Is [Netflix] ‘Painkiller’ Based On True Story?

Netflix releases Painkiller on August 10, a gripping new drama that is about to grace our televisions. This six-part miniseries, starring renowned actors Uzo Aduba and Matthew Broderick, is expected to explore the terrifying terrain of America’s opiate epidemic. The IMDb official synopsis serves as the show’s guide as it seeks to illuminate the reasons behind, effects of, and complex web of offenders, victims, and truth-seekers involved in this tragic story.

Intriguingly, “Painkiller” shows a troubling reality in which a whole country falls under the influence of prescription medications. The medical profession, which is tasked with protecting public health, is caught in a moral bind as the pernicious influence of money eclipses morality and values. As the story progresses, the distinctions between right and wrong become more hazy, permanently altering society’s fabric.

One issue keeps coming up as the suspense builds: How much of “Painkiller” is based in reality, and does it accurately depict the genuine events? Knowing fact from fiction is crucial in light of the heartbreaking US opioid crisis, which lasted more than two decades and was mostly caused by the infamous painkiller OxyContin. Is “Painkiller” indeed a true story? so here’s all we (tvacute) know.

Is [Netflix] ‘Painkiller’ Based On True Story?

While “Painkiller” is based on the causes and consequences of the epidemic, executive producer Eric Newman makes it clear that it adopts a fictitious perspective. Peter Berg, the series’ director, goes into more detail, describing it as the “origin story of the collision between medicine and money that allowed it to happen.”

Painkiller is based on the books and article “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe for The New Yorker and “Painkiller: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic” by Barry Meier.   

Netflix’s Tudum spoke with series executive producer Eric Newman (Narcos), who explained that the series aimed to provide a comprehensive view of the opioid crisis by focusing on “the people who did it, the people who let it happen, the people who suffered from it — and the people who blew the whistle on it.”

Director Berg draws attention to an important aspect of the discussion of OxyContin that is sometimes ignored: the drug’s acceptance into the mainstream of medicine. The program aims to piece together the riveting story of Arthur Sackler, a psychiatrist who undertook a transformational journey from lobotomies to medications, eventually leading to an alluring yet disastrous collision of interests.  “Painkiller” aims to analyze the origins of the crisis in its six condensed episodes, finally shining a light on responsibility.

The Shocking Truth About the Opioid Epidemic

The United States has been dealing with an opioid crisis since the early 1990s, a tragic saga that has resulted in over a million deaths from overdoses using opioids. The irresponsible spread of opioid prescribing was made possible by a severe lack of monitoring in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, which had terrible effects and astounding financial rewards. Public health, economic stability, and national security have all been affected by the epidemic’s spillover effects, highlighting how urgent it is to take on this formidable foe.

Revealing the Family Sackler’s Role

The mysterious Sackler family, owners of the powerful pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, is at the center of this story. This multibillion-dollar family business had a major role in the creation and aggressive promotion of OxyContin.

Former company president Richard Sackler had a key role in securing FDA clearance for OxyContin in 1995 by arguing that it had a lower potential for addiction than other opioids. This endorsement paved the door for increased dosages and widespread prescriptions, which in turn precipitated a terrible wave of fatalities associated with opiate use.

Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family were facing consequences for overprescribing and making money off of this addictive medication amid a deluge of litigation. In a significant 2020 case, the firm acknowledged responsibility and acknowledged that the medicine was addictive. A $6 billion settlement, intended to establish facilities for treating opioid addiction, was forced by subsequent court disputes. Richard Sackler and other family members vehemently deny any wrongdoing, even obtaining legal immunity from civil opioid lawsuits.

The Mysterious Edie Flowers

A gripping depth to the story is added by Uzo Adubas portrayal of Edie Flowers, an investigator for the US Attorney’s Office. Flowers, a dedicated attorney, sets out on a quest to discover the cause of the outbreak. As Purdue Pharma’s part in causing the catastrophe is revealed, her pursuit reveals a trail of deceit. Edie, a composite of real-life individuals, stands for the truth-seekers who are motivated to hold the perpetrators of destruction accountable. The show reveals the unnerving cooperation between powerful pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and a promotion of a dangerous medication.

‘Painkiller’ promises a conflict of narratives as it unfolds its narrative tapestry, a never-ending struggle between truth and falsehood. The attempt by Purdue Pharma to absolve itself of responsibility clashes with those who call for justice for the many lives that were shattered. ‘Painkiller’ attempts to give an honest account of the mayhem that followed OxyContin’s release in 1995, with creative freedoms restrained by an unyielding commitment to factual accuracy.

The Netflix series Painkiller is more than just a show; it’s a critique of a society plagued by greed and the immoral chase of wealth. During this cinematic voyage, audiences will experience a story that goes beyond mere fiction and explores the foundations of society’s moral code. Be prepared for a compelling story that shines a light on a dark period in modern history, sparking debates and having a lasting impact on society.

Must Read: How Did Purdue’s Ex-VP Howard Udell Die?

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilsonhttps://www.tvacute.com/
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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