It is not surprising to hear that subscribers to streaming services are increasing at a record rate. With quarantines continuing because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, people are spending the majority of their time watching movies and TV shows at home. Well, on a positive note, leading platform Netflix is planning to use their content library to address the hard-hitting realities of America’s opioid crisis. According to several news outlets, the entertainment company has greenlit a high profile scripted series on the subject.
Titled Painkillers, the new show will trace the opioid epidemic back to its inception in the late 1990’s. A major focal point will be the Sackler family (who we’ve covered before in previous blogs). They gained mass notoriety in a New Yorker article a few years back, which showed their rise to power and the role their company, Purdue Pharma, played in the nation’s addiction problems. Purdue has continued to receive a growing amount of negative publicity since the crisis expanded and is now in the middle of several large-scale lawsuits.
Patrick Radden Keefe wrote the famed New Yorker piece and is attached to the project as a producer. Noted filmmaker Peter Berg (who directed Friday Night Lights) is also involved and is helming all eight episodes of the series. Berg has already spoken to the press about the show, adding that he is excited to shine a light on the problem and the people behind it.
“I am really charged to be a part of such an in depth exploration of the genesis of the opioid travesty,” Berg told several sites. “Companies that profit off of death and addiction are fair game to me when it comes to illuminating the realities of how they go about their business.”
And, for the record, this will be a dramatization versus an actual documentary. So yes, there probably will be some liberties taken for entertainment value. But with so many high profile people attached to the project and the added credibility of Radden Keefe, we do have high hopes that it will have a good amount of legitimacy.
And, knowing that Netflix reaches over 167 million Americans, Painkillers will most certainly give the opioid crisis the added exposure that it deserves. Keep following our blogs for details and premiere dates, as production draws to a close.