By Dave B.
Take Your Pills (Netflix) is a documentary that looks at the role that amphetamines (particularly, but not exclusively Adderall) have and have had on American society. As an informative piece, the documentary certainly succeeds, but it’s fairly dull because it doesn’t attempt to establish an emotional connection with the audience.
I have to admit, Take Your Pills definitely made me reconsider some of my opinions on human enhancement. Learning that amphetamines had been in widespread use in militaries, universities, and most facets of life from the 1930s through the 1970s helped me to put the current surge in usage into a wider perspective. Further, the documentary does a respectable job of making the case that chemically enhancing oneself can help level the social playing field. For example, many students didn’t grow up with the resources to have private tutors and classes; amphetamines can enable them to focus to a degree that can help mitigate the advantages of their wealthier peers.
The movie also succeeds at pointing out that although amphetamines are almost certainly over-prescribed (especially to children), there are people who genuinely need them in order to function in society. The quality of life of many people depends upon access to these drugs. The creators of Take Your Pills should be commended for making this point clear.
However, at about 90 minutes, Take Your Pills is too short to properly delve into many of the negative impacts that amphetamines have on users. They do try, but the people that they interviewed mostly seem to have overcome the undesired effects of their usage fairly well. Frankly, the documentary fails to sufficiently convey how dangerous amphetamine addictions can be.
If you have a specific interest in Adderall and other amphetamines, you should definitely watch Take Your Pills. If you’re just looking for a documentary to watch in general, you could do worse. But if you are looking for emotional engagement to go along with intellectual stimulation, you may want to give this one a pass. 5.5/10