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Drug Epidemic in Oceana

by Kayla Lynch

The drug epidemic of OxyContin in the old coal-mining town of Oceana, W.Va., shows drugs, prostitution, theft and murder as a way of life in the film “Oxyana.” Directed by Sean Dunne, this film shares intense and chilling stories.

Oceana was once a thriving town until the coal mining industry slowly declined. According to, the  black market sprung up for drugs, thus giving Oceana its reputation for abuse, addiction and overdoses.

In this documentary, viewers learn from firsthand accounts of the dealers. One dealer lives in Oceana. He explains how he cheated the system in many ways. He also details the devastating effects the drug has on his family.

One day while visiting his family, he left to get pizza for dinner. When he came home, he found that his father had shot his mother, younger brother, and then himself.

During the rest of his interviews throughout the film, he seems very depressed. The community sees him as just another drug dealer and shows him no sympathy.

Once the documentary released, the community found it to be in bad taste and offensive. They were upset that the director, Sean Dunne, was making money just for his curiosity of what life is like for addicts.

Once Dunne heard this, according to, he said that he didn’t film the documentary to make money. He filmed it to give people who struggle with this addiction a voice and tell their stories from a firsthand experience.

While some people were angry, others thought the film was a good thing. According to, some people said that they had been addicts and that they liked how true everything was in the film. People also said that the film shows how bad the town is now.

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