Celtic Media Festival 2018
2-4 May 2018 2-4 May 2018

Rural Addiction

A decade ago, heroin was still hard to find ‘beyond the pale’ and it was expensive. Addicts from all over the country would organise ‘weekend trips’ into Dublin to get their week’s supply. But when crime bosses expanded control, enabling them to supply rural areas as well, it meant a lot of those who had merely been ‘dabblers’ at that point became hardened users overnight. With no support systems or government plan to combat it, the floodgates opened – rural addiction became rife. The situation degenerated when Eastern European gangs took over from local ones (most of whom had been locked up in the noughties for non-drug related crimes); the heroin they brought was purer, cheaper – so much so that, today, a bag of brown will cost you less than a McDonald’s family meal. In Limerick, we travel with two staff members from the Ana Liffey Drug Project, who arrange needle exchanges on the back streets – their car boot is stashed with supplies that allow users to inject safely. One addict can no longer use the veins in her arms so she is instructed how to inject in her groin. In Nenagh, we encounter Ali and her key worker from Ana Liffey. Although she recently stopped taking methadone, Ali had OD-ed on heroin two days previously. If her boyfriend hadn’t been there, she might not have survived. The experience has also rattled him; Brian needs to detox before it is too late. “Drugs are everywhere,” says Ali, outside a café. “I’m tired of people calling me names. Everyone here knows me as a junkie, but I want to show them I can get clean.” In Rural Addiction we also follow individuals in some of the worst affected towns, places like Mullingar and Portlaoise. And we hear the stories too of Michael, in Clonakilty, who suffers from alcohol addiction, and Ralph, in Dunmanway, who is dependent on opioid drugs. Showing character, grit, disorder and the occasional ‘slip’, Rural Addiction is a rousing documentary series about people who have been cast aside by society.

Douglas 2017
Rural Addiction
Entry Category
Factual Series
Produced By
Midas Productions
Mike Keane / Geoff Power
Directed By
Martin Danneels