‘Dopesick’ is a drama series based on Beth Macy’s non-fiction book ‘Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America.’ It focuses on America’s opioid addiction crisis and examines the role of Purdue Pharma in the situation. The narrative features various characters based on real people, such as the Sackler family members.
One of the show’s standout characters is Micheal Keaton’s Dr. Samuel Finnix. Given the show’s allusions to various real-life figures and dramatization of true events, viewers must be wondering whether the character of Dr. Samuel Finnix also has a real-world counterpart. Here’s everything you need to know about the character’s inception and inspirations!
Is Dr. Samuel Finnix Based on a Real Person?
In ‘Dopesick’ actor Micheal Keaton essays the role of Dr. Samuel Finnix, who is a physician working in Finch Creek, a mining town. The local community idolizes Finnix, and they completely trust him with their health-related issues. Purdue Pharma sales rep Billy Cutler introduces Finnix to the company’s new allegedly non-addictive opioid drug called OxyContin. The drug slowly begins to sweep the town, and Finnix also finds himself in the chaos. After an accident, Finnix becomes addicted to opioids and battles with addiction for much of the show.
The character of Finnix is used to represent the duality of the challenge the doctors faced during the onset of the opioid epidemic triggered by OxyContin’s introduction. Dr. Samuel Finnix is indeed based on a real person, but not entirely. The character is loosely inspired by Tennessee-based Dr. Stephen Loyd.
Loyd grew up in East Tennessee amidst a chaotic home environment. He developed a habit of binge drinking in his young adult years but quit alcohol after joining the med school. In 2004, Loyd was practicing medicine as an internist. At the end of his residency program, Loyd began to consume pain pills, and soon it developed into an addiction.
At one point, the doctor would ingest nearly 100 pills a day. Loyd would take pills from his patients while also asking his doctor friends to write him prescriptions. Loyd opened up about his pill addiction in an interview with the Tennessean. “Half of the nights I went to bed, I was afraid to close my eyes because I was afraid I would die in my sleep. The other half, I prayed I would die in my sleep so it would be over,” he said.
However, one day Loyd’s father realized his son’s addiction problem. With his father’s help, Loyd signed up for rehab and got clean. He then began using his personal experience to help others fight substance abuse. The now 54-year-old doctor currently serves as the Medical Director for the Cedar Recovery addiction treatment centers in Middle Tennessee.
Loyd met the show’s producers through Robert Pack, a pain pills expert. Pack is the Associate Dean for East Tennessee State University, where Loyd studied and obtained his medical degree. Loyd worked with the show’s writers and shared his experiences which were incorporated into the show. However, the character of Finnix is an amalgamation of various real doctors.
“We are grateful to him for serving as a direct inspiration. The Keaton character is a composite of several doctors we personally know about, but Dr. Steve is the one who helped us most directly in the room and afterward(s),” executive producer Beth Macy told Tennessean in an interview.
Read More: Where Was Dopesick Filmed?