‘Meth Storm’: HBO Doc Directors Talk Drugs in the South


Peabody Award-winning Renaud brothers on spending time with addicts, agents and why the situation shows no sign of changing soon


Original Source: rollingstone.com

In the opening scene of the new documentary Meth Storm, DEA agents and Arkansas State Troopers pursue an alleged associate of Mexican cartels down a rural stretch of road. A trooper drives his cruiser into the left tail of the fleeing Toyota Coppola and forces the suspect to swerve left, veer right, and roll three times into a ditch. “Get on the ground,” the trooper yells outside his vehicle, his firearm drawn and aimed at an unseen man. “Show me your fucking hands.”

Bold white letters fill the screen for background. “Over the last decade law enforcement has virtually shut down American meth production…Into the void have rushed Mexican cartels flooding the US with a cheaper more pure super meth called ‘ICE’.”

The dramatic chase is a taste of the gritty documentary, directed by Brent and Craig Renaud, which premieres on HBO on November 27th. The 96-minute film follows DEA agents and police fighting against cartels, local dealers and users and their families in central Arkansas. There are no jobs here, especially since Walmart moved on, and residents seem chained to a life of poverty, addiction, and dealing to support their habits.

For the film, the Peabody Award-winning Renaud brothers (behind HBO’s Dope Sick Love and VICE’s Last Chance High) returned to their home state of Arkansas to spend over two years documenting the life of Veronica Converse, a longtime meth user whose dealing sons Teddy and ‘Little’ Daniel find themselves in-and-out of jail. “There’s really no need to cooking meth no more,” Teddy says during one scene when injecting meth into his arm in front of his mother. “If you know the Mexicans, you can get it by the pound. They’re bringing it over by the fucking truckloads.” In the following shot, Veronica drives down a trailer-lined back road and adds, “Nine out of 10 people out here are meth heads.”