Macy said, “the crisis has only gotten worse,” even though control of prescription opiates has improved.
That’s because dealers have upped the available supply of heroin and fentanyl to meet the needs of users.
“The horse is out of the barn, and it’s really hard to go back,” she said.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the opiate epidemic is far from over,” said Dorschu.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this summer that drug overdose deaths increased by 30 percent in 2020 from the previous year.
Macy noted that only about 12 percent of people with opiate addictions can access treatment.
“Most are not getting access to treatment, let alone housing and social support, so they will continue to go out and use to prevent themselves from getting dope sick,” she said. “We can’t just stop with preventing new cases. We have to go back and treat these people who have largely been abandoned.”
The stigma around addiction remains a barrier to treatment, said Macy, noting how Sackler was able to shift blame away from OxyContin’s vast potential for abuse by pointing the finger at users.
“We have in this country a stereotype of an addict as someone who is homeless or lives in a crack house, but ‘Dopesick’ shows us how easy it is for anyone to fall into a pattern of substance abuse,” said Dorschu.
“Addiction does not discriminate. Many people who got hooked on these drugs, such as the teens in the fourth episode, were never actually in pain. They were looking for a quick high. The drug became widely available before its dangers were fully understood, and people started doctor shopping to get their fix,” he added.
And while the war on drugs of the 1980s and 1990s has shifted to focus more on treatment and prevention, there’s still strong resistance in many communities to effective addiction treatment, notably the “medical maintenance” use of methadone and buprenorphine for heroin addiction and needle-exchange programs to help prevent the spread of hepatitis and other diseases among people who use drugs.
“There are still so many barriers put up to treatment, and the response is not really happening to match the extent of the crisis,” Macy said.
Physicians still learn relatively little about addiction, said Loyd, who frequently lectures on the subject at medical schools in Tennessee and has testified in cases against doctors who recklessly prescribed opiates, often with deadly results.
“Dopesick,” Loyd said, puts the problem of the opiate epidemic and its origins into the mainstream, which he hopes can help build support for more and better treatment.
“Most of us know somebody touched by this,” he said.
Source : https://www.healthline.com/health-news/oxycontin-and-the-opioid-epidemic-heres-the-truth-behind-the-hulu-series-dopesick485