OxyContin is a popular painkiller that is known for relieving chronic pain for twelve hours but is easily abused. Oceana, West Virginia, a small town of 1,500 people, is also nicknamed “Oxyana” because of the widespread of OxyContin addiction. Sean Dunne’s directorial debut “Oxyana” is about how OxyContin affects everyone in this small town and has the potential to destroy lives.
We learn that OxyContin came to this town in 1999 when a doctor created a cash-only practice that was promoting the use of this painkilling drug. Oceana is a coal mining town where people develop black lung disease or people lose their jobs. Because the only sources of entertainment are 45 minutes away, people do not know what to do with themselves. We hear from a lot of the residents of Oceana the desperate acts people commit to obtain this drug such as performing sexual favors for others or asking dentists to extract teeth from them knowing they will get painkillers after.
We learn the sad truth of how many of these subjects are parents and admit that acquiring OxyContin is more important than taking care of their children. Another subject explains how half of his friends have died from OxyContin addiction and many of those friends have kids. A pregnant woman feels she is in a lose-lose situation where if her drug addict husband stays with them and does not get his drugs, he will become enraged. If he leaves, then the baby will not have a father. A doctor explains how half of the newborn babies have to be on Methadone because their parents are opioid users. One drug dealer paid a doctor $1,000 on a month’s worth of OxyContin to sell. The money he acquires from drug addicts he uses to pay for more OxyContin. Many of the subjects describe their relationship with opioids as love-hate in that it is like a “demon” in your head changing your thought patterns.
This documentary does not provide us with a solution of how to solve this opioid epidemic. One subject expressed his opinion that there is no help for OxyContin addiction in this small town as if a few get arrested, others will pick up where they left off on their drug habit. This is an important documentary to see in knowing the rapid spread of opioids and how these drugs need to stop being promoted.
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