Millions of opioid addicts: we tell you what is behind ‘Dopesick: Story of an addiction’

SensaCine has had the opportunity to speak with two of the protagonists, Will Poulter and Kaytlin Dever, and with creator Danny Strong. We reveal all the details of the drama series that premieres tomorrow on Disney +.

The worst opioid drug epidemic in the United States as told from the perspective of the pharmaceutical company, the victims, the US attorney’s office and the DEA investigation. This is the premise of Dopesick: story of an addiction, the drama series directed by Barry Levinson that comes to Disney+ Friday morning 12th of November.

The long-awaited series chronicles the best-known opioid crisis of all time. The epidemic that made millions of people addicted to this substance was caused by a well-known pharmacist, Purdue Pharma. The company launched a drug called Oxycontin on the market claiming it was a miracle drug. A great lie with which they won millions of euros and destroyed millions of people.

The creator of Dopesick Danny Strong participated with Will Poulter and Kaitlyn Dever, two of the protagonists, in a virtual event to which SensaCine had the opportunity to attend. In it the young actors and the creator told various details about the series, which promises to be a great success.

Big Premieres, Exciting Fan Experiences, and Special Disney + Day Deals

“I was impressed by the story. He was stunned by how it was run by a few family members and how they had made billions of dollars from these grotesque lies. The magnitude of the deception that they were able to get away with for decades “. This is how Danny Strong, creator of the series, explains what his first impression was when reading about the opioid crisis.

Inspired by the eponymous book by Beth Macy, who was also in the writers room, Dopesick it treats the epidemic in eight episodes for almost ten years and intersperses time lines. “It was a necessity for the story because I wanted to tell the story of the prosecutors handling the case, I wanted to tell the story of the DEA and I wanted to tell the story of Purdue Pharma and the victims and origin, and it all took place in different periods of time, ”Strong explains. And adds:

The two big ideas I want viewers to take away is for them to have a visceral intellectual understanding of what exactly the drugmaker did, and I also wanted people to understand what opiate addiction does to your brain.

And is that Dopesick It is one of those series that you must see once in your life. Not only because of the plot, but also because of how it tells you one of the most painful and impressive stories that have happened around medicine. “I think there can be more compassion, more empathy and more understanding of what is happening with people who have an opioid use disorder ”, comments the creator.

The main victims

The series is told with great humanity and delicacy. In addition, it focuses on affected people in small communities in the United States that are isolated from large cities, since it all started there. “I felt like the series had to start from the beginning of the launch, because that’s where the lies begin … In rural communities, they targeted people who had intensive jobs, such as miners, lumberjacks, or farmers, because they are more injured on the job and had a higher rate of opioid prescribing because of it, so that was their ad campaign. targeting ground zero, ”concludes Strong.

In one of these small rural communities lives the character of Kaytlin Dever, Betsy. A character that despite being fictional “represents so many affected people “, explains the actress herself. He continues: “When I read the story for the first time, I was so angry… For various reasons, but above all I had no idea of ​​the injustice of this epidemic and how it started. I knew something, but not what was behind it ”.

The main challenge for me was the constant pressure I put on to make sure I was doing well, because I know that Betsy represents many victims of opioid abuse and addiction.

Betsy is one of those characters who mark. A strong woman who is inspiring and with a great story behind her. For Dever, his character has a “such a tragic and heartbreaking story, but overall his story is a story of strength and endurance … Even when you think he’s going to give up, keep persevering and moving forward. “

To get into Betsy’s shoes, Dever had to do a great research work and studying “the script like the palm of my hand”. In fact, apart from reading Macy’s book, the young actress saw a “documentary on female coal mining” among other sources of information. And even, during said event, she confessed that on the set there was an affected person with her. “I needed to know how it affects a person emotionally,” he explains.

At the other end

On the other side of the story we find the “bad guys.” Will Poulter he gets into the shoes of Billy Cutler, a commercial for the pharmaceutical company who convinces Dr. Fénix (Michael Keaton) to prescribe opioids. A story that he hopes will create more empathy in the world:

One of my greatest hopes for this show is that it encourages people to feel a little more empathy for people suffering from a disease such as addiction.

Poulter was not as lucky as Dever when it came to working his role. The young actor only had the information from Macy’s book and the script, although for him “Strong is the best documented writer on the planet “. In doing so, he explains how preparing for the role of Bill was less difficult for him.

However, the main challenge Poulter’s was to maintain “the line between a character who knew he was doing it ethically wrong and someone who was desperate for success.” In the end, his character isn’t all that “evil” because “he got caught up in a troublesome and destructive culture and showed no signs of being an advocate early enough,” concludes Poulter.

More information at Disney Zone