MTV has launched a new documentary division, and the network has chosen to tackle the opioid crisis with its debut doc featuring President Obama and award-winning artist Macklemore.
MTV is no stranger to non-fiction.
The former music video network has been credited with changing the landscape of modern television when it aired The Real World in the early 1990s, paving the way for the reality-genre explosion that followed.
And MTV has been producing documentaries since the 1990s, as well. Since 1998, MTV’s True Life has been featuring the lives of real teens as they share their hopes and dreams in this long-running documentary.
MTV Launches New Doc Division and tackles Opioid Crisis with “Prescription for Change”
The network is doubling down on documentary style programming, officially launching the new MTV Docs division; a new unit “dedicated to filmmaking that captures the artists and audiences that inspire MTV.”
The first of three documentaries scheduled for development before the end of year has just been released, and the network is demonstrating a willingness to address the real issues facing America today with “Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis.”
The centerpiece of Prescription for Change is multi-platinum recording artist Macklemore. But don’t expect to see the artist on stage performing. Instead, you’ll see the Grammy award winner stripped down to his true identity. As the documentary opens, he introduces himself:
“My name is Ben, and I’m an addict. In my life, I’ve abused numerous drugs, including the painkillers Oxycontin and Percocet. And I’m not alone.”
Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, takes viewers along as he attends recovery meetings in his hometown of Seattle, WA and travels to the White House to speak frankly with President Obama about drug use and the opioid crisis in America.
“Drug overdoses now take more lives every year than traffic accidents. Deaths from opioid overdoses have tripled since 2000….We all have a role to play. Even if we haven’t fought this battle in our own lives, there’s a good chance we know someone who has, or is.” - President Obama
Along the way, the documentary follows young adults affected by opioid addiction and recovery, and educates the viewer with facts and statistics about the epidemic. The result is a gripping film that is educational, inspiring, heart wrenching and raw.
The documentary shows the personal heartache and helplessness of the victims, the determination and resolve of recovered addicts like Macklemore, and the commitment of President Obama to turn the tide of opioid addiction in our country.
The Opioid Crisis is Real
Prescriptions for opioid painkillers are at an all-time high. Enough opioid prescriptions are written each year for every adult in America to have their own bottle of pills. And sadly, addiction to opioid painkillers often leads to heroin addiction.
Learn more about America’s Opioid Epidemic
MTV has a long history of reality and documentary TV, showcasing the real life struggles and issues that face their audience. The network is continuing that message with their new Docu division.
By choosing to highlight America’s opioid crisis with their debut doc, the network is proving a continued commitment to the real issues facing young people today.
The one-hour documentary aired Tuesday, October 9, 2016. You can watch the full episode on MTV.com,MTV’s Youtube channel, or by clicking the video link above.