“I know most people don’t think about us up there.”

Hulu launched in 2007 and began producing its own original content before the decade came to a close.

Now, the service is mentioned by many in the same breath as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, delivering a wealth of must-see shows across the 2010s and into the current decade.

The biggest is arguably The Handmaid’s Tale, while the likes of Nine Perfect Strangers, Only Murders in the Building, and Reservation Dogs have captivated audiences as of late.

The most recent, on the other hand, began premiering on Wednesday, October 13th 2021, and was created by Danny Strong.

This American miniseries has already begun to generate conversation online, but those who are unfamiliar with the content have found themselves asking a necessary question: Is Dopesick a true story?

Image from Hulu trailer

Is Dopesick a true story?

Yes, Dopesick is based on a true story. The opioid crisis in America at the show’s core is very much a reality and the series is based on the 2018 book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America.

It was written by Beth Macy, an American journalist who was previously known for the best-selling book Factory Man.

Her Dopesick book focuses a lens on the American opioid crisis, its impact, and how it has spread over the course of the new century. Finding a more specific focus, the non-fiction work dives into a drug dealer’s impact on a town in Virginia.

The series aims for entertainment but also strives to be educational while encouraging audiences to be empathetic towards those grappling with the all too real horrors of addiction.

Beth reinforced this about her own work too, explaining to NPR: “I am hopeful that once people start understanding how we have all been stigmatizing people who use drugs, that maybe our system will catch up with that.”

Dopesick | Official Trailer | Hulu

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Dopesick | Official Trailer | Hulu
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“This was really about something”

Michael Keaton (Birdman) stars in the central role of Dr. Samuel Finnix and the American actor recently opened up to Entertainment Weekly regarding why he boarded the project:

“This was really about something and any time you get the opportunity to bring awareness to something that really matters, that’s a good thing.”

While chatting with Collider, on the other hand, the interviewer asked Michael whether he found it difficult to get invested in a story that didn’t necessarily have a happy ending:

“I would say the answer to that is yes, but while making it, I don’t know that I can think about that. But yeah, that’s frustrating as hell. Part of the great thing about this series, I think, is that people get to share the frustration.”

Indeed, it’s satisfying to see that it has already raised awareness about some imperative topics and the discussion is sure to continue as episodes continue to drop.

Are the characters based on real people?

Although Dopesick is based on a true story, some of the characters aren’t 100% authentic.

For example, Michael Keaton’s Dr. Samuel Finnix and Kaitlyn Dever’s Betsy Mallum are inspired by people Beth Macy interviewed for her book but aren’t strictly real.

On the other hand, there are some characters who are. These include Michal Stuhlbarg’s Richard Sackler – he was the chairman of Purdue Pharma – and his cousins, Beth (Andrea Frankle) and Kathe (Jamie Ray Newman).

More information on the subject came to light during production too, with Beth adding that “as we were working on this show, more and more documents were coming out. Some documents were leaked to us, but then others were just part of these very in-depth legal filings from attorneys general… that we were also able to pull from.”

Dopesick is now streaming on Hulu.

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