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15. Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy; movie review

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Title : 15. Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy; movie review
link : 15. Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy; movie review

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Cert 18
89 mins
BBFC advice: Contains addiction theme, drug misuse

It was about 1989 and a new regime had taken ownership of the Birmingham Post and Mail where I worked.
These were the days when the two newspapers had a daily circulation of more than 200,000 so our copy mattered.
Even so, I recall the shock when our executives sent a reporter to the United States to write a series of features on a drug called crack which was little-known in the UK at the time.
He sent back shocking details of how the form of cocaine was instantly addictive and had a devastating effect on individuals and their neighbourhoods.
There was a clear message that crack could be on its way across the Atlantic and for us to prepare for it.
Since then, I have read and watched many presentations about the drug and its devastating effect on the American communities across the United States.
Stanley Nelson's film investigates why people of colour were disproportionately affected.
Former dealers tell of how it offered them a way of earning huge money when the limit of their aspirations had been a job serving at McDonald's.
But with oodles of cash comes greed and soon widespread violence followed the drug into the inner-city.
Decades later, the destructive reverberations on people’s lives, families and communities are still deeply felt as users and dealers explain.
The film also reveals the link between Ronald Reagan government's desire to suppress communists in Nicaragua and the flood of cocaine into the United States.
It points out the irony of its War On Drugs campaign which prosecuted those whose involvement in the trade was a direct fall-out from its foreign policy.
True, some of the documentary's arguments are a tad too simplistic and have been developed with the benefit of hindsight.
That said, there can be no doubt that marginalisation of ethnic minorities continues and the issues highlighted by Nelson are an important part of that narrative.

Reasons to watch: Incisive documentary on the drug which dragged down America
Reasons to avoid: Politically slanted

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Did you know? Cocaine was popularised in medicine when Sigmund Freud began prescribing it as a cure for depression. He even continued to prescribe the drug in high doses after a patient died, claiming it didn’t cause dependence.

The final word.  Stanley Nelson: 'I vividly remember the long lines of cars waiting for dealers; people standing in doorways smoking crack; streets littered with crack vials. Crack transformed the city and the entire country, leaving devastation in its wake – especially in Black and Latinx communities."

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