Is Dopesick a true story? – Disney Plus

MTW | |

Basically yes. The Disney series is based in part on material from the nonfiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America by journalist Beth Macy, who has written extensively on the Appalachian opioid crisis.

Is Dopesick a true story? (poll)
Yes

Nope


While Macy was considering offers in Hollywood, executive producer Danny Strong had already created his own opioid addiction project at 20th Television. They had a meeting in Chicago and decided to work together to add authenticity to Strong’s scripts.

While developing the show, they did extensive research to give the series a sense of authenticity. They brought people from small towns and with opioid use disorder. They consulted a doctor who had been addicted to OxyContin, who revealed the horrors he suffered.

“Because we were documenting the Purdue Pharma crimes, the show had to feel as real as possible,” Macy said. Anything that didn’t feel real wouldn’t fly.

But Strong says that several characters in Dopesick are fictional: their character arcs are pieced together from the stories of a few different people.

When it comes to members of the Sackler family who own and control OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, the series occupies a strong position. They are often portrayed as cold-hearted villains with little regard for patients who become addicted or communities devastated by the disease.

Disney Plus’ Dopesick also portrays a law enforcement and regulatory system struggling to hold the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma accountable, overwhelmed by their financial, legal, and lobbying resources.

The Sacklers, however, maintain that they did nothing wrong. NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann said the TV show simplifies the real-life story in ways that can make the TV drama more effective.

“I think a story like Dopesick in the somewhat fictional narrative can bring a kind of moral line that often feels quite satisfying,” Mann added.

“I have been to West Virginia, Ohio, communities that have been devastated by this public health crisis and it seems unlikely that corporations or their leaders involved in the opioid business are responsible,” Mann added.

Michael Keaton stars as Dr. Samuel Finnix, a dedicated doctor in a small Virginia mining town who was persuaded by a Purdue Pharma salesman to prescribe OxyContin to his patients.

Is Michael Keaton’s character based on a real doctor
Michael Keaton stars as Dr. Samuel Finnix, a dedicated doctor in a small Virginia mining town who was persuaded by a Purdue Pharma salesman to prescribe OxyContin to his patients. As they became addicted, Finnix developed his own dependency on the drug, beginning an odyssey through addiction and recovery that mirrored the journey of his patients.

Keaton’s character doesn’t exist in the real world, but many doctors like him helped shape Finnix’s story.

“If I made these characters composite characters, I could fit a lot more of these anecdotes into these arcs with fewer characters and get more truthful stories into the show,” Strong said. “By fictionalizing, I wouldn’t be stuck in the truth of a person’s life. I could use as many anecdotes as I wanted. It could achieve a more universal truth, a higher truth.”

Share this: