The opioid epidemic is one of the most tragic stories of the last decade or more. It’s hard to even quantify the effects that opioids have had on people in the US, with doctors prescribing pills with the best of intentions but leading folks into a downward spiral of addiction that can sometimes lead to death. The devastation is real and horrific. And in the upcoming Netflix series “Painkiller,” the streaming service has enlisted a group of creators to help highlight the origins of this terrible story.
Netflix announced that Eric Newman, the showrunner behind “Narcos” and “Narcos: Mexico” is going to executive produce a new scripted drama series that tackles the origins of the opioid crisis. He’s brought on writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) to craft the story and serve as the drama’s showrunners. Also, filmmaker Peter Berg has been hired to direct all of the episodes. And the icing on the cake is that Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney is also onboard as an executive producer.
Berg said, “I am really charged to be a part of such an in-depth exploration of the genesis of the opioid travesty. Companies that profit off of death and addiction are fair game to me when it comes to illuminating the realities of how they go about their business.”
“A tragedy decades in the making, the opioid crisis has become one of the most devastating public health crises of our time,” said Newman. “Unlike other drug epidemics, born from underground manufacturing and covert smuggling, this epidemic began by prescription–dispensed by doctors, approved by government regulators, and promoted by a family-owned pharmaceutical giant that made billions while betraying the trust of patients and the public. I’m grateful to Micah & Noah, and Alex for bringing this story to me. Noah and Micah’s narrative of how it happened, based on the spectacular reporting of Patrick Radden Keefe and Barry Meier, is heartbreaking and terrifying. I’m honored to be working with the great Alex Gibney and I’m thrilled that Peter Berg is coming on to direct it.”
The series is still in the early stages, as there has been no casting announced and no release date revealed. But with the talent involved, it’s hard not to be excited to see what Netflix has in store for audiences.