Filmmaker explores drug addiction on Cape Cod

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A young woman stares at the camera, speaking in a soft voice. “Every time I shot up, it felt like Christmas morning,” she said.

Another voice from the documentary sounds gruff yet forlorn: “I don’t want to associate with anybody. I just want to be with my heroin, with my needle.”

The young women are highlighted in the documentary, “Heroin: Cape Cod USA,” which will be broadcast Monday at 9 p.m. on cable’s Home Box Office, or HBO, network. The 76-minute show (rated TV-MA for adult content, language and nudity) explores the heroin epidemic that has swallowed many young adults in towns up and down the Cape by following eight 20-something users through rehabilitation and relapses. It features interviews with parents of drug users to show the pain and suffering caused by drug abuse that extends beyond an addict.

Since 2001, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled, with an estimated 1,256 deaths in Massachusetts in 2014 alone, while state lawmakers battled this year over proposed solutions and the courts attempted to slash recidivism tied to drug abuse. With heroin’s accessibility and affordability on the Cape, up to 85 percent of crime in Barnstable County is can be attributed to opiate addiction, the Cape Cod Times reported.

Steven Okazaki, the documentary’s award-winning producer, previously focused his lens on a heroin epidemic that swept through San Francisco in the late ’90s (“Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street,” 1999). In a recent Daily Beast interview with a former drug user who appeared in “Black Tar,” Okazaki compared the two productions:

“In ‘Black Tar Heroin,’ many of the kids were drawn to the mystique of the drug. They saw themselves as outsiders, rebels,” Okazaki said. “In ‘Cape Cod,’ heroin is cheap, easy to find, and potent. The kids are bored, have limited opportunities, and are looking for a good high, a way to escape. I understand that part, but the life that comes with it is so terrible, so demeaning.”

The film turns the Cape’s popularity as a summer vacation spot on its head, offering a picture described by one resident as a place where “either you work or you do drugs.”

Heroin: Cape Cod, USA promo