Eastern Kentuckians react to new Hulu series, ‘Dopesick’

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - A new series on Hulu called Dopesick showcases the creation, distribution, and impact of the prescription drug, OxyContin.

The eight-episode special, which is based on Beth Macy’s book of the same title, takes viewers back to the beginning of the OxyContin epidemic, a drug that severely impacted portions of the U.S., but especially the Appalachian region.

“OxyContin was like dumping a 50 gallon drum of gasoline on a fire that was already raging in Eastern Kentucky, and they knew that,” said Matt Brown, recovered addict and Senior Vice President of Administration at Addiction Recovery Care. Brown said the show is an accurate depiction at showcasing the accessibility of OxyContin.

“It just blows my mind looking back at how such a high powered medication, you know, basically heroin in a pill form, was so readily available basically on every corner in Eastern Kentucky,” Brown added.

Mandi Sheffel, business owner, writer, and also a recovering addict, said the series was an eye-opener for her to see how heavily targeted the Appalachian region was by Purdue Pharma:

“I felt like I had been a byproduct this whole era, this aggressive marketing strategy by Purdue Pharma. It affected the course of my entire life based on what was accessible to me at a party,” Sheffel explained.

Both Brown and Sheffel are hopeful that this series will create an open dialogue on the opioid epidemic and highlight an issue that continues to plague the Appalachian region.

“I am so glad that society is in a place where we aren’t sweeping this under the rug anymore, and that we’re talking about it out loud because we all know you can’t address a problem you can’t acknowledge,” Brown said.

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