First published in The Big Issue, 30 October 2020
Addicted Australia, a four-part docuseries from Blackfella Films (Filthy Rich and Homeless), provides viewers access to the lives of 10 everyday Australians struggling with addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. The series follows the group over six months through peer support, detox, drug treatment and behavioural therapy, demystifying what an addict looks like while highlighting the agony of recovery. The production focuses on sharing the individual histories that lead to addiction, the impact of addiction on families, and exposing the gaps in treatment services. Viewers are drawn in by the personal anecdotes. We desperately want everyone – from the admin assistant to the grandmother-to-be – to succeed. Realistically, we know some won’t. If Addicted Australia can evoke empathy for its subjects, Australia will move forward with renewed interest in addiction advocacy, especially in these pandemic times when isolation has led more people to indulge in, or depend on, alcohol.