Drugs and Racial Inequity

Watching movies, documentaries, and reading books help us connect with topics and experiences that we may not fully understand or relate to. The resources below can help understand why the criminalization of drugs, stigma and the lack of supportive services for those who use drugs keeps people from seeking the support they need.

If there are other Movies, Documentaries, or Series about substance use you think we should add to this list, please fill out this feedback form.


Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately occupied with African-Americans. This film features Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Van Jones, and many other brilliant activists.

Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy

Explore the complex history of crack cocaine in the 1980s. This documentary discusses the so-called emergence of the war on drugs fueled by racism and the recession.

Grass is Greener

Experts and musicians explore the United States' complicated relationship with weed which helped ignite the war on drugs steeped in racial injustice.

Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics

Celebrities discuss their best, worst, and strangest trips on Shrooms and LSD/Acid.

Take Your Pills

This documentary discusses the impacts of Amphetamine dependence by students, athletes, and coders to aid them in the hypercompetitive society. Although medications like amphetamine and methamphetamine are helpful to many individuals with ADHD and Narcolepsy, it is essential to note that this documentary does not cover the positive effects that the drug has on treatment.

The Black Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution

Stanley Nelson directs this documentary that tells the story of the 1960s and the creation of the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, it's cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when the movement derailed.

The House I Live In

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Beautiful Boy

A biographical drama based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. The film stars Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet and deals with a father-son relationship increasingly strained by the son’s addiction to meth.

Everything Must Go 

This film is an American black comedy-drama starring Will Ferrel about a middle-aged man who loses his job of 16 years due to his use of alcohol in the workplace.

Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah is a 2021 American biographical drama film about the betrayal of Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late-1960s Chicago, at the hands of William O'Neal (played by Lakeith Stanfield), an FBI informant.

How to be an Anti Racist

Historian Dr. Ibram X Kendi discusses concepts of racism and Dr. Kendi's proposals for anti-racist individual actions and systemic changes that are centered around addressing capitalism, racism, sexism, ableism, and supporting & elevating all oppressed communities.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Civil rights activist, Michelle Alexander, discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States. Alexander also notes that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations in the United States.

The War on Drugs: A Failed Experiment

Criminal prosecutor Paula Mallea discusses the illegal drug trade and the failure of the so-called “War on Drugs” to stop it.