Where can I watch Dopesick in the UK and is it based on a true story?

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  • With rave reviews online and several award wins under it’s belt – many want to know where can they watch Dopesick.

    It’s the drugs-based drama that’s had everyone talking this awards season. Examining the American opioid crisis, how it started and how it continues to ravage the country – Dopesick certainly makes for powerful and emotive viewing. That’s further supported by stellar performances from an all-star cast, who’ve been praised by critics and fans alike.

    Audiences who were taken by the Elizabeth Holmes story and the subsequent The Drop-Out series and Theranos documentary will no doubt enjoy this similar medical duping drama. And we share the all-important details on where to watch Dopesick and a possibility of a season 2.

    Where can I watch Dopesick?

    Viewers in the UK can stream all episodes of Dopesick on Disney+. Whilst in the US, the medical drama is available exclusively on Hulu – who produced the original series. 

    You can sign up to Disney+ to watch the series and enjoy plenty more entertainment for £7.99 a month. Similarly American viewers can sign up to Hulu for $6.99 a month.

    The first two episodes premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2021, with additional episodes following each Wednesday. The finale aired on December 22, 2021.

    What is Dopesick about?

    Dopesick explores the ongoing opioid drug epidemic in America and how it came about. The show looks at the crisis from all angles – following drug victims, doctors, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents working to put a stop to it, plus members of the Sackler family who first created OxyContin. 

    The official synopsis reads: “The series takes viewers to the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction, from the boardrooms of Big Pharma to a distressed Virginia mining community to the hallways of the DEA. Defying all the odds, heroes will emerge in an intense and thrilling ride to take down the craven corporate forces behind this national crisis and their allies.”

    Is Dopesick based on a true story?

    Whilst Dopesick is a fictional TV programme it is based on true events. And creator Danny Strong has confirmed that some of the characters are actually amalgamations of real people affected by the opioid crisis. It’s based on the non-fiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America.

    Written by Beth Macy – the American journalist spent six years covering the crisis and hearing stories by those on the frontline. She published her findings in the 2018 book which became a New York Times bestseller. It focuses predominantly on the residents of small mining community Appalachia. Labourers there became a target for company Purdue Pharma (owned by the Sackler Family) due to the amount of injuries and subsequent painkiller demand.

    The Sackler Family – who are referenced in the show – are real-life people. And Danny Strong shared they had to be careful with their depiction of them to avoid legal issues.

    “We had several Disney lawyers go through every script with a fine tooth comb,” he told the RadioTimes. “The Sackler family constantly threatens people with lawsuits and litigation as a bullying tactic.

    “They actually never sue, but they constantly threaten it. So we had, like I said, a team of lawyers and researchers going through the scripts to make sure that they were factually accurate in their portrayal of the key events.”

    Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America (Paperback) – £8.19 | Amazon
    Read the original story that inspired the hit Hulu series. This non-fiction book follows the Opioid crisis in America and the effect it’s taken on small town residents living around Appalachia.

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    Dopesick: the cast

    • Michael Keaton (Batman, Birdman) plays Dr. Samuel Finnix
    • Peter Sarsgaard (An Education, The Killing) plays Rick Mountcastle
    • Michael Stuhlbarg plays Richard Sackler
    • Will Poulter (We’re the Millers, Black Mirror) plays Billy Cutler
    • John Hoogenakker (Call Me By Your Name, Fargo) plays Randy Ramseyer
    • Kaitlyn Dever (Unbelievable, Booksmart) plays Betsy Mallum
    • Rosario Dawson (Rent, The Mandalorian) plays Bridget Meyer

    Micheal Keaton has picked up both the SAG and Critic’s Choice award in 2022 for his portrayal of Dr Samuel Finnix.

    In his SAG acceptance speech, the actor shared the personal link that led him to sign up to the series.

    “I am blessed to be able to do something that might improve someone’s life. I’m the most fortunate person,” said a teary Keaton. “Mostly, given the subject matter, this is for my nephew Michael and my sister Pam. I lost my nephew Michael to drugs, and it hurts.”

    His nephew died of an accidental overdose of heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl in 2016.

    In another interview, Michael added that whilst the motivation to tell the story was there, it had to be have been well executed for him to get involved.

    “As I tell everyone, if the writing wasn’t good and the quality of the people involved wasn’t as high, I can’t guarantee that I’d have done it, just based on losing Michael,” he said in an interview with USA Today. Keaton is also an executive producer on Dopesick.

    Co-star Kaitlyn Dever also shared her passion for the show. She told Variety: “It feels really good to be a part of something that really does deserve to be told and a story that has been buried over the years.”

    How many episodes of Dopesick are there?

    There are eight episodes in season 1 of Dopesick. Each episode runs for around 60 minutes each and all are available to stream on Disney+ or Hulu now.

    Will there be a season 2 of Dopesick?

    Hulu have yet to announce if there will be a second season of Dopesick. The show was originally marketed as a limited series, which usually suggests there will be just one season of the show. But that being said, there’s certainly demand for another.

    Author Beth Macy – whose book inspired the show – said she “would be thrilled” if there was a second series.

    “There’s so much more to say about the story,” she added. “About the issue of people being dope sick, about the issue of American life expectancy continuing to go down about the rural/urban divide that is just so front and centre and all of our politics right now.

    “I think there’s a lot more to be mined, but whether or not there’s another season isn’t up to me.”

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