Dopesick

I got my booster shot last week. I initially got the Johnson and Johnson one dose, and it kicked my ass pretty badly, so I didn’t go into this experience with high expectations. I got the shot Monday around 4:00 PM, and since I woke up the next day feeling good, I thought I escaped unscathed. I didn’t. It turns out that it took approximately 24 hours for my body to react to the vaccine. It wasn’t as bad as the first go around, but I was zapped of all energy, had the dreaded brain fog, and got a headache if I was doing anything but laying on the couch, so I lay on the couch I did while attempting to find a show to binge. 

Have you ever been in a media consumption funk? I don’t know if my mind has been restless or what, but I’d been having trouble finding something to get excited about when it came to watching, reading, or listening. I’d start a highly recommended show, watch an episode or two but never get hooked, and then let that show fall by the wayside. It’d been like this most of the fall, for whatever reason. Maybe this deluge of content is spoiling me. Perhaps I’m so used to being hyper-engaged that I can’t just be engaged? I’m probably giving this problem more depth than it deserves–long story short, I couldn’t find a show, book, or podcast to hook me. 

The show that fittingly snared me is Hulu’s Dopesick, the fictionalized story of the Oxycontin epidemic, and how the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma (not to be confused with Perdue chicken, as the show aptly points out) manipulated their way into ensuring millions of Americans were addicted to their main money maker. It’s excellent and upsetting. 

The portrayal of the Sackler family and the pharmaceutical sales reps is disgusting. I think I found the pharma reps the grossest. I’m not giving the Sackler’s any slack–they’re low-life criminals, but I also believe at some point, some people become so rich and disconnected there’s no way they can’t be a piece-of-shit-monsters who don’t care about anyone but their bank accounts—topically I also cured my book funk recently when I picked up Serena by Western North Carolina author Ron Rash at Daymoon Coffee Shop the other day, which is also about rich, disconnected piece-of-shit people who only care about power…it’s really good (and both Dopesick and Serena would be great companion pieces for those of you currently binging Succession). Anyhow, the pharma reps, some of whom admitted came from the types of towns they were now helping to decimate, willfully push a drug they know is super addictive so that they can brag about brand-name shoes and sports cars. I find those people disgusting. Especially because these pharma reps are rich, but not like, 1% rich, if that makes sense? Destroying people’s lives so you can belong to a bottom-tier country club and lease sports cars while still having roommates is gross and unfathomable to me—if you have private-island money, I still think it’s disgusting, but at least it can wrap my head around that grossness.

It took me two nights to finish Dopesick. I’ve ordered two books about the situation, but they hadn’t arrived yet (I’d ordered these before I stumbled into Serena), and so I found myself in the mood to voraciously consume something, anything that would make me feel the same outrage, disgust, and yes, gross fascination that Dopesick did. Do you know who delivered? AVL Watchdog, with a local tale of callous greed and destroyed lives. I recommend giving this a read if you want your blood to boil. People are indeed the worst. 

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