The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 25, 2013

Documentary sheds light on prescription pill crisis in W.Va.

With three screenings down and two more to go, the documentary “Oxyana” is already receiving rave reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival.  

“Oxyana,” a film that highlights Oceana and the prescription pill epidemic, is being called “gripping” and a “festival standout.”

Morgan Davies, a PolicyMic writer, said this documentary goes beyond the town of Oceana, highlighting “the crisis of West Virginia as a state, of Appalachia as a region, and of small-town America as a way of life.”

In her review, she not only addressed the social impact of the film, but also the political one.

“The world has moved on from coal as an energy source,” she writes, “and neither the federal nor the state governments have seen fit to do much of anything to rehabilitate the areas suffering from that change, Oceana among them.

“Because of the lack of job opportunities, as well as the ever-growing drug problem, these folks simply do not have the ability to generate savings or make investments.

“This is hardly a problem unique to Oceana, but the particular situation there makes it a compelling case study of the cycle of poverty that plagues the American lower class,” Davies said.

John DeFore, a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, said the documentary offers no narration or titles, but simply “lets these young men and women speak and leaves us to hear them without judging.”

He said the Oceana residents shown in the film range from an addict, to a struggling mother, to a dealer, to a doctor—who said he sees a death by overdose every day, not even counting those who are dead at home before EMS arrives.  

DeFore said the film is “superbly put-together,” with “excellent photography” and “on-target” music.

Amy Grey, Oxyana press contact, said no distribution plans have been set yet, but additional film festivals and theater screenings could be possible. To stay updated on the latest, visit

— E-mail:


Text Only
Local News