Dopesick — Episode 2, Breakthrough Pain Review

Double The Dose…Again

By Mark

Billy Cutler, Will Poulter (“ Midsommar”, “ Black Mirror: Bandersnatch “), meets with Dr. Samuel Finnix, Michael Keaton (“American Assassin”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), to invite him to a seminar in Scottsdale, AZ.

It’s an all expenses paid weekend to hear about pain relief and will include a talk by Dr. Russell Portenoy, Shane Callahan (“Reprisal (TV)”, “Bayou Caviar”), a man who Finnix admires. But Finnix refuses, he’s too busy.

Meanwhile, patients and physicians begin complaining that the claimed 12-hour relief OxyContin provides, doesn’t always manifest. Purdue say it worked in 50% of cases during their testing, which is good enough for the FDA.

Purdue invent ‘Breakthrough Pain’, a term they coin in order to sell more of the drug. It is how they intend to get over the 12-hour issue with the answer to Breakthrough Pain being simple, double the dose.

At the trial we hear that the active ingredient in OxyContin is twice as strong as morphine, which also makes it twice as dangerous.

Rick Mountcastle, Peter Sarsgaard (“Interrogation (TV)”, “The Survivor”), and Randy Ramseyer, John Hoogenakker (“ Castle Rock (TV) “, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (TV)”), meanwhile continue to put together their case.

They begin to investigate a PSA advert created by Purdue. They visit the ad agency who say they were told to add in the OxyContin graphics later, they just did as they were told and no Purdue executives allegedly got involved.

They both decide to meet with the participants of the video, at least, those who haven’t died from drug addiction. All of the remaining patients have something in common, their doctor, Dr. Alan Spanos, a man who, despite all the evidence, still believes in the drug.

They also hear from a woman who was taking as much as 160mg of OxyContin. Doctors didn’t just double the dose once, they continued to. She wound up falling asleep at work, losing her job, having to declare herself bankrupt.

They learn about Criminal Misbranding, something that they could get Purdue for, it would be easier as they only have to prove that they misbranded the drug, not anything about the drug itself. Randy also reveals he has prostate cancer.

Betsy Mallum, Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing (TV)”, “Monsterland (TV)”), has her dose doubled, but it’s not enough. She also attempts to come out to her mum, she does, but her mum just pretends like she hasn’t heard anything.

Back with Purdue and Finnix does go to the event and even winds up on stage, being interviewed by Billy and gives an impassioned speech about the town he lives in.

Despite the problems involved in physicians doubling the dose of OxyContin, purdue create an 80mg tablet, ‘double the dose again’.

It’s another great episode for Dopesick. The performances continue to impress and the shocking nature of the whole thing is simply staggering.

Originally published at



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