‘American Relapse’ Tries to Give Those in Recovery a Fighting Chance

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American Relapse is a documentary that follows the lives of Allie and Frankie, two people who have spent time in a Delray Beach, Florida treatment center as they struggle to stay clean amidst the United State’s heroin epidemic and the corruption of the for profit rehabilitation industry.

Both Allie and Frankie work with addicts who were in the same depths as the people they seek to help. Quite a few of the people depicted in this documentary were first addicted to pharmaceutical opioids that  lead to heroin addiction.

According to the official website: …Delray Beach, Florida, the Rehab Capital of America, now referred to by some as the Relapse Capital of America. They allowed the film crew all access for one weekend. What transpires over 72 hours is not only captivating and raw, but a heartbreaking rollercoaster ride.

A man named Conor, who struggles to remain sober, was lit on fire on the way to a convenience store simply for being in the area. Conor has no insurance and Frankie points out that because of that, some of these facilities and “junkie hunters” view him as just a homeless bum instead of a someone they can help get his life in order.

Under the Affordable Care Act, drug addiction were now forced to treat addiction as a disease offering 32 million Americans access to recovery centers, however, the oversite fell under what the each individual state would choose to do to help its citizens. With that being said, this has turned rehabilitation into big business and business is booming, leading to over testing and insurance fraud, charging up to $5,600 for every drug test with some people being tested three times a week.

This film is a hard watch as I have had friends who were addicts and only a few have made it out fully clean and sober. I have ditched the ones that couldn’t break their addictions and refused to be dragged down with them. I have never done drugs, not even ever smoked a cigarette in my life, so if people want to call me judgemental, let them. I have been through some serious tragedies that a weaker person would have offed him/herself.

I have a great deal of pity for people and their suffering, but there is a part of me that will always think, “Hey, no one forced you to put the needle in your vain.”

However, with-that-said, we as a whole should never neglect anyone seeking help and should never give up hope for those who try to improve their situation or health. People love to take advantage of the weak, the impoverished and those who suffer, but hopefully, everyone in this documentary will eventually have a lasting sobriety.

Those who have fallen into addiction should never feel shame for trying to crawl out of that pit, but we also shouldn’t chastise them for having used in the first place, no matter how much anyone agrees with the sentiment of my prior statement. Know when to exert that, “tough love” and who it is direct towards, without judgement.

American Relapse reminds of the old saying, “There is no money in the cure,” and these unfortunate people suffer through this endless cycle of addiction, recovery and relapse; once they are out of sight, they are out of mind.

American Relapse will be showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 at 6 p.m.

Triangle theater 5
1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627 united States

  • Overall Score


American Relapse gives a voice to the voiceless in their struggles of recovery in seeking a sense of normalcy and redemption while trying to survive the pitfalls of not returning to their drug addled lives as most have no fighting chance on their way out of the lifestyle.


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