Addiction treatment experts are warning of an extreme surge in demand for help with the killer opioid drug OxyContin since the Netflix drama release of “Painkiller”.
The UK Addiction Treatment Group has exclusively revealed that since the 10th August, the release date of “Painkiller” on Netflix featuring Matthew Broderick and Uzo Abuda, 100 people a day are seeking online help for OxyContin – 2,000 people in total in just 20 days.
To put this in perspective, the previous 20 days before the release of ‘Painkiller’, the addiction treatment provider’s website only saw 79 people seeking help online for OxyContin. This is a staggering 2,430% rise since the show aired on Netflix, sparking real concern from treatment experts that a crisis is alive in the UK.
The show is a fictionalised telling of the origins and aftermath of the opioid crisis in America, delving into the causes and consequences of America’s opioid epidemic from the point of view of its perpetrators – Purdue Pharma, victims and an investigator – Orange is the New Black’s Abuda –seeking the truth.
Broderick plays Purdue Pharma’s head honcho, Richard Sackler, who is said to have aggressively marketed the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. In September 2021, Purdue Pharma was dissolved, and the company’s owners – members of the Sackler family – were forced to turn over $4.5 billion to settle the opioid crisis claims. But this settlement has absolved the family of Purdue’s opioid-related liability until now.
As of Thursday this week, the Supreme Court has paused the settlement as it figures out whether it is constitutional to let the Sacklers and Purdue off the hook indefinitely from all future litigation. The Supreme Court is set to decide whether to allow the settlement to go forward in December.
This country’s largest addiction treatment provider, the UK Addiction Treatment Group, has received a call a day in the last 20 days from concerned UK citizens who believe they have watched the Netflix show and are now concerned about their own use of OxyContin.
The drug is prescribed in the UK by Doctors and GPs for the treatment of short-term pain relief. However, according to NICE, the user can develop dependence when used over longer periods. The drug can cause physical and mental health issues or even death from accidental overdoses or heart conditions from the side effects.
Despite these health risks, long-term opioid use is common, with data from January 2021 showing that over 1 million people in England were prescribed opioids, including OxyContin, for over three months.
Dale Conlon, head of Admissions for the UK Addiction Treatment Group, comments: “It is not a coincidence that since Netflix released “Painkiller”, we’re seeing an astronomical rise in people seeking help and professional advice for their own use of OxyContin. It’s a scarily addictive drug that can cause real devastation.
“The opioid epidemic in America was and still is very much alive. And we’re now being inundated online and over the phone in supporting people in this country with help for OxyContin addiction.
“We’d always advise anyone prescribed OxyContin not to immediately stop taking it as this could cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms; instead, speak to your GP and discuss your long-term pain relief treatment plan.”