Where is Dopesick set? Hulu series recounts US opioid crisis

Yasmine Leung October 14, 2021

Hulu miniseries Dopesick is a TV adaptation of Beth Macy’s 2018 book of the same name concerning the US opioid epidemic. As always, viewers want to find out where the drama is set and how many episodes. Let’s find out…

Dopesick arrives on Hulu

Hulu’s latest miniseries premiered on 13 October 2021, recounting the US opioid crisis. Inspired by Beth Macy’s book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors And The Drug Company That Addicted America, the series features award-winning actors Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Dopesick focuses on pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma and accuses it of downplaying the addictiveness of its drug OxyContin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed synthetic opioids manufactured by Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies were a main driver in deaths from overdose rising between June 2019 and May 2020.

Where is Dopesick set?

While Macy’s Dopesick focuses on central Appalachia – southeast Ohio, West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee and northwest North Carolina – the TV show is set in Virginia.

Governor Ralph Northam confirmed filming of the Hulu show in November 2020 took place in central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, the Roanoke regions, and Clifton Forge. The latter was used as the fictional town of Finch Creek.

The Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts stood in as the lavish home of the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, while a 250,000 square foot warehouse in Richmond was transformed for interior scenes.

It’s likely Hulu opted for Virginia for filming to remain authentic to the book. Macy, who is also executive producer of the show, said: “Virginia deserves this. We’re writing about Virginia. Let’s make it authentic.”

From 2006 to 2019, the state has consistently suffered the highest number of drug overdose deaths.

Virginia’s film tax credit was probably an incentive to film there too. Production of this scope undoubtedly offered jobs and business opportunities for locals.

Northam said: “We are honoured to host the impressive team behind this compelling and consequential project, and to play a role in putting a universal spotlight on the opioid epidemic.”

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How many episodes is Dopesick?

Dopesick is a miniseries so it will only run for eight episodes – the finale is expected to air on Wednesday, 17 November.

It’s highly unlikely there will be a season 2 but miniseries have extended shows before. HBO’s Big Little Lies was intended to be seven episodes only but, after huge critical acclaim, author Lane Moriarty wrote a novella as inspiration for season 2.

In this case, Dopesick could have another instalment based on Macy’s 2019 book, Finding Tess: A Mother’s Search For Answers In A Dopesick America.

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NPR reports public health experts believe Purdue Pharma’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin played a key role in the opioid crisis.

Sale of the pain medication generated about $10 billion in profit for the Sacklers, who maintain they did nothing wrong.

Their private firm has pleaded guilty twice to federal crimes linked to opioid sales and marketing, most recently in 2020.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.