this is what makes Dope so bloody terrifying – it’s real. Really real.
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It’s not a fictionalised version of a seedy underworld we all know exists but can mostly turn a blind eye to.
The people and their stories are authentic and there is no simple solution to the havoc drugs have already created in their lives. The villains are often victims themselves and every day people are dying on the streets for drugs and from drugs.
There’s no easy exit plan and there’s not a lot of hope.
These stories are not new to us, but they’re a whole lot grittier and a whole lot harder to turn away from.
Dope is the kind of documentary series that will open your eyes to a world that you always knew existed but mostly ignored.
The series will remind you that real life is often so much stranger – and a whole lot scarier – than fiction.
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