The renowned master of the macabre took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Netflix's six-episode miniseries, Painkiller, which pulls back the curtain on Purdue Pharma, the notorious manufacturer of OxyContin, and its role in jumpstarting the opioid crisis. The kicker? King found himself entangled in OxyContin's treacherous web following a catastrophic 1999 car accident.
In his tweet, King praised Painkiller, despite its mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 49 percent critical approval rating and a 62 percent audience score. He alluded to his 1999 accident, which almost took his life, and expressed his deep connection to the series, stating, "I loved it" and emphasizing that he could relate to everything in it.
PAINKILLER (Netflix): After getting smashed up in 1999, the docs said, "We have this wonderful new drug for pain called OxyContin. You'll like it." Like it? I loved it. Almost to death. I could relate to everything in that series.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 10, 2023
Stephen King's tweet opens a window into the intersection of fiction and reality, where the horror maestro found his parallels between his livid encounters and the chilling true story of Painkiller. While King did not provide an exhaustive account of his experience with OxyContin, his brief comment resonates profoundly with the broader narrative portrayed in the series.
The miniseries, despite its divisive reviews, serves as a potent exposé of the opioid crisis, focusing on Purdue Pharma's role as a central figure in this tragedy.
King's own story is just one of the countless tragic tales of individuals who sought relief from pain but became ensnared in the grip of this perilous substance.
So, the faces of the Sackler family who made $10 billion from selling Oxycotin, an opioid drug that has 13 million Americans as young as 12 years old addicted. Uzo Aduba is an amazing story teller #painkiller #Netflix pic.twitter.com/UD9YvSRVip— Sina Source (@ChichiKoech) September 6, 2023
King's tweet hints at the emotional connection he felt due to his own experiences.
While King alludes to using "a lot" of OxyContin in the late 1990s following the car accident, it's crucial to note that this period was not the first time he faced substance-related challenges. In 1987, King's wife, Tabitha, staged an intervention due to his use of multiple substances, including cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, beer, tobacco, and cannabis, marking the beginning of his journey to sobriety.
It's important to contextualize King's experiences within the broader narrative of OxyContin's history.
Moreover, King has previously spoken out about the role of individuals like Rudy Giuliani in the rise of OxyContin and the opioid epidemic. King threw shade at Giuliani, pinning some blame on him for the OxyContin catastrophe.
Let's not forget that Rudy Giuliani--old Mr. Truth Isn't Truth--worked for Purdue Pharma in 2002. Thanks in part to his efforts, sales of OxyContin continued, and the opioid epidemic was born. Just another rat thriving in the swamp Trump promised to drain.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 19, 2018
Giuliani's involvement with Purdue Pharma during a federal investigation added another layer of complexity to the crisis.
Painkiller, a dark sibling to Hulu's Emmy-winning, Dopesick, tells a tale dripping with emotion, exposing the puppeteers behind the opioid crisis. While the show spins a web of fiction around the Sackler family, the puppeteers behind Purdue Pharma, King's endorsement holds immense weight due to its rootedness in the real experiences he had with this deadly drug.
Although fictionalized to a certain extent, the series serves as a poignant reminder of the desperation that pervaded both the perpetrators and the victims of the opioid crisis. It paints a vivid picture of how the rapid rise of OxyContin turned into an epidemic affecting individuals from all walks of life.
And Stephen King, the man who knows a thing or two about tales of terror, gave his seal of approval to this real-life nightmare on Netflix.