Dopesick aims to chronicle the beginning of America's opioid crisis
When Danny Strong (Empire) decided to create a series inspired by Beth Macy's best-seller Dopesick, he knew he had to start with the Sackler family, some of whom owned Purdue Pharma. "All we know is that [Purdue Pharma] somehow created the opioid crisis," says Strong, "but when you dive into the details of what they did, it's shocking."
By weaving together multiple stories taking place over roughly 20 years, Dopesick aims to chronicle the beginning of America's opioid crisis. The Hulu limited series follows the creation of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma, how the drug became commonplace in doctors' offices, and its undeniable — and devastating — effects.
"To tell the story of the opioid crisis, it's not just one story," explains Strong. That's why the limited series focuses on multiple people, from the Sacklers themselves to Will Poulter's ambitious medical sales representative, Michael Keaton's small-town Virginia doctor, Rosario Dawson's determined DEA agent, Kaitlyn Dever's unlucky miner and more.
"The earliest concept of the show for me, I started reading about this case that was brought against the [Sackler family] and the DEA was actively trying to slow them down and stop their prescribing," says Strong. "And I thought, if you could do this sort of 'from the halls of the justice department to the hills of Appalachia and everything in between' there could be this really interesting portrait of the totality of the crisis and what happens."
The series will follow that case, along with the journeys of everyone affected by the invention of OxyContin. "There are so many stories," says Strong. "What I was fascinated with was: How did this happen?"
Get a glimpse at the upcoming series below:
Dopesick premieres on October 13 on Hulu.
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