An elementary school art teacher, a devoted husband and father of seven and a 16-year-old high school student. In the war on drugs, there are no usual suspects. Investigating the illegal narcotics methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, Discovery Civilization presents DRUG NATION, a raw three-part series beginning Sunday, November 22 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. From how they’re made to how they’re sold and what they do to your body, DRUG NATION reveals North America’s drug epidemic as seen through the eyes of the users, abusers and law enforcers waging the war from the front lines.
In 1994, police raided just 263 meth labs in the entire United States – 10 years later, law enforcement officials busted more than 17,000. From cocaine to heroin, most narcotics are manufactured from the fields of Columbia and beyond – but there’s a dangerous and lethal drug that can be made right at home. Once prescribed to U.S. military officers to stay awake during battle in the Second World War, methamphetamine is cheap to buy, easy to make and produces a high that can last up to 12 hours. With the recipe replicated by returning war veterans in the 1940s, using ordinary household chemicals, meth has been destroying rural communities ever since by setting off a wave of pleasure, coupled with boundless energy making users feel invincible.
Grams of cocaine seized in the Laredo Narcotics Unit evidence room
On most days, U.S. border patrols stop only 2% of cocaine that crosses the border – leaving 98% to pass through the country into the hands of gang members, dealers and even your next door neighbour. Thousands of years ago, native Indian tribes in South America discovered that chewing on coco leaves gave them the energy to work longer hours in higher altitudes. Then, in the early 1850s, two German scientists refined the coco leaves hoping to isolate the benefits of the active ingredients – the result of which is now called cocaine.
Each year, Americans spend over ten billion dollars on heroin. In the world of drugs, heroin is the ultimate security blanket – numbing the body’s pain centres and wrapping addicts in a warm, relaxing sensation. When it was first introduced in the late 19th century, drug companies sold heroin as an over-the-counter cough suppressant and pain killer – before learning that the drug shuts down the brain’s frontal lobe and cuts off the ability to evaluate the consequences of one’s actions.
Whether it’s a neighbour, friend or relative, even the most unlikely person can become an addict. Discover how drugs have taken the world by storm and meet the unlikely people that get hooked on them when METH NATION, COCAINE NATION and HEROIN NATION uncover the key players and casualties of the war on drugs that grips the world.