Danny Strong Shines a Light on Purdue Pharma With His Series “Dopesick”￼
When Danny Strong was introduced to the Sackler company’s story, he had very little information about their role in what has become known as the opioid crisis. But as he researched the topic further, he quickly discovered that there was a much larger story looming behind the scenes. Strong has dove into deep and riveting story plots before as a storyteller, but his endeavor into learning more about how this pharmaceutical company played a major role in perpetuating opioid dependency in America.
Danny Strong took the idea of telling the story about the people behind the company as well as the people impacted by the decisions they made. “Dopesick”is Strong’s way of showcasing the damage done when money and gain become a priority over people.
Shining a Light on the Truth
Strong felt that a great injustice had been done, and he was determined to tell the story in an impactful and engaging way. His anger over the events that play out in the story of “Dopesick” led to the creation of this American drama series. Never one to shy away from telling real-life stories, Strong approaches “Dopesick” from multiple angles to give viewers a multifaceted look at the opioid crisis.
Motivated by the desire to keep similar tragedies from happening in other parts of the world, Strong made the series to bring awareness to unethical marketing practices that put consumers and the people they love at risk. In his eight-part series, Strong gives an inside look at the deception of big pharma, and how Richard Sackler and Purdue Pharma were largely responsible for helping opioid addiction take hold of the nation.
Behind the Scenes of “Dopesick”
“Dopesick” is based on Beth Marcy’s nonfiction bestseller “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America.” The eight-part limited series breaks down the harrowing story of the impact of addiction on Americans and their families.
Starring Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Kaitlyn Dever, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rosario Dawson, “Dopesick” brings the damaging effects of opioid addiction to the screen in a way that has not been seen before. Through Strong’s lens, viewers get a real look at what happens when addiction takes hold of people and the damage that is done when regulations and warnings for potentially addictive medications are absent.
Strong wrote the series as a way to create a larger conversation about the OxyContin crisis and the marketing behind the drug that has left a lasting impact on the families of those who became addicted to its use. These individuals began taking the drug initially believing it is a solution for pain and similar chronic illnesses, only to become consumed by its addictive properties.
Strong tells “Dopesick”using some fictionalized details to highlight the real-life injustices done to individuals who look to medical professionals for health solutions. These people then find themselves used as a means of corporate gain by companies who are willing to push the very limits of morality to make a profit.
The Characters of “Dopesick”
As you watch the series, you will be taken on a journey that swings from small-town people struggling to overcome their dependency on OxyContin, to one of the highest levels of federal government investigation through the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The storyline is broken down into three major storylines that span geography and time, making for an interesting and captivating viewing experience.
A small-town doctor (played by Michael Keaton) gets wrapped up in the crisis when he is persuaded by a representative of Purdue Pharma to prescribe OxyContin to his patients under the belief that the drug had little to no addictive effects. Upon doing so, Keaton’s character quickly discovers that the company’s claims are far from accurate.
Meanwhile, the internal story of the Sackler family plays out. It shows how they unscrupulously marketed the drug as a non-addictive solution to medical issues, knowing full well that the drug could indeed lead to addiction. The story also covers the investigation efforts of the government to pursue Richard Sackler and Purdue Pharma for their unethical practices.
Strong takes on an incredibly complex story with compassion, conviction, and a deep desire to give a face and name to so many who have had their lives forever changed by the less-than-moral actions of others.
The Many Accolades of Danny Strong
Danny Strong, who has a background in acting, directing, producing, and writing for television and film, may be best recognized for his role as Jonathan Levinson in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Doyle McMaster in the hit television series “Gilmore Girls.” Strong boasts two Emmy Awards, two Producers Guild Awards, an NAACP award, and a Writers Guild of America Award. Some of Strong’s other notable projects include the hit television series “Empire,” the film “The Butler,” and the 2013 film adaptation of the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
Watch the entire first season of Strong’s latest creative project “Dopesick” now on Hulu.