- Title: 'Dopesick' hopes to change narrative around opioid addiction
- Date: 11th October 2021
- Summary: UNIDENTIFIED FILMING LOCATION (SEPTEMBER 30, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, PETER SARSGAARD, SAYING: "I think there are so many ways that we're used to the government protecting interests of big business over the individual and the worker but this is a case where it's really a matter of life and death because the interests of this company, which were to sell a drug which everybody knew was highly addictive and sell it in a way that made it seem benign, were protected over all 500,000 people, more. Who knows how many? As you say, it's very difficult to keep track of." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, JAKE MCDORMAN, SAYING: "I know I recently had surgery and was prescribed opioids and already - and I 've talked about this a couple of times today - but already there is a little bit of a second thought now where before it might have been you hear about it in the news and you think you'll be fine, you trust your doctor but hopefully now the more we talk about it, the more the kind of blame shifts from people who are addicted and victims of this over to the people who are manufacturing this and have this financially incentive, people will start to think about it more."
- Embargoed: 25th October 2021 23:48
- Keywords: Danny Strong Dopesick Kaitlyn Dever Michael Keaton Opioid crisis Peter Sarsgaard fiction
- Location: UNIDENTIFIED FILMING LOCATIONS
- City: UNIDENTIFIED FILMING LOCATIONS
- Country: US
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Television,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA00AEYURN7X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:CONTAINS PROFANITY
New television series 'Dopesick' aims to tell all sides of the story of the opioid epidemic that continues to ravage rural America.
Based on the novel by Beth Macy, the semi-fictional mini-series interweaves the stories of the boardroom members of drug company Purdue Pharma, the sales people trying to push the prescription drugs on small town doctors, the victims of the drugs and the government agents trying to stop the epidemic.
Michael Keaton plays a small town doctor, who is cajoled into prescribing OxyContin to the miners in his town.
"What happens is people seemed to be, while they're watching it, realizing 'Wait, this actually happened and is happening' and that's what one of the really cool things about this particular series and there's so much good television out there that really engages but this engages with you - what I'm getting from people - in a different way. It's enlightening without sounding pompous," Keaton told Reuters.
The series is created by Danny Strong.
Originally, 'Dopesick' was set to be a feature film but Strong felt there were too many untold stories to fit into a two hour window and decided on a mini-series instead.
"I think we're up to 600,000 deaths is sort of the tally figure but that doesn't even come close to representing the millions of people that have lost years of their lives to addiction or the millions of people that had to go through the heartache and pain and suffering of having a family member die or become addicted and go through that struggle with them," Strong said.
'Booksmart''s Kaitlyn Dever plays Betsy, one of the mining community who unwittingly becomes addicted to opioids.
She found the role one of the most difficult in her career.
"All of it was so important to me because I knew I was not only representing Betsy as a character and as a woman but her character represents many victims and what they go through," she said.
Peter Sarsgaard plays an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the Purdue Pharma case.
"I think there are so many ways that we're used to the government protecting interests of big business over the individual and the worker but this is a case where it's really a matter of life and death because the interests of this company, which was to sell a drug which everybody knew was highly addictive and sell it in a way that made it seem benign, were protected over all 500,000 people, more. Who knows how many?"
The show, produced by 20th Century Television, will air on Hulu and Keaton believes it's going to be a watershed moment for television.
"I'll bet you this. I bet it spawns other series about things that are occurring out there. It's not like no one has ever done anything like that before but I bet it spawns other things about issues," he said.
(Production: Rollo Ross)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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