Here we are again. As I’m writing this (in mid-April) I’ve decided to give up on spring and pray for the arrival
of summer! You got it — we still have snow and it’s snowing outside my window now! “Good Grief!” as
Charlie Brown would say.
Well, I was correct in my last column — Gary Thorne is not ready to kick back in his recliner. He’s now living
in California outside Santa Barbara (bet he doesn’t have snow!) — teaching a broadcasting course at
Arizona State University and doing some work on TV with the NY Mets. So, he still has a finger in the world
OK. I received a LONG article written in the Lewiston Sun Journal about the “mostly true” miniseries
Dopesick, which now streams on Hulu — and about Jay McCloskey’s two-minute scene in episode six. A
lot of controversy — but I’ve chosen not to go there. Instead, I want to focus on awareness — an awareness
of the opioid epidemic that has — and is — sweeping across our country (often starting with the use of
prescription drugs). This miniseries is based on Beth Macy’s nonfiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors,
and the Drug Company that Addicted America. The focus of the book is on Purdue Pharma (the
manufacturer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin). Purdue aggressively marketed it to doctors — doctors
prescribed this drug and knew how addictive it was. The series also shows individuals who once spoke
against Purdue and “switched sides” — and Purdue Pharma’s legal fight against being held accountable.
So, what makes OxyContin so dangerous? It’s highly addictive! So? Well, first it starts out as a legal
prescription for pain. But because it is so addictive, people get hooked on it. Here lies the problem — when
the prescription runs out and the doctor finally refuses to refill it, the person goes looking for it in other
places. On to the stage comes heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The
result? The rise of drug overdoses (just last year in Maine 600 died!). Sadly, I know this scenario all too well.
You see, 10 years ago we lost a son, Jim. He was 35 with a four-year-old daughter. It all started with his
back — the doctors gave him OxyContin for the pain. He got hooked and for a while they renewed his
prescription. When they stopped refilling it Jim turned to heroin.
Back to Jay McCloskey — and I’ll focus on this. Years ago, when he was the U.S. Attorney for Maine, Jay
spoke out against prescription drug addiction and warned doctors specifically against the dangers of
OxyContin. We need to pick up the torch and continue to speak against that — and to be aware of what
pharmaceuticals we take.
Gosh, I don’t want to end on that note — but that’s all I have! You guys really need to start sending me more
news! Anything — what you are up to, how you are enjoying life, how you went square dancing last night,
your kids — your pets — anything!
Our home and property are going on the market — if it sells, I’m coming back “home!” Hopefully this
Hugs and love, Sudy