Louis Theroux: Dark States – Heroin Town, BBC 2, 9pm, BBC iPlayer, directed by Dan Child, editor Ann Price.


There’s a funereal feel to most things Louis Theroux is in. He’s like the Stephen King of documentaries and with a title like Dark State – Heroin Town you expect the residents to rise up from their crypt and stab you with a used syringe and make you part of the problem. The fortunate thing about Louis is he’s already undead. He’s like the actor that plays Steve from Coronation Street, he’s got one mock expression –horror, shock, indifference, oh that ice cream looks nice – and he tends to use it a lot.

Louis has dropped out of the sky and given himself a stake in the problems of Huntington, West Virginia. The party is long finished the heavy industries that used to dot the landscape long gone, the Appalachian population addiction to heroin is thirteen times the national average. This is Trump country, so we can’t say they are no good junkies, or crack heads because these are black diseases, white people suffer from opioid addiction problems. The medical mythology is that with all these heavy industries there was lots of work-related injuries and prescription drugs, freely administered, allowed workers to keep working. Backbone of the community and all that. Then doctors got scared and stopped prescribing. Heroin filled the pain-relief gap.  What surprised me was the fire brigade, not the ambulance service, is on the front line of the heroin epidemic. Fire fighters most common job is to apply antagonists to opiate addicts that have overdosed. There’s talk of law suits against big pharma. One in ten babies born in Huntingdon is born with opiate addiction. Louis follows an addict and her partner to full term and the baby being born. Both receive methadone prescriptions. What’s the answer?   More Theroux eyebrow wiggling.      



Louis must be every town council's worst nightmare. Just when they come up with some new idea of breathing new life into their town and attracting the tourists - North Cornwall  for example, has an interactive mining visitor experience at Morwellham Quay and Nature trails galore and I would guess that Huntington, West Virginia could offer something similar,  - then along comes Louis with his ham-fisted documentary and tourism and hospitality are cut down even before they are born.

I quite like Louis. He's got the kind of job I'd love to do and meets so many interesting people such as psychopathic mass murderres and child stranglers. He's teflon. What I can never work out is why, the people here, for example, allow some arsehold and his camera man to film their misery for entertainment.