With more than 72,000 people in the United States dying from drug overdoses last year, the majority caused by opioids, the country’s heroin epidemic is reaching catastrophic proportions.

Following those wrapped up in this increasingly dire situation, The Trade director Matthew Heineman revisits and expands the themes of his 2015 Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning documentary Cartel Land.  

Described by network Showtime as "a character-driven verité-style docu-series," The Trade examines the crises on multiple levels.

From the boss of an opium poppy farm in Mexico, to those in the thralls of addiction, to the law enforcement officials struggling to keep up with an ever-expanding market, the devastating grip of heroin on the US has never been shown so clearly.

With unprecedented access and chilling immediacy, Heineman takes an empathetic approach to his subjects, humanising even their most harrowing moments.

There are no easy solutions offered in this five-part series but, by telling their stories, The Trade shines a light on the very real lives being torn apart by addiction, and reveals the hope that remains even in the most difficult of circumstances.  

You can stream the full season right here, from Tuesday 16 October.

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