Writer Danny Strong on his quest to make Hulu’s ‘Dopesick’

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In Hulu’s “Dopesick,” Michael Keaton plays a country doctor who is initially skeptical of Purdue Pharma’s claim that its drug OxyContin is non-addictive. Photo by Antony Platt/Hulu.

Before he co-created the hit show “Empire,” writer Danny Strong won accolades for two HBO movies based on real events. So when he wanted to make a series about the opioid epidemic based on Beth Macy’s book “Dopesick,” he thought he’d be met with open arms.

Strong says, “I was going around to these pitches like, ‘I’m coming back to my nonfiction roots! Like ‘Recount’ and ‘Game Change!’ And I’ve got a bestselling book!’” 

But the reaction? “No one cares. ‘Oh, ‘Recount?’ Cute. That was 14 years ago, you know?’”

Hollywood can be cold, but “Dopesick” eventually found a home on Hulu. Strong tells KCRW about falling down the Sackler family rabbithole while researching Purdue Pharma and its deadly drug, OxyContin. 



Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker