A Plague Unleashed (03:43)
The opioid epidemic impacts rural and urban communities. Doctors and other experts describe the problem’s scope; 500,000 fatal overdoses occurred over 18 years. Pharmaceutical companies experience substantial profits.
How did this happen? A History Lesson (07:45)
OxyContin’s debut spurred the Opioid epidemic in 1996. Previously, doctors did not prescribe opioids for pain due to addictiveness. Purdue Pharma marketed the drug as non-addictive and safe for long-term pain relief. Their campaign included educational programs, and financial incentives for salespeople, politicians, and prescribers.
The Lethal Side Effects of Greed (05:34)
Opioids have not been proven effective for chronic pain treatment. Legislative changes prompted by corporate greed have allowed the epidemic’s spread. Doctors were informed that OxyContin was not habit forming; Purdue Pharma used dated and crude studies to downplay addictiveness.
The Epidemic Spreads from the Doctor's Office to the Street (05:52)
In 2010, OxyContin became tamper resistant and more costly, making heroin an inexpensive alternative; 76% of heroin addicts seeking help started with prescription opioids. Doctors blame Purdue Pharma for the epidemic while citing other enabling failures; addicts share stories of their lives before drugs.
One Pill Cures All (02:59)
Opioids were a convenient way for doctors to deal with pain problems. Patients and recovering addicts describe conditions leading them to seek treatment, the pain of coming off drugs, and the accessibility of substances.
Never Too Young and Never Too Old (11:01)
Opioid use has increased among the youth and elderly. Dr. Fred Holmes explains how more children die from narcotic related causes than any other. Senior and adult heroin addicts discuss the progression of their addictions.
The Monster in the Room (06:47)
Recovering addicts describe opioid dependency and share stories of becoming homeless, arrested, hospitalized, fired, separated from children, and suicidal. In 2007, Purdue executives pled guilty to lying about OxyContin; their fine was disproportionately small compared to damages.
First Responders in the Trenches (02:06)
First responders are overwhelmed with opioid related crimes and overdoses. Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo sees saving drug abusers’ lives as part of his job. Fireman Christopher Hickey created Safe Station for addicts seeking treatment; fatalities in Manchester have dropped dramatically.
Suffer the Little Children (04:14)
Dr. Kelly Clark found 10% of Kentucky schoolchildren have a deceased parent; schools canceled Parent Teacher Day due to incarcerated, deceased, or rehabilitating parents. In New Hampshire, many newborns suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical center offers care and counseling to addicted pregnant women.
Two Stories, Two Families; Part One (04:55)
Nicholas Specht and Casey Wethington's parents describe losing them to opioid addiction. They discuss how they became addicted, and the lack of resources available when needing treatment help.
Two Stories, Two Families; Part Two (07:37)
Charlotte Wethington and the Spechts explain how losing their children drove them to increase awareness, provide support, and change laws. A recovering addict confirms that Casey's Law saved her life.
The Survivors (08:46)
College student Haley Kaplan studies English Literature, staying at a "sober dorm." She describes positive changes since quitting drugs. Some addicts’ lives improve, some struggle with sobriety, and some relapse. Dr. Richard Ries explains commonality of sobriety inconsistency; Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone recommends prevention for epidemic control.
Battling Big Pharma (03:58)
Private and public entities sued Purdue when the opioid epidemic gained national recognition. The offshoot firm Mundipharma markets opioids outside America. The Federal Drug Administration faced ridicule after approving OxyContin for 11-year-olds; Senior Linda Gianotti discusses suffering from withdrawal.
There Is No Finish Line (02:50)
Recovering addicts share stories of mixed success with sobriety, including seeking medical help, sponsorship, therapy, and the impact addiction has had on their families.
Honoring Those We Have Lost (06:09)
The First Christian Church in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, holds a memorial service for opioid overdose victims. Families share stories, revealing the scope of the epidemic. They counsel and encourage each other; many continue to work to change laws.
Credits: Do No Harm (01:36)
Credits: Do No Harm
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