‘Heroin: Cape Cod’ Shows Addiction Taken Hold

We never really find out why it’s happened to these people, although there is something clearly being numbed.

Heroin: Cape Cod (HBO)

Heroin: Cape Cod, USA is a documentary currently running on HBO. It follows a group of young heroin addicts, and takes an unflinching look into their lives. Here’s what to expect, minus any details from the actual events that take place:

Heroin: Cape Cod follows a group of millennials who don’t seem to plan on getting anywhere in life—instead they just do the drug, kill time, then do the drug again.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki brings his camera to this popular summer vacation town—focusing on a group of twentysomethings stuck within the community, trapped by the drug, living strictly to get high and little more. They don’t leave for any reason, or do much at all. Through them, we view addiction from its empty, abandoned insides—no dreams or plans, just heroin.

A scene from the HBO documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod."

Heroin: Cape Cod (HBO)

The question never answered but raised constantly: how did these people get so strung out? The parents, appearing in group session conversations, seem baffled: We supported them, they had friends, they played sports—how did our kids become completely enamored with getting high?

The subjects don’t seem to know either. Aside from a couple of the addicts mentioning they were introduced to painkillers through car accidents, most of the people featured in Heroin have no better reason than that they’ve been partying and drinking since their early teens—seemingly bored into such behavior—but that’s the thing: what was missing from their lives? We never truly see what might have driven a kid with what (on the surface) appears to be a positive upbringing to embrace narcotics so deeply. There’s no tales of bullying, surviving abuses or coping with abandonment, just somehow these kids graduated from good lives to drug-addled existences and nothing more.

A scene from the HBO documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod."

Heroin: Cape Cod

Regardless, Heroin is a gripping watch, a complete immersion in the lives of people barely living—just getting by between fixes—and the dynamic of people so clearly unable, or uninterested, in shaking the numbing power of opiates. It would have been helpful to know why these people needed to be numbed so badly—but perhaps that’s the point: once heroin has a hold, there is no more why or how or what to ask or do—it’s all about the drug, maybe forever.