HBO DOCUMENTARY: BLACK TAR HEROIN PART 1 OF 4
The Dark End of the Street
Steven Okazaki’s documentary Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street, takes a caustic look at five young addicts coping with lives that are a relentless pattern of fixing, whoring, stealing, rehabbing and almost inevitably, fixing.
If they’re lucky, o.d.’ing isn’t added to that roster. Covering a two-year period from 1995 to 1998, the film has the feel of a kind of anti-MTV Real World, with this group a distorted mirror image of that show’s insufferably self-absorbed middle-class brats.
Behind the image of San Francisco as a creative epicenter and ultimate party town drawing talented, disaffected kids from around the country (if not the globe) are some disturbing statistics. In the last ten years, the mean age of heroin users has dropped from 27 to 19.
White powder heroin (China White) has been replaced by the dreaded chiva, cheap black tar heroin from Mexico, making the habit and all that it brings accessible to a much wider crowd. And drug overdose is the leading cause of preventable death in San Francisco, claiming an average of 100 lives a year.
BY GARY MORRIS