3 things to know about the opioid crisis

Netflix's Painkiller is based on the Opioid crisis (Image via. Getty Images)

Netflix is releasing a new series on August 10, 2023, titled Painkiller. This show will deal with the horrifying opioid crisis that has ravaged the minds and bodies of the people in the USA. Opioids are highly addictive. They come in the form of illegal drugs like heroin, but sometimes doctors prescribe them to their patients to treat pain and aches. In legal terms, opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, and even morphine.

The assembled cast of Painkiller involves Uzo Aduba as Edie, Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler, Sam Anderson as Raymond Sackler, Taylor Kitsch as Glen Kryger, Carolina Bartczak as Lily Kryger, Tyler Ritter as John Brownlee, John Ales as Dr. Gregory Fitzgibbons, Ron Lea as Bill Havens and several others.

Painkiller on Netflix: How dangerous are opioid medications?

1) The last 20 years have seen a surge in opioid abuse

Since 1999, deaths related to prescribed and illegal use have nearly quadrupled in the United States of America. In 2015, it was revealed that an excess of 2.5 million people in the country depended on the drug in both legal and illegal ways.

Sixty-three percent of all drug overdose deaths were due to overdose from this dangerous drug. The highest recorded overdose deaths were in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Meanwhile, deaths had risen in The District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and New Hampshire in 2014 and 2015.

2) Parents of at least 2 million children are addicted to the drug

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted a study from 2007 to 2012, leading to shocking findings. Twenty-one thousand pregnant women aged between 15 to 44 were abusing the drug.

Another survey that was conducted from 2002 to 2007 stated that close to 2.1 million children below the age of 18 had parents who were regular users. With numbers this scary, it is speculated that they will only rise shortly. It is still the #1 life-threatening drug in the USA.

3) Parental drug abuse is causing children to enter foster care

Children of drug users certainly get much less maintenance and attention from their parents than their clean counterparts. When the child welfare system learns about a child not being raised in ideal conditions, they are placed in foster care.

This phenomenon has become the country's second-most-common reason to enter foster care. Sadly, the number is only rising. In 22 percent of children fostered it was because of their parent's drug problem. A decade later, in 2015, the number jumped to 32 percent.

Painkiller on Netflix synopsis


Created by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, Painkiller is based on the American opioid crisis. The emphasis of the show is on the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. They manufactured and distributed OxyContin.

The official synopsis of the series, according to Netflix, reads,

"Painkiller, a fictionalized telling of real events, explores some of the origins and aftermath of the opioid crisis in America, highlighting the stories of perpetrators, victims, and truth-seekers whose lives are forever altered by the invention of OxyContin."

Painkiller is based on two books: The Family That Built an Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe and Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic by Barry Meier.

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Edited by Pradyot Hegde