Addiction season on ABC2

Sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping -ABC2 features a week of programming on our sorry addictions.

ABC2 will screen another themed week of programming later this month, on the subject of Addiction.

Highs, hits, or habits – what makes an addict and at what point have you crossed the line?

From the physical to the deeply psychological, ABC2 and triple j’s Hack unpack compulsive behaviours and substance abuse consuming the nation.

A Hack Live event, and specials with Russell Brand, Ross Kemp, Louis Theroux, Cherry Healey and others explain what addiction means, what it’s doing to us, what we should do about it, and in one case even if it exists at all.

ABC2 Sunday March 26 – Friday 31.

American Addiction
Sunday 26 March at 8.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Australian Premiere
America is in the grip of a heroin and prescription drug epidemic. More Americans die from drug overdoses than car crashes or being shot. The majority of the deaths involve the use of heroin or prescription painkillers. Over the past year, BBC World journalist Ian Pannell follows a number of addicts as they try to kick the habit. (BBC, This World)

Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery
Sunday 26 March at 8.55pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
When Russell Brand was addicted to heroin, his career was unravelling and he was told he may only have six months to live. The story of how he battled to stay clean of drugs is at the heart of this eye- opening and searingly honest, personal film in which Brand challenges how our society deals with addicts and addiction.
It comes in the wake of the tragic death of his friend Amy Winehouse, which was the spur to this exploration of the ‘condition of addiction’ which, he believes, is misunderstood, and wrongly treated. Brand meets a whole range of people from whom he draws insights – scientists at the cutting edge of research into the psychology of addiction, those involved in innovative recovery treatments and drug addicts themselves.
Is addiction a disease? Should it be criminalised? And is abstinence-based recovery, which worked for Brand, a possible way forward? In this documentary Brand challenges conventional theory and practice as well as government policy in his own inimitable style, confronting the reality of addiction head on. Along the way he draws on his own experience to try to help one of the addicts he meets to take the first steps towards recovery. Armed with his own heartfelt beliefs and new insights gained during his journey, Brand has the opportunity to change the hearts and minds of policy makers when he is invited to give evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee investigating the efficacy of current drug addiction treatment in the UK.

Chasing Dad: A Lifelong Addiction
Sunday 26 March at 9.55pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Australian Premiere
This original and compelling documentary depicts one father’s long-term struggle with heroin addiction, told through the uniquely intimate perspective of his own son. After years of acrimony and estrangement, young film-maker Phillip Wood seeks out his father to try and understand what’s happened to him. But his father is now seriously ill and over the next few months Phillip’s visits force both to confront some uncomfortable truths about their past. Developed from Phillip’s graduation film, Chasing Dad: A Lifelong Addiction offers a strikingly stark exploration into a subject that significantly affected his childhood. This intimate, revealing documentary will show addiction from a different side and challenge our assumptions about how families can rebuild their broken relationships.

My Strange Addiction, series 6
Episodes screen every night throughout the week from Sunday 26 March
My Strange Addiction documents the shocking stories of people who are battling obsessive behaviours that are on the verge of taking over their lives. Each episode features two individuals who turn to bizarre compulsions to deal with their emotional demons. The strange addictions explored in the series range from women obsessed with eating sofa cushions, household detergent, toilet paper and chalk to people addicted to sleeping with their blow dryer, bleaching their skin, and picking their scabs. Follow these compelling characters as they reveal their strange addictions
while experts help them explore the reasons they have turned to such extreme measures.

Ben, Diary of a Heroin Addict
Sunday 26 March at 11.25pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
A poignant and intimate film about the devastating effect of drug addiction. Ben Rogers was a bright school boy from a loving, middle class family. He played in the orchestra, loved cricket and enjoyed the annual family holiday. But his future promise was halted when he started taking drugs in his teens. Early drinking led on to cannabis, harder drugs and then the revelation to his family aged 21 that he was addicted to heroin. Over the next 13 years, Ben and his family battled with his addiction, going through detox, rehab and attempts at ‘cold turkey’, but his health gradually declined. Whilst attempting another detox aged 34, he died from a brain haemorrhage. But during the last two years of his life, Ben filmed an unflinching video diary showing his final desperate attempts to come off heroin. It’s a portrayal of his descent; intimate, raw at times difficult to watch. It is also a very intimate portrait of a family battling to save their son.

Russell Brand: End the Drugs War
Monday 27 March at 8.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Russell Brand’s 2012 BBC documentary, ‘From Addiction to Recovery’, concluded with him giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Drawing on his own experience of drug taking and recovery, he advocated treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem and underlined his own belief that abstinence is the best way to help addicts. Since then the Committee has reported its findings, concluding that the British drugs laws were failing and that it was a ‘now or never’ moment to reform them. But British Prime Minister, David Cameron didn’t agree, insisting that the drugs policy is working in Britain and that we should ‘stick at it’.
In this personal journey, Russell Brand sets out to challenge that point of view. He wants to find out how other countries are tackling their problems of drug abuse and to explore how the framework of criminalization implicit in the ‘war on drugs’ produces enormous harm in the treatment of addicts. Russell believes that ‘a shift’ is happening in the way that people view drug addiction. But to really change things he needs to persuade those who have power.

Ross Kemp: Extreme UK – Alcohol
Monday 27 March at 9.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
UK actor Ross Kemp explores the nation’s drinking habits, looking at the impact of alcohol on the individual as well as society as a whole. Ross’s investigation starts on call with a paramedic in Sunderland as he examines what the UK’s drink-obsessed culture is costing the ambulance services, hospitals, and the police, and also learns the price of social drinking when he meets those whose habits have cost them their friends, family and almost their live.

The End of the Line
Monday 27 March at 10.40pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Nowra, a beautiful regional area of Australia, has fallen hard to the hand of Ice. Filmmaker Tom Abood, returns to his hometown to find out if a handful of locals have what it takes to beat the
ever-spreading scourge of Ice.

Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation
Monday 27 March at 11.10pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
They’re rigged, they’re addictive and they’re everywhere. For the first time, the masterminds behind pokie machines reveal how they’re programmed for addiction. Have governments become the biggest addicts of all?
The Pokies. They’ve gone from being illegal to being everywhere. Australia has rapidly become the Pokies capital of the world, with five times more machines per capita than the USA. We’re losing a staggering $19 billion a year, but everyone – players, industry, and government – are hooked. What is it that makes these machines uniquely addictive?
Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation, delves behind the flashing lights and spinning reels to find out what makes pokies so treacherous.

Louis Theroux: Gambling In Las Vegas
Tuesday 28 March at 8.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
With a long-held love for the ‘City of Sin’, the genial Louis Theroux heads to Las Vegas to meet the people prepared to bet their bottom dollar. From the casino moguls to the slot slaves, Louis finds the people who are building the ‘new’ Las Vegas. He reveals the world behind the myths of casino culture and meets the gamblers, high rollers and casino men who keep this town in the middle of the desert green with money.
Based in the Hilton, once the biggest hotel in the world, where Elvis used to play, Louis immerses himself in the other-worldly glamour and excitement of a major Vegas resort. Needless to say, nothing is quite what it seems. Once the biggest hotel in the world, it is Old School Vegas with a facelift. This is the casino where Elvis played over 800 consecutive shows and where Barry Manilow still packs out the theatre whenever he’s in town. Louis meets Richard Wilk, the Hilton’s smooth- talking ‘Super Host’, who prides himself on his ability to say yes to his clients. Louis hangs out with Richard’s high-rolling ‘whales’, including Allan, who flies in from Canada just to party in a $25,000 suite (the biggest in North America), ready to blow $200,000 or more over the weekend.
There’s also John and Tim, Vegas regulars who take Louis under their wing as he nervously gambles his own money on one very long night on the blackjack table. They walk away at 5am… but are they winners? Louis also learns how to play Baccarat, how to lose his money but also, sometimes, how to win, and watches as people leave their inhibitions at home – and their money in Vegas.

Hack Live: Sex Addicts
Tuesday 28 March at 9.30pm on ABC2 & iview
Australian Premiere
Live special
Is sex addiction a myth or a real issue that is ruining people’s lives?
The medical community is divided. Some call it obsession – others call it a genuine addiction. Our next Hack Live is going deep into what it really means to be a sex addict. Are you or your partner obsessed with sex? Has sex hijacked your life? Is your libido interfering with your work, damaging your relationships, or even putting you in danger? Just how far will people go to satisfy their cravings for sex?
Hack Live: Sex Addicts explores what is a ‘normal’ sex drive and how mismatched libidos can have a devastating effect on relationships. We try to define sexual addiction today and ask how much sex is too much? And as a society are we more hyper sexed?
Hack Live: Sex Addicts screens on Tuesday 28 March at 9.30pm on ABC2, iview and triple j and ABC2 Facebook live stream.
triple j’s Hack, hosted by Tom Tilley, airs weekdays at 5.30pm on triple j. Hack Live: Sex Addicts is an Essential, triple j & an ABC production.

Ice Wars – Episode 1
Tuesday 28 March at 11pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Ice Wars is a provocative four-part series exploring the fall out and community response to one of the most popular and dangerous drugs of our time, crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice. The program makers had unprecedented access to NSW Police front line operations in metropolitan as well as rural and remote communities. The programs reveal the scale and scope of the challenges facing law enforcement, health workers, users, families, and the community as they grapple to mitigate the effects of ice use in Australia. In episode one, we meet Aaron, a patient at a psychiatric unit who suffers from schizophrenia and is a regular ice user. Former ice users tell their stories of how they became addicted. Police raid a clandestine lab. A homeowner shares what happened when she unknowingly rented her granny flat to an ice cook. But after a drug lab has been dismantled, who is responsible for cleaning up the toxic residue left behind?

Cherry Healey: Old Before My Time – Drugs
Wednesday 29 March at 8.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Cherry meets young people who are having health problems associated with their past drug use and the medical experts who are treating them. 20-year-old Chris is having lung problems and developed such a serious addiction to cannabis that he ended up in residential rehab. Vicky is now in recovery from her cocaine addiction, but has been having heart problems. Cherry meets the mother of 21-year-old Hester who died after taking what was at the time a legal drug, GBL.

Gambling, Addiction, and Me: The Real Hustler
Wednesday 29 March at 9.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Australian Premiere
Star of BBC Three’s hugely popular The Real Hustle, Alexis Conran is someone you don’t want to be playing cards with. An expert poker player and a man thoroughly at home in a casino, Alexis enjoys the thrill that comes with gambling. But what for Alexis is a pleasurable pastime and part of a lucrative career, ruined his father. Alexis’s Greek father was a gambling addict who committed fraud to get money for betting and went to prison for his crimes. Alexis has become increasingly interested in exploring the tipping point that turns the odd flutter into something darker and more dangerous. Why can most people place one bet and then walk away when some men and women are compelled to lose their shirt, their house, and their families on a losing streak? In this documentary, Alexis travels around Britain, to Las Vegas and to Athens, meeting gambling addicts, experts, and members of his own family to try and understand what makes gambling, for some, a compulsion that can end in ruin.

Ice Wars – Episode 2
Wednesday 29 March at 11pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
In this episode, small towns feel the effects of social dislocation caused by desperate ice users. In Nowra an astonishing percentage of drivers test positive for methamphetamines at random roadside drug testing, and in Lismore a dealer is arrested with a trove of crystal meth. Anthony Mundine visits his hometown of Wellington to see the effect ice is having on the community – the local area police catch a dealer with drugs on them but will it be enough to secure a conviction?

The 12-Year-Old Shopaholic
Thursday 30 March at 8pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
In The 12-Year-Old Shopaholic, gain unprecedented access to four shopaholic kids and their parents in a unique look at today’s consumer generation. From label-aholics, pony-owners and children showered in presents by their divorced parents, find out if they appreciate their gifts or even use them.

Cherry Healey: Old Before My Time – Obesity
Thursday 30 March at 8.45pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Cherry meets young people who are dangerously obese and the surgeons who are treating them. Clair gained weight through a combination of stress and medication and has now developed a range of obesity-related illnesses like gout, asthma and bad joints and is on more medication than your average OAP. Clair is having gastric bypass surgery, a major and irreversible step as a last ditch resort to control her obesity. Tom also gained weight through medication and developed non-alcoholic liver disease. To cure his condition, he has been fitted with a gastric balloon to try and shed some of his 22 stone and six months on he has already lost five stone.

My Mania and Me
Thursday 30 March at 9.45pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
The search to cure manic obsessions. Kim can’t stop stealing. Crystal has to have sex every day. Hayley is gambling away her family’s fortune. Kezia spends thousands on clothes. Can doctors cure their Impulse Control Disorder? Impulse Control Disorder is a 21st century mania that ruins lives. But could there be a cure? A look at four women with ICD and the new science around the condition. This film meets ordinary people seized with overwhelming, totally intoxicating manias such as sex, shopping, stealing and surgery.
Through real-life stories, it discovers the boundary between normal life and complete compulsion, which takes over mind and body, leaving only dark desire and euphoria, followed by crushing guilt as they are left to pick up the pieces. Responding to a biological urge that can destroy their lives, these are the Maniacs. It is an ancient condition – a label born in classical Greece, a condition classified in Napoleonic France – but more alive today than ever before. Now new technology is unlocking its secrets. Neuroimaging allows us to see it in the brain for the first time, opening a unique window into the biology behind manic obsessions. As the medical community finally sits up and takes notice can these individuals conquer the inner mania and find a cure?

Ice Wars – Episode 3
Thursday 30 March at 11pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
In this episode, police and emergency health services in Blacktown manage the local ice problem. A World Champion speaks out about his struggles with addiction, showing methamphetamine’s hold does not discriminate. Another ex-user tells of redemption through rehabilitation, having reached rock bottom but found hope.

Cherry Healey: Old Before My Time – Alcohol
Friday 31 March at 8.30pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Cherry Healey investigates the alarming rise in numbers of young people suffering from illnesses associated with older people due to alcohol, drugs and obesity. We all know that drinking, drugs and fast food are bad for you, but these days a life of excess isn’t just leaving young people hungover, it’s accelerating their age – hit by chronic conditions usually the preserve of pensioners, their young bodies and minds are ready for retirement. In this episode, Cherry meets medical experts who are treating young recovering alcoholics like Jo, who has damaged her liver so much that her stomach is filled with 23 litres of fluid which must be drained every three weeks. She also meets 21-year-old Mat, who fell into an alcohol-induced coma and had to have a liver transplant.

Confessions of a Sex Addict
Friday 31 March at 9.20pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
Jeff Leach is the archetypal ladies’ man – ask him what the most important thing in the world is and he will say women. His innate charisma has made him a stand-up comedy sensation, but viewers will soon see he is equally talented off stage. He has got stats to back it up too – at just 27 he has slept with nearly 300 women and has even kept a list of every single one of them. But now he wants to settle down. This hilarious but heartfelt documentary sees Jeff taking a long- overdue look at his sexual exploits. Asking for help from the plethora of exes who have helped him build this Don Juan reputation, he tries to understand what it is that keeps him notching his bedpost and why he cannot be a one-woman man. Will Jeff finally uncover the route to emotional fulfilment and, for once, go home alone?

Ice Wars – Episode 4
Friday 31 March at 11pm on ABC2 & ABC iview
In this episode, Senator Jacqui Lambie’s struggle to save her son, Dylan, from addiction. How Organised Crime gets ice into the country. Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad raid four drug houses to try to break a crime syndicate. The spread of ice use within the hospitality and construction industries, as well as the military. How the Drug Court deters users from re- offending. Dylan turns the corner.

2 Responses

  1. Does the ABC have a death wish? Just keep serving up crap like this and they’ll give their conservative critics even more ammunition and further stoke the fires of those who want to cut their funding and privatise them. Addiction Week? Just call it a suicide note.

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