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Dopesick – Episode 3, The 5th Vital Sign

Everyone’s Offered OxyContin

11th November 2021

Purdue is having success with doubling the dose and now, for their next big push, they want to “individualise the dose”. Why start a patient on 10mg when they may need to start on 20 or even 40mg.

At the same time Purdue also launches a competition for their sales reps, highest seller wins an all expenses trip to Bermuda. Later, this is when we are introduced to the concept of a ‘whale’, a doctor who just over prescribes their patients like crazy.

They also want to go into Germany, one of the strongest regulated countries, but Richard Sackler’s, Michael Stuhlbarg (“The Shape of Water”, “Doctor Strange”), brother and advisers keep telling him it won’t work, Germany isn’t like the US.

Purdue also says if you’re taking anything less than 60mg a day you can stop, without withdrawals, though Dr. Samuel Finnix, Michael Keaton (“American Assassin”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), would sooner taper his patients off an opioid which is what he advises Betsy Mallum, Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing (TV)”, “Monsterland (TV)”), to do.

She, however, throws her supply away and goes cold-turkey. Though later realises this is a mistake as she’s struggling with the comedown, badly.

Meanwhile investigators Rick Mountcastle, Peter Sarsgaard (“Interrogation (TV)”, “The Survivor”), and Randy Ramseyer, John Hoogenakker (“Castle Rock (TV)”, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (TV)”), are trying to get a warrant to make Purdue hand over everything related to OxyContin, but the judge says the request is too broad.

Randy has surgery for his cancer and, when he comes round and is in a lot of pain, is immediately offered OxyContin and struggles to get the nurse or doctor to give him something else.

DEA agent, Bridget Meyer, Rosario Dawson (“Zombieland: Double Tap”, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”), is getting nowhere trying to get the FDA to investigate Purdue, as it’s all legal. She visits a pharmacy that’s been broken into and learns that a Purdue rep, Amber, Phillipa Soo (“The Bite (TV)”, “Hamilton”), told them they could get sued if they don’t stock OxyContin.

She confronts Amber who tells her no, gets in her car and drives off. Eventually, she gets a breakthrough when she is promoted to deputy director of the part of the DEA that should actually deal with this, Diversion Control Division.

Betsy is still struggling with the withdrawal from OxyContin but is still working down the mine. She’s asked to check one of the dials on a machine, but she can’t see it, so she lies, announcing it’s all fine when it isn’t and a large explosion occurs.

Randy brings Rick to the hospital to talk to his doctor about the OxyContin and shows him a pamphlet from the Appalachian Pain Foundation (APF). Rick goes along to one of their meetings, in which they are blaming the drug abusers for the abuse of Oxy.

On investigation the pair find that Purdue gave $20k to start the APF foundation, actually most, if not all of these types of ‘foundations’, have received grants from Purdue.

In fact, they discover that Partners Against Pain is actually Purdue, and they have pain charts in all hospitals across the USA. One was shown to Randy when he was in the hospital. When they bring this to the judge they get their request for access from Purdue.

Purdue sends Rick and Randy truckloads of paperwork in the hope of bogging them down in it all. Truckloads and truckloads of it.

Samuel goes to DC to see his late wife’s sister to ask her permission to start dating again. She says yes, when he gets in his truck to go home he has an RTA and has four broken ribs and, in the hospital, he’s shown the pain chart and immediately offered 20mg of OxyContin.

Once again, the level of infiltration and speed of it is staggering. How the US regulators could just sit around and watch this happen seems so alien and yet, at the same time, you kind of aren’t surprised when people go bankrupt trying to get medical treatment there.

DETAILS

   

RELEASE DATE
12th November 2021

DIRECTED BY
Michael Cuesta

WRITTEN BY
Danny Strong, Benjamin Rubin

Running Time:
58mins

THE QUICK SELL
Doctor Finnix begins to take Betsy off OxyContin, Bridget sees the toll the it's taking on communities, Rick and Randy investigate the world of "pain societies" and, with sales climbing, Richard Sackler makes bigger plans for his new drug.

CAST & CREW
Benjamin Rubin, Danny Strong, John Hoogenakker, Kaitlyn Dever, Michael Cuesta, Michael Keaton, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Phillipa Soo, Rosario Dawson

TV / STREAMING PLATFORM
Disney+

DETAILS

   

RELEASE DATE
12th November 2021

DIRECTED BY
Michael Cuesta

WRITTEN BY
Danny Strong, Benjamin Rubin

Running Time:
58mins

THE QUICK SELL
Doctor Finnix begins to take Betsy off OxyContin, Bridget sees the toll the it's taking on communities, Rick and Randy investigate the world of "pain societies" and, with sales climbing, Richard Sackler makes bigger plans for his new drug.

CAST & CREW
Benjamin Rubin, Danny Strong, John Hoogenakker, Kaitlyn Dever, Michael Cuesta, Michael Keaton, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Phillipa Soo, Rosario Dawson

TV / STREAMING PLATFORM
Disney+

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