The documentary Flood: The Overdose Epidemic in Canada has a straightforward beginning, goes straight to the point and speaks directly of a catastrophe that no one cares about—the catastrophe of lives lost to drug overdose. Following the opening sequence, the camera moves along with a man who is talking about the horrible conditions imposed by living under the threat of drugs, and its disastrous consequences. The narrator tells how city by city, statistics and death figures have a real and tangible impact on many people’s lives. Adam D'Addario, the director, combines different methods to advance the theme of his documentary. Social activists are interviewed and the subject is explored from different angles. Shocking anecdotal stories of suicide, divorce, and the destruction of many individuals and families accompanied with adeptly chosen images make the interviews impressive and overwhelming, stories that go hand in hand with photos, different images, and suitable alternatives. In the meantime, the filmmaker provides the audience with statistics that are no longer just numbers and figures to the viewer who, now, knows what losses lie behind these numbers. By 2016, more than 12,800 Canadians died from overdose. In 2016, 3023 people were killed, in 2017, 4120 people, and this number has increased year by year. Statistics that are now, by themselves, a serious threat to the viewers, who are now aware of the horrible facts behind the figures.
In order to present the most comprehensive picture of the subject, the interviewees are selected diversely and from all walks of life: a mother who has lost her child to substance use, or a person who has been a user. Listening to their bitter experiences has an emotional, distressing, and at the same time cautionary effect. City council members, nurses, and anyone else who has anything to do with the issue talk about it, and the film conveys everyone's exact words to the audience, and it is the viewer who has to decide. Regardless of what each person thinks or has in mind about drugs, it is vital that everyone pay attention to this social health emergency as a catastrophe that can take many lives. Many organizations and institutions are trying to prevent the disaster by making various drug abuse education programs and related health guidelines available to the public, thus, raising public awareness about the serious dangers of the epidemic.
An important issue that the film intelligently addresses is the reaction of people within the community. They not only do not take the statistics and dangers of substance use seriously, but may not believe that these events, and the lethal consequences of opioids use are present in their own neighborhoods. Those who do not care much about what happens to drug users do not want to see them in their own neighborhoods either.
Another key point that the filmmaker unravels, helping the audience realize more dimensions of the subject, is that people will not take a problem seriously unless it becomes their own. As soon as they get involved and need to struggle with the problem, they become aware of the importance of education and prevention. They neglect the whole issue as long as it is not directly related to them, or has not affected their loved ones.
The next issue addressed is how law views drug users. The filmmaker refers to a model used in Portugal to combat the widespread use of narcotics, which was to decriminalize personal drug use. Decriminalization of opioids allows many consumers to use them under certain circumstances that reduce immediate risks imposed to their lives by substance use. Many social activists and promoters of drug abuse education endeavor to urge Canadian lawmakers to make plans to provide basic health care to drug users, not only to those who use drugs as medication, but also to those who are addicted to it.
Flood: The Overdose Epidemic in Canada can be considered an influential documentary that tries to address its subject with a reasonable rhythm and considerable variety, seeing it from varied angles, and examining it with experts and direct and indirect victims. The film, which is one hour and thirteen minutes long, is made with a budget of $11,716. It is screened at multiple festivals and has received some awards. To watch this spectacular documentary, you can visit this page.