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"Prescription Thugs": The Documentary Exposing America's Other Drug War

The frightening new film reveals a prescription crisis so severe even the film’s director fell victim while making it.
Courtesy of IDP Films

Forget Michael Moore—director Chris Bell is making the documentaries we really need to see. Bell, best known for 2008’s Bigger, Stronger, Faster, which exposed our country’s obsession with PEDs, is now tackling another U.S. health crisis: Prescription Thugs is a scary deep-dive into America’s unhealthy addiction to prescription pills, and the doctors, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies that ensure we stay hooked.

It’s a tricky subject, but Bell’s Morgan Spurlock style is very personal, and a surprising twist near the end really brings it home. While making the film, Bell himself became addicted to prescription drugs (and alcohol) and ended up in rehab.

“People are hopped up because they’re afraid to be themselves,” says the director, who is now 19 months sober and 50 pounds lighter. “We constantly preach that if you have a problem, there’s a pill that can fix it.”

We can’t wait for Bell’s next project, Strong (working title), which follows six men as they prepare for the World’s Strongest Man competition. “It’ll be like Pumping Iron in the strongman world,” says Bell.

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