NEW YORK, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Prior to the 1960's, very few Americans had ever tried drugs. Today, more than 110 million (nearly half of the U.S. adult population) admit to having used an illicit substance at least once in their lifetime. VH1, in association with Sundance Channel, has produced the original documentary series "The Drug Years," a four-part look at the rise of illicit drug use and its cultural impact in the second half of the twentieth century. Based on the book Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, by Martin Torgoff, this latest installment of the "Rock Doc" franchise, "The Drug Years," premieres on VH1 on June 12 at 9 PM* with encore showings on Sundance Channel beginning June 16 at 8 PM*.
Spanning the 1950's to the present, "The Drug Years" explores the development of a commercial drug culture in America, using archival footage and interviews to illustrate how popular culture -- including music, movies, comedy, and television -- have shaped and reflected public perceptions of illicit drugs. "The Drug Years" also looks at how drugs became part of the nation's political landscape, from the youth rebellions of the 1960's to the War on Drugs and beyond.
This epic recounting of American drug culture is told through dozens of exclusive interviews with actors, musicians, journalists, policy advocates, former drug smugglers, and a retired DEA agent. Exclusive interviews include Peter Coyote, Jackson Browne, Ray Manzarek from The Doors, Ice-T, Liz Phair, Juliette Lewis, Rob Thomas, Tommy Chong, Common, Richard Belzer, ?uestlove, Richard Lewis, Chuck D., Russell Simmons, John Mellencamp, Henry Rollins, legendary Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, New York Times and Time Magazine journalist John Leland ("Hip: The History"), and renowned psychiatrist/researcher Dr. Julie Holland (author of "Ecstasy: The Complete Guide").
The episode lineup for "The Drug Years" is as follows:
Episode 1: Break on Through (1950s-1967) -- The role played by drugs in the rejection of conformist America, a revolt championed by artistic and social subcultures including the Beats and the Hippies. The rise of marijuana use as a cultural and political statement, the advent of LSD, and other psychedelics, hailed by Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, and embraced by free-thinkers, musicians and young people eager to expand their consciousness. This episode premieres on June 12 at 9 PM*.
Episode 2: Feed Your Head (1967-1971) -- Drugs are now part of the schism between traditional America and the youth-fueled sociopolitical rebellions of the era, including the antiwar movement and the sexual revolution. Pot and LSD have arrived in films and on television, and the psychedelic generation expresses its idealism at Woodstock. By 1971, however, the psychedelic era has been eclipsed by death, darkness and Richard Nixon. This episode premieres on June 13 at 9 PM.*
Episode 3: Teenage Wasteland (1972-1979) -- The Nixon administration continues its battles against the drug culture, linking it to political subversion. But drugs are part of the mainstream landscape and a rite of passage for 70's teens. Pot is more popular than ever, with swashbuckling smugglers, the popularity of High Times magazine, and a new era of drug humor by comedians like George Carlin and the hugely popular stoner duo Cheech & Chong. Disco takes over and cocaine becomes the glamour drug, beloved by celebrities, and spoofed by Woody Allen. This episode premieres on June 14 at 9 PM*.
Episode 4: Just Say No (1980-present) -- As cocaine culture peaks, the pendulum begins its swing back to a more censorious perspective on drugs. High-profile casualties in sports and entertainment -- not to mention the arrival of crack -- contribute to the momentum for the Reagan administration's stepped-up drug war. Rap artists and producers deal with the devastating impact of the crack epidemic. Twelve-step programs are everywhere, but drugs aren't going away, and new favorites arrive with new eras: Ecstasy, Oxycontin, and Methamphetamine. This episode premieres on June 15 at 9 PM*.
"The Drug Years" is the latest installment of the "VH1 Rock Docs" franchise; an all new slate of high-end feature-length programs. Each of the documentaries will reveal an untold story in the history of rock and hip-hop music, combining never-before-seen footage with a unique and unconventional narrative approach. The documentaries will tell some of the most unique stories of the artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles, and musical perspectives.
Viewers can log onto VH1.com for exclusive VSPOT footage and to learn more about the series.
"The Drug Years" is produced for VH1 and Sundance Channel by Hart Perry and Dana Heinz Perry of Perry Films Inc. The series is executive produced by Brad Abramson, Shelly Tatro, and Michael Hirschorn for VH1, and Laura Michalchyshyn and Lynne Kirby for The Sundance Channel.
VH1 connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. VH1 is available in over 86 million households in the U.S. VH1 also has an array of digital services including VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and VH Uno. Connect with VH1 at http://www.vh1.com/.
VH1 is a registered trademark of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom International Inc. MTV Networks also operates and offers joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide.