You can’t turn on the news without hearing about opioid and drug addiction right now. The way it is presented is definitely different from how the war on drugs was perceived during the crack epidemic. Somehow because those suffering are not what America’s perception of a drug addict looks like the narrative has been changed. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, On Working Class identified that rising death rates among middle-aged whites, especially those from the working class, were tied in part to the many opioid overdoses that ” These type of reports changed everything. What does all of this mean? Well, these demographics and deaths of people who were not minorities seemed to create a sense of urgency in America. "It went undetected by regulators and law enforcement officials until evidence of the carnage it was causing began piling up at their feet," stated the Working Class Perspectives blog. There are now widespread reports and lots of coverage on the opioid and heroine crisis.
The one person who has been uncut and raw about drug addiction and what it really looks in America is St. Louis-based Irish director, Anthony Monaghan. Monaghan was ahead of the media trend reporting on opioid and drug addiction. He documented the plight of working class Americans suffering from addiction for the past three years. Monaghan captured what he believed was America's apathy towards the working class and those who feel as if they have been left behind in his film, Rednecks and Culchies. The documentary is a brilliant exposure of the faces of drug addiction that we normally don’t see, white rural and sometimes surban working class men. Many of the people revealed in the documentary were construction workers who worked for Monaghan. Monaghan said it was through his construction business that he became familiar with how bad the epidemic was. “I had never seen so many people with so many problem until I came to America. I definitely grew up poor in Ireland but America’s poverty was much harsher and cruel and I've come across so many people who escape their circumstances through drugs but interestingly enough when I tried to push my documentary I got a lot of resistance from the media especially in Ireland. Its like no one wants to show this side of America especially when its white people who are being impacted by drugs and poverty. There is a racial dynamic in America that pushes a stereotype of what addiction looks like and that’s wrong because it leaves out an entire community that already feels invisible in middle America.”
Monaghan says despite the success of his documentary he hasn’t been as well received as he should have been in Ireland. “No one wants to talk about these type of problems. They want to sweep it under the rug. There is all of this resistance to the point in which I think some media outlets have blocked me from sharing this story. Well it’s the truth and we’re not going to solve the problems of poverty and drugs by running away from them so I’m going to continue talking about it,” said Monaghan. You can keep up with Monaghan’s projects on his website. www.monaghanproductions.com and follow him on facebook.