“Dopesick” Series and the Opioid Crisis
There is no doubt that there is an opioid crisis in the United States. More than 70% of deaths associated with drug overdoses in 2019 alone involved opioids. We can all point fingers to place the blame on who we believe is responsible, but that won’t stop those addicted to opioids from misusing the prescriptions. Although there are parties that should be held accountable for their actions, perhaps a more immediate and productive approach for many of us is to keep the focus on raising awareness about the magnitude of the crisis and to help as many individuals as possible who are struggling with an opioid use disorder (OUD) to get the treatment they need.
If you’re battling with an addiction to opioids, you’re not alone. Resources are available to help you get on the path to recovery. American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide leader in addiction treatment, provides medical detox, treatment in a supportive and safe environment, and aftercare planning. If you’re struggling, please reach out for the help that you need today.
Opioid Crisis, Awareness & Treatment
The television series Dopesick, starring Michael Keaton, highlights the story about how the opioid crisis started. And although this is an interpretative perspective and narrative TV drama that’s “based on a true story”, within just the first few episodes the audience is hooked, as it feels authentic and compelling. Viewers get the opportunity to peek under the rug at the debris of business mind(s) and enablers who instigated the entire crisis and who conveniently got swept underneath in order to create the façade that everything is in order at the top.
The show illustrates that physicians were lied to by pharmaceutical sales representatives to push a new pain reliever that falsely claimed it had less than a 1% addiction rate. They targeted mining towns, a demographic that unquestionably faces pain through on-the-job injuries.
Whether people agree with how events transpired or not, the show is emotional and daring. Because of this, audiences may very well connect with the characters and care about them. This connection is one positive method of raising awareness about an epidemic. A TV show has the power to move and inspire individuals on a large scale.
Through empathy. Understanding. Gaining a new perspective by watching the experience of others through a new set of lenses, and thereby being willing to provide the visibility on a problem that has been hidden in plain sight for years. Almost 841,000 individuals have died from a drug overdose since 1999. If your sibling, parent, friend, child, or spouse is part of that statistic, that number carries a certain weight to it that others may not have the capacity to hold. But in going forward, it’s up to the collective to take a positive course of action for things to change.
Perhaps viewers discussing the show on social media and in person will lead to further activism, policy change, and a shift in paradigm. After all, just as the candid series demonstrates, the lives of innocent individuals who start taking a prescription pain pill for a legitimate pain only to be transformed into an individual battling a painful addiction instead, need us all to come together and to simply care.
OUD is the ongoing use of opioids that causes “clinically significant distress or impairment.” The disorder includes a strong desire to not only use opioids, but includes the development of an increased opioid tolerance, as well as withdrawal syndrome when opioid use is stopped. OUD is treated with buprenorphine and methadone, an opioid replacement therapy that decreases the risk of mortality or morbidity.
- 16 million individuals worldwide.
- 1 million individuals in the United States.
- 120,000 lives each year (120,000 people die each year from opioid-related deaths).
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder, AAC is here to help. We are here to help you to achieve long-term sobriety and to live a healthy and productive life one step at a time.