Prescription Thugs

As part of the Tribeca Film Festival I saw one of the original showings of Prescription Thugs. The world premiere was at this festival April 18.

The director, Chris Bell, made an earlier movie, Bigger, Faster, Stronger, about steroid usage, which argued that steroids were not as bad for users as  the legislative proscriptions would suggest. The director and his brothers are all large men, Chris having played football at USC, brother Mark involved with weight lifting and brother Mad Dog involved as a patsy in professional wrestling, and had all taken steroids.

Prescription Thugs expands from this family story of steroid usage to addiction to over-the-counter pain medications, like oxycontin and oxycodone, to take a run at the medical industrial complex of pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and doctors. Direct to consumer marketing in the US was held partially responsible for the increases in prescriptions overall. SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) anti-depressants were held not to provide any actual benefit. Americans were said to want everything in a New York minute, right now, not willing to wade through a down moment in life. The description of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval process was a bit superficial and underinformed. Overall, a very thought provoking indictment of the profit motives of the pharmaceutical industry.

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