HBO’s special Warning: This Drug May Kill You is a heartbreaking tale of four families who have all been tragically affected by prescribed opioid addiction, it is an epidemic that is echoed all across the United States, ripping communities apart one addict at a time.
It is an epidemic which was fueled by an aggressive 1990’s marketing campaign led by Purdue Pharma that promoted the widespread use of opioids to treat pain and minimised the risk of addiction. This campaign saw doctors being encouraged to prescribe patients with these strong painkillers, whilst citing a report which claimed “Less than 1% of patients taking opioids actually become addicted”.
Twenty something years on it is now evident that these campaigns were based on fiction and now the companies who peddled this ‘medication’ can’t even deny the negative impact it has had on the country.
Through a number of interviews we hear from some of the families affected, and how teenagers from as young as 16 were prescribed the likes of Oxycontin for something as simple as kidney stone pain and how this initial prescription transpired into full blown addiction. Unfortunately stories such as this one have become commonplace in todays society but in an effort to shine a light on the issue this film hits hard and urges the medical profession and policy makers to take action.