Is Painkiller on Netflix based on a true story?

August 10, 2023 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
Louie Fecou 0
Netflix, New and Upcoming, Streaming Service, TV
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Is Painkiller on Netflix based on a true story

Is Painkiller on Netflix based on a true story? We discuss the Netflix limited series and evaluate whether it is based on real events.

The figures are staggering. Over a seven-year period between 1999 and 2016, the estimated number of deaths in the US from opioid use was 453,300.

The US Surgeon General would name this “The Opioid Crisis,” and this was caused by an incredible number of prescriptions being written and given to people, usually for pain relief.

The process of overprescribing and the effects that it had on the US is the focus of the 2023 Netflix drama Painkiller.

The limited series was created and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster and has six episodes to tell its story. The series was directed by Peter Berg.

The concerns raised by the series are still very relevant today, and it does not take a lot of research to see that there is still a huge problem with opioids, not only in the US but worldwide.

READ: TV Shows like Painkiller

This Netflix series takes a look at the situation and offers up some terrifying truths about what happened that led to this crisis and how an entire nation seemed to become addicted to opioids.

You will be able to read a thorough and thought-provoking review of the series elsewhere on Ready Steady Cut, but this article is more focused on looking at the story behind the show, and answering the question, is Painkiller on Netflix based on a true story?

What is Painkiller on Netflix about?

Painkiller is a six-episode limited series that explores the situation in the US that led to many people being affected by prescription drugs.

There are three leads whose story we follow in the series, and it covers the rise of the opioid epidemic and the processes that were put in place to look more carefully at what exactly had been going on to facilitate it.

The show explains the jaw-dropping lengths that big pharmaceutical companies could go to in order to maintain a grip in the marketplace, and it is these shocking revelations that will eventually be the hook for the show.

Is Painkiller on Netflix based on a true story?

Although the show uses drama to explore the situation, the premise of the story is based on two nonfiction books on the subject of the Opioid Crisis.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain and Barry Meier’s An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic are the two main texts used in the production of this dramatic reconstruction of events.

What is the opioid crisis in America?

The opioid crisis comes from a rise in the use of painkiller drugs prescribed by doctors but also sourced from illegal agencies.

Starting in the 1990s, a steady rise in the number of people using these drugs for pain management led to a huge increase in people who relied on opioids, and the marketing and availability of the drugs were so accessible that those using them did not think that there was any danger or misuse involved.

Who is the Sackler family?

Two of the companies that have faced massive criticism over the opioid crisis in the US are Purdue Pharma and Mundipharma. These companies have been cited as being hugely responsible for the crisis, and they are both owned by the Sackler family.

Lawsuits against some members of the family, many referencing a branded drug called OxyContin, have seen the family falling under scrutiny for their practices, and in some areas of reporting, they have been called “the most evil family in America.”

Many detractors have also referred to the family as “the worst drug dealers in history.”

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