Costa Mesa, California -
Costa Mesa, CA – The Hulu drama series Dopesick is a harrowing look at the beginnings of the opioid crisis in America. It traces the situation to a pharmaceutical company’s high-pressure marketing campaigns that hooked countless pain patients and brought many of them to tragic endings. The series takes the usual liberties that most docu-dramas do, such as creating fictional characters from facts that apply to various real people, but its most important elements are, unfortunately, all too true.
Resurgence Behavioral Health, a California addiction treatment center fighting the opioid epidemic on the front lines, welcomes Hulu’s contribution to raising awareness of the current crisis. The hit series has also been praised by families who have lost loved ones, many of whom were only seeking relief from intense physical pain but fell victim to addiction.
Released in 2021, the limited series is based on the book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy. It argues that pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, made billions of dollars by deliberately promoting the false claim that their OxyContin painkiller was harmless – that only 1 percent of users would get addicted to it. Over the course of the series, the Sacklers and the employees are shown ratcheting up the OxyContin campaign as more and more users have their lives ruined by addiction. At the same time, it dramatizes the U.S. Department of Justice’s long and often frustrating criminal investigation of Purdue Pharma.
The Sacklers have consistently denied any personal responsibility for the opioid addiction crisis, claiming they “acted lawfully and ethically.” They have continued to insist on their lack of responsibility even as they agreed to a settlement reached in March 2022. The agreement calls for them to pay as much as $6 billion to states and individual claimants for the damage their product inflicted.
Real people portrayed in the series include members of the Sackler family and the federal investigators. Other characters are fictional but represent real situations. They include pain patients who began taking OxyContin for severe physical pain but quickly become crushed by addiction. One is a young mine worker, one of many residents of the Appalachia region who the series presents as particular targets of the OxyContin campaign. Another is her doctor, played by Michael Keaton, who unwittingly contributed to his patients’ addictions by prescribing the drug for their intense pain. The doctor eventually begins taking it himself for an injury in a car accident and becomes addicted.
Producers of the series have said they were determined to portray Appalachia and its people accurately and fairly, aware of the many inaccurate stereotypes often presented about the region. They say they did extensive research for all portrayals, speaking in detail with people from small towns who were struggling with opioid use disorder. They also consulted a doctor who had been addicted to OxyContin, whose experience helped inform Keaton’s character, Dr. Samuel Finnix.
The series includes segments following Dr. Finnix into drug rehab after he loses his medical license due to his addiction. These episodes accurately depict the desperation that brings many addicts to finally seek help and offer a realistic view of the rehab experience.
Resurgence Behavioral Health offers comprehensive treatment for substance-use disorders involving alcohol, drugs, and prescription painkillers and for associated mental health issues. Anyone searching for addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one may begin the process of recovery by visiting Resurgence Behavioral Health online or calling 855-458-0050.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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