For Some Families, “Dopesick” Is More Than a Show

Charlotte Bismuth
5 min readNov 3, 2021

There’s a dad in Pennsylvania who’s watched every episode three times. His name is Ed Bisch, and if you’ve read Dopesick, (the heartbreaking non-fiction book on which the new Hulu show is based) you will remember his story.

Ed Bisch’s teenage son, Eddie, Jr., died of an OxyContin overdose in 2001. The day Eddie, Jr., died was the day his dad first heard about OxyContin.

For the past 20 years, Ed has been a tireless activist, raising awareness about the dangers of OxyContin, preserving the memories of those who died, and pursuing justice for the billionaire owners and corporate executives of Purdue Pharma, OxyContin’s manufacturer.

I spoke to Ed about the television show and why it means so much to him that people watch the show, and take action. [I edited our conversation only for clarity and length.]

Ed has organized a rally in Washington, D.C., on December 3rd. I’ll be there, along with Dopesick showrunner — and guest speaker — Danny Strong and Dopesick author Beth Macy. I hope you’ll consider joining us.

You’ve seen a lot of shows about the opioid epidemic. What’s different about this one?
This one really covers everything. I used to get so overwhelmed when I tried to explain this to someone, what Purdue did and how it was no accident. And now watching…

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Charlotte Bismuth

Author of “Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher,” former Manhattan ADA , Columbia Law School grad, occasional legal cartoonist.