One of the numerous films created by prolific non-fiction producer Sid Davis, “The Pill Poppers” is a cautionary educational film that focuses on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. It opens with the film’s director reading the film’s script (:19). Three cases are to be depicted of Andy, Kris and Mark (1:12). In a school boy’s locker room, students huff spray paint in a paper bag (1:33). The physical education teacher walks in and catches them (2:08). As the room is cleared, three boy’s remain and one is Andy (2:55). The other two boys in the room tell Mark there’s better ways of getting high such as pills (3:07). Amphetamines affect the brain and spinal cord (3:17). The most common is Benzedrine. Another is methamphetamine hydrochloride (3:50) also known as methamphetamine or speed. The effects can include a drug psychosis similar to the symptoms of paranoid Schizophrenia (4:06). Andy takes a pill (4:29). He then builds a habit as he buys more while watching a car race (5:30). Andy begins to fight with his family (5:56). He hallucinates while crossing the street as he becomes psychologically dependent (6:42). When he cannot sleep due to the effects of the stimulant, he begins to take downers (7:03). Andy experiences fits of rage and violence (7:45). His mental health deteriorates until he is seen in isolation in a mental health facility (8:34). A 1970’s Ford Mustang honks it’s horn outside the home of Kris (8:54). Kris is pictured among hippies in a graffiti filled room smoking marijuana (9:28). Kris is handed ‘reds’ (9:54). Seconal is considered to be one of the most dangerous barbiturates (10:00). Other barbiturates are listed (10:37). Time magazine follows with a header reading “Drugs and the Young” (11:06). An article from January of 1970 is then shown (11:15) stating the rate of drug overdoses entering hospitals. Alcohol is especially dangerous when mixed with ‘downers’ (11:45). Kris buys more pills as her tolerance increases (12:47). Her school work begins to suffer (12:53) and she begins to isolate herself from her parents (13:02). In order to support her habit, she begins shoplifting (13:40). One night, she mixes alcohol with the pills (14:21). A patrol vehicle for the Culver City Police department is viewed as she had overdosed (14:36). Mark is pictured at home with a stepfather he cannot connect with (15:23). His friends offer him Seconal (16:12). As he and friends play outside of a chemical plant (16:18) he decides to stock up and buy more pills (16:34). He debates on taking them once at home and stuffs them under his pillow (17:15). At bowling, Mark is pictured abnormally distracted (17:20). He meets with a friend whom was known for selling drugs (17:40). To his surprise, Willie tells Mark he’s finished with drugs and they will do Mark no good (18:04). At home, Mark flushes the pills down the toilet (19:07). The director returns to wrap up the cases (19:39). In New York and in Los Angeles in the 1970’s, statistics state one person died a day from accidental overdoses (20:41). The film was produced in cooperation with the Culver City Police Department (21:02) and was a Sid Davis Production (21:13).
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