Dopesick Reinforces These Pernicious Misconceptions About Opioids, Addiction, and Pain Treatment

This is the third episode in the Hulu miniseries DopesickRandy Ramseyer (an assistant U.S. lawyer in Virginia) undergoes prostate surgery. Even though he claims that his pain post-op is unbearable, Ramseyer refuses to use the OxyContin offered by Purdue Pharma, telling a nurse that he only wants Tylenol.

Ramseyer (played in the episode by John Hoogenakker), recalls his experience as he attempts to persuade an employee of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to help him make a case against Purdue. He says, “A few years back, I had cancer.” “I was in hospital and could easily have become addicted to Oxy. It wouldn’t be the disease that would have killed me, it would have been my medication. It was a lucky day for me.

Ramseyer claims that he refused to take opioid analgesics because of the unacceptable risk of becoming addicted. Ramseyer thinks that he was “easyly able to become addicted,” which could have led him down a dangerous path that would ultimately lead to his death. This implies that opioids, even in severe pain after surgery, aren’t the right treatment. Ramseyer’s decision, and his reasons for it, illustrate how DopesickThe story is about the misdeeds one unscrupulous pharmaceutical firm. It promotes bad misconceptions regarding opioids, addiction and pain treatment.

From the beginning, DopesickRichard Sackler, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, later became Purdue president. He stated that he wanted to create a “new opioid” specifically for moderate to long-term pain. Rosario Dawson portrays Bridget Meyer, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Deputy Director. He calls the supposedly new opioid “powerful” and “extremely addictive.” This refers to OxyContin being in the bloodstream, which implies that it is chemically different from previous pain medicines. However, OxyContin’s active ingredient, semisynthetic opioid Oxycodone was created 80 years ago before Purdue launched an extended-release drug version. Percodan has had Oxycodone since the 1970s.

Purdue’s innovative approach, which was based upon the same strategy it used with MS-Contin morphine tablets, was to put a large dose of oxycodone in a pill. The drug would slowly release over several hours so that a patient could still get pain relief. Despite OxyContin’s FDA approval being abuse-resistant, it quickly became apparent that the tablet could be crushed to release the whole dose. Despite this, OxyContin is not addictive. DopesickIt is important to emphasize that it wouldn’t have mattered for Ramseyer who was not likely to inject or snort oxycodone.

What is the likelihood that such people become dependent on opioids for pain relief? Ramseyer is wrong.

This 1980 letter is regarded as one of the most important. The New England Journal of MedicineHershel, who was the then-director of the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program (BCDSP), reported that they had reviewed the files of nearly 40,000 hospitalized patients. Nearly 12,000 had been given “at least one” narcotic preparation, including hydromorphone and oxycodone. Porter and Jick noted that only four patients had a history of addiction. “We concluded that even though hospitals are a common place for narcotics, addiction in patients is very rare.”

Although this finding was not the main focus of Purdue’s OxyContin marketing, it did influence their OxyContin product promotion. Dopesick suggests. The miniseries reveals that Purdue officials cited Jick/Porter’s study to prove OxyContin is less addictive than other opioid painkillers. This is absurd considering that the 16-year-old study was done before OxyContin was released. Beth Macy, a journalist, reports in the 2018 book that Purdue claimed that opioid analgesics cause addiction in “less than 1 percent” of the patients. This refers to all drugs. It was also consistent with Jick and Porter’s statistics.

As DopesickIt is stressed that the Jick/Porter report was a barebones one and was restricted to patients in hospital. Therefore, its findings may not apply to chronic pain or prolonged opioid use. Jick is shown in the miniseries as distraught to discover that the results of his study were being used for OxyContin promotion. But the basic finding that addiction is rare among patients treated with opioids was repeatedly replicated in subsequent research—something you would never guess from watching Dopesick.

A 2010 analysis in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that less than 1 percent of patients taking opioids for chronic pain experienced addiction. A 2012 review in the journal Addiction likewise concluded that “opioid analgesics for chronic pain conditions are not associated with a major risk for developing dependence.” An 2018 BMJ study tracked 568,612 opioid-naive patients who took prescription pain medication following surgery—the treatment option that Ramseyer rejects as utterly reckless—and found that 5,906 patients, or 1 percent, showed signs of “opioid misuse” during the course of the study, which included data from 2008 through 2016.

A 2016 New England Journal of Medicine Nora Volkow (director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse) and A. Thomas McLellan (ex-deputy director of Office of National Drug Control Policy), noted in this article that studies have shown “rates of abuse and misuse of drugs and other addiction-related behaviors” to be as high as 26% among chronic pain sufferers. McLellan and Volkow found that the “rate of well-diagnosed addiction” was less than 8%. In general, they observed, “addiction occurs in only a small percentage of persons who are exposed to opioids—even among those with preexisting vulnerabilities.”

Earlier this month, when he rejected a California lawsuit that blamed Johnson & Johnson for contributing to opioid abuse through deceptive marketing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson noted that the plaintiffs claimed a quarter of patients treated with opioids become addicted. The evidence didn’t support this estimate. He stated that “the better data would indicate less than 5%” rather than 25 percent.

DopesickThe addictive potential for opioid pain medication is grossly exaggerated. This promotes the false belief that just exposure to these drugs will cause addiction. Meyer claims that OxyContin is being prescribed too much and making patients addicted to it. This causal analysis is incomplete because patients often stop taking opioids after their prescribed runs out. However, DopesickAlthough the risk that more pills may be taken for other purposes is noted, the show never considers the magnitude of this surplus. It suggests that the drugs might not be quite as attractive as it portrays.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015, almost 100 million Americans took prescription opioids. This includes non-medical and bona fide users. Judging from their responses to survey questions, about 2 million of them, slightly more than 2 percent, qualified for a diagnosis of “substance use disorder”—a catchall category that subsumes what used to be known as “substance abuse” and the more severe “substance dependence”—at some point during the previous year. The same survey data shows that 9 percent had alcohol abuse disorder in 2015, compared to 9% of previous-year drinkers.

DopesickIt is common to confuse tolerance with withdrawal symptoms. Addiction requires psychological attachments that are only understood within the context of each user. According to a doctor, the brain responds to opioids in a way that is normal when opioids are present. However, withdrawal symptoms can make it feel as if a person will die.

Kaitlyn Dever is Betsy Mallum. She plays a lesbian coal miner who falls for OxyContin. Samuel Finnix (Michael Keaton), her family doctor prescribed it to treat severe pain from a back injury. Although DopesickWhile Mallum portrays drug addiction as an innate biological response to drugs, it’s clear that there is more. It worked for me at first. But then, it didn’t work. It seems that I have always been anxious and uneasy around others. But, the pill made it possible for me to feel more normal. Now, I no longer feel any pain. “I only think about taking more pills.

Finnix is also addicted to OxyContin. He describes OxyContin as “nothing other than poison”. However, he points out that OxyContin alone does not cause addiction. A group of former addicts asks him if there’s any pain. “We don’t really want to feel any more.”

Dopesick It implies that Mallum, Finnix and any other patients depicted in the film should never have been given OxyContin. This drug ruined their lives, even though initially it was effective at relieving pain. One patient never lived to the fullest extent of their pain. Enhanceddespite the fact that prescription opioids are the most common, the series does hint at the possibility of such individuals. This creates the impression that people who use opioids to treat pain often regret taking it.

Similarly, DopesickEvery argument for opioids in pain management is presented as a clever marketing strategy. According to DopesickIndustry propaganda is based on the notion that people are suffering from unnecessary pain, which could easily be relieved by opioids. Pseudoaddiction is another term that suggests doctors could mistakenly see patients seeking pain relief in desperate need of opioids. However, Judge Wilson pointed out that “this term is medically accepted” and California law recognizes the possibility of such confusion.

If you are looking for a Dopesick Character describes opioid prescribing as a compassionate response for people suffering from pain. He also deplores the cruel treatment they are denied. But he’s inevitably seen as either a pawn or industry flack. Dopesick Even “breakthrough pain” can be provided through individualized dosing and the practice Ask patients to describe their painAs profit-maximizing Purdue strategies.

Macy’s book’s subtitle describes Purdue “the drug company which addicted America” and in its final episode, a newscaster refers to the owners of the company as the “family who created the opioid crisis.” Even though the company was dissolution, it is highly doubtful that this assessment has been made, given the numerous guilty pleas filed by Purdue executives and billions in settlements.

The opioid “crisis” today is dominated by illicit fentanyl. Restricting access to pain pills is not a way of slowing down or stopping the rise in opioid-related death rates. It has only facilitated it. This drove non-medical users towards black market alternatives that have far greater potency and are more hazardous. OxyContin played a small role in the present situation even though it was overprescribed. Dopesick suggests.

According to estimates from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (now called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), prescription pain relievers were used for non-medical purposes in 11 consecutive years prior to OxyContin being introduced. The trend has continued since then. Even though OxyContin’s tablet crushability was appealing to drug users, it never made up a large portion of prescription pain relievers.

Defending itself against numerous lawsuits, Purdue presented DEA data indicating that OxyContin accounted for just 3.3 percent of pain pills sold in the United States from 2006 through 2012. After adjusting for potency, ProPublica calculated that the product’s “real” share of the market was more like 16 percent.

ProPublica’s method is suspicious, as it assumes that the problem is how easy non-medical users can access prescription opioids. But either way, the vast majority of pain reliever prescriptions involve products other than OxyContin, most commonly hydrocodone pills such as Vicodin and oxycodone pills such as Percocet. Those latter two types of products also figure prominently in the pain relievers consumed by nonmedical users, accounting for 75 percent of the total in 2018, according to the federal government’s survey data. OxyContin was the only nonmedical product that year, accounting for 11%.

If DopesickWe might not have exaggerated one product’s impact, but we could chalk it up as dramatic licence, even though mainstream media outlets have promoted the same false story for many years. Because this product is qualitatively the same as other opioid pain relievers, DopesickThe indictment against OxyContin is a case of the entire drug class, and it makes almost every situation unacceptably hazardous, except for dying patients with cancer. DopesickThe producers and writers of’s films seem to believe that everyone should, regardless how painful their lives are, follow the cruel advice given by Jeff Sessions, former Attorney General: “Take some aspirin and tough it out.”