The Drug Years (TV Mini-Series 2006– ) Poster

(2006– )

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A Very Interesting Rock Doc(umentary)
justinl_115 June 2006
I've been watching this every night on VH1 this past week. This is a terrific revealing portrait about the drugs epidemic and how drugs were displayed in the media during the late 60's and on through the 70's.Woodstock,Easy Rider,The Beatles,The Death of Morrison, Hendrix, Joplin are all here. Vh1 has fashioned a complete intricate portrayal of the life and times during the "Drug Years". From the Sanfrancisco Bay Area to Studio 54 this documentary shows the evolution and advancement of the drug business and the death and new life it breathed into the American culture.From Marijuana to LSD to Cocaine this documentary shows the ways drugs were getting into the country, the hippie movement, the conservative resistance, and how drugs effected the arts (music , movies etc.) Featuring tons of fascinating interviews and news reel footage.

Drug Films: The Trip Easy Rider Up In Smoke Reefer Madness Blow Boogie Nights
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YAY for Martin!
dash2-224 September 2006
I would just like all of the fans of this documentary to know that Martin Torgoff is my uncle and I am so darn proud of him. This mini-series that in shown on VH1 is a great look at the culture of drugs in the past 30 years and my uncle worked very hard on it. The amount of time and effort that I have watched him put into this documentary and the book that started it all (Can't Find My Way Home) makes it that much better to watch him on TV. I know that he loves what he does and he does it well. His eloquence is shown in the interviews, which he did himself, and the amazing additions that he himself adds to the commentary. From the music to the videos and everything in between, this is a great documentary that really shows the experience of the drug culture through the eyes of someone who lived through it. I appreciate any comments on this from those who enjoyed it (or didn't) and would love to hear from fans! Three cheers for uncle Martin!!!
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Interesting, but with a pro-drug war slant and the perpetuation of stereotypes of drug users
youaresquishy18 June 2006
Although there are some snippets in this 4-part documentary hinting at the necessity for recreational drug law reform, these are not very well-developed, in contrast to the many snippets from those who feel that the drugs that happen to currently be illegal are a scourge for which the only imaginable solution is incarceration of even those who are guilty even of mere possession of such drugs.

Although this program, as a whole, leaves the viewer with the impression that the drug war is largely a futile exercise and a waste of money, and for that it deserves some praise, almost nothing in this documentary addresses the very real problems that total war against those who merely possess illegal drugs obviously causes and contributes to--very real problems that most drug warriors themselves would tell you, if asked, they think the drug war is designed to solve. For example, while many minutes are spent on the surge in violence associated with the rising popularity of crack cocaine in the 80's, at no point does this program even hint that the very laws designed to suppress crack cocaine make it impossible for drug sellers to enforce their contracts and business arrangements in courts of law, forcing them to resort to violence to stay in business. But instead of seeing the laws as an important cause of the violence, the drugs themselves seem to take the brunt of the blame. Inexplicably, alcohol prohibition, the violence that ensued, and the subsequent reversal of prohibition, is totally ignored by this program.

This program will help to perpetuate ridiculous stereotypes of drug users, and it is these that are the primary force in driving the very expensive and very problematic drug war. The possibility of incorporating drugs other than alcohol into a happy and successful life is not really touched on. Use of any drug in excess is probably going to cause personal problems, but not all users do their drugs in excess, just like not all alcohol users are alcoholics.

If you want a point of view from someone who believes that adults have a moral right not to be incarcerated and have their lives ruined by the criminal justice system just for using drugs that the government, for mostly very arbitrary political reasons rather than reasons based on sound social policy and legitimate science, has decided to totally prohibit, whose users it has decided to not-so-metaphorically wage war against, just forget about it. None of that is in here.

On the other hand, this is hardly in the category of anti-drug propaganda. It is mostly an interesting neutrally-presented history of drugs in 20th century United States like marijuana, LSD, heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and Oxycontin. But there is a significant element of various people's points of view with regard to drug laws, and most (but not all) of that is not very thoughtful or well-informed and slanted in favor of the drug warrior mentality, especially with respect to drugs other than marijuana.

The criminal justice system, along with its often harsh life-ruining penalties, is obviously not the only answer or the most appropriate answer to every single social problem, but unfortunately there's an epidemic in this nation of an as-yet unnamed disease whose primary symptoms are a lack of imagination with respect to social policy when it comes to certain drugs, a lack of compassion for fellow humans, a prejudice against people who use the drugs that are not governmentally-approved, perhaps a vested interest in the growth of the prison/policing industry, and a horrid apathy with regard to human dignity. It's morally wrong to kidnap or incarcerate people unless you have a very damn good reason for doing so, and the mere possession of an arbitrarily selected group of drugs is clearly not such a reason. This is really the primary issue when it comes to drugs, yet this program ignores it.

So, in sum, the parts of this program that neutrally present history without feeding stereotypes of drug users that are at the heart of the drug war mentality are pretty good and interesting and entertaining. But when it comes to presenting a rational non-radical point of view with regard to drug policy, and giving the viewer examples not only of people with drug problems but also the many people who successfully incorporate drugs into happy and successful lives, it's pretty disappointing.
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seeing it from the perspective after the fact(s)
Quinoa198419 June 2006
The Drug Years actually suffers from one of those aspects to mini-series or other kinds of TV documentaries run over and over again for a couple of weeks on TV. It's actually not long enough, in a way. All of the major bases in the decades are covered, and they're all interesting to note as views into post-modern history and from different sides. But it almost doesn't cover enough, or at least what is covered at times is given a once over when it could deserve more time. For example, the information and detail in part three about the whole process and business unto itself of shipping mass amounts of drugs (partly the marijuana, later cocaine) is really well presented, but there are more details that are kept at behest of how much time there is to cover.

Overall though the documentary does shed enough light on how drugs, pop-culture, government intervention, the upper classes and lower classes and into suburbia, all felt the wave of various drugs over the years, and the interplay between all was very evident. Nobody in the film- except for the possibility of small hints with the pot)- goes to endorse drugs outright, but what is shown are those in archival clips about the honesty of what is at times fun, and then tragic, about taking certain drugs. The appearances of various staunch, ridiculously anti-drug officials does hammer some points down hard- with even in such an overview of the drug cultures and America's connection as a whole- as there is really only one major point that is made a couple of times by one of the interviewees. The only way to really approach the issue of drugs is not 'just say no', because as the war on drugs has shown it is not as effective as thought. It is really just to come clean on all sides about all the drugs and the people who may be hypocritical about them (as, for example, oxycontin continues on in the marketplace).

Is it with the great interest and depth of a Ken Burns documentary? No, but for some summertime TV viewing for the young (i.e. my age) who will view a lot of this as almost ancient history despite most of it being no more than a generation ago, as well as for the 'old' who can reflect some decades later about the great peaks, careless times, and then the disillusionment prodded more by the same media that years earlier propagated and advertised it. There are those who might find the documentary to be particularly biased, which is not totally untrue, but it does attempt to get enough different takes on the social, political, and entertainment conditions of drugs interweaving (for better or obvious worse) for enough of a fascinating view.
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Loved this documentary
suezycreamcheese1 February 2008
I have had the pleasure of reading Martin Torgoff's book "Can't Find My Way Home" which is chock full of info on the drug culture of America, spanning the years 1945-2000. This guy knows his stuff!! I found him to be an excellent spokesperson for this documentary. I particularly enjoyed watching the film clips from the hippie era, and the 70's stoner culture. The soundtrack was excellent. Whoever compiled it definitely was in touch with the tunes of each era. Hopefully they will package them and sell them as a CD set. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in how the 1960's experiments with LSD forever changed American culture as we know it. One thing that was missing was any mention of George Jung (played by Johnny Depp in the movie "Blow"), who was supposedly responsible for much of the marijuana and cocaine coming into this country in the 60's-80's.
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Your one stop memory for all the glory of the '60s
lalafoxyy12 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I personally watched this to see the footage of the 60's and 70's. It was fascinating to learn how the drug movement essentially started and became pop culture and an eventual uncompromising force in life. The interviews of the classic rock stars are titillating and humorous. You feel like you're in on a secret and nodding your head at the same time...because it feels so good and familiar. I loved it, all segments from 60's-present day. I highly recommend this for all aspects, including rock music, the hipper movement, politics and good 'ol history. I check marked the box saying this contains a spoiler, only because I have no idea what some might consider a spoiler or not in this regards, since I discussed what's in all 4 segments, so just wanted to be safe.
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good details-- very original
elenka771 July 2006
I just saw The Drugs Years on VH1 and I love it. I think it reflects the drug history very well and most importantly IT HAS A STRONG MESSAGE TO THE ALL GENERATIONS. There is woodstock, there are Joplin's, Hendrix's and Jim Morrison's deaths, there are many many examples of drug use and drug abuse. It completely cover the time line and evolution of drug use in America in both good and bad ways. In my opinion this documentary is well done and I would like to congratulate to its creators because this is exactly what is needed to be playing in the TV in these days. I am waiting for the DVD release. You should definitely see it!!! This movie is stunning-- BIG TIME!
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A Significant Reflection Of The Sixties Drug Culture
JackAwful17 June 2006
If you lived through the 60s, this film can be at times painful and other times quite joyous. It's all there but the small print in the counter culture tabloids prevalent at the time. These are the roots of a social revolution that is still playing out: "don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin, for the times they are a-changin'". While the film focuses on the revolutionary nature of LSD and it's dissemination at the time, that alone played a tremendous hand in the evolution of the intelligentsia, influencing engineers, scientists and aiding in the hyper-development of computer related activities. A salute to the filmmakers from one who was there - you've captured the era better than I've seen before.
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