Painkiller: Is Patrick Based on a Real Person? How Did He Die?

Netflix’s ‘Painkiller’ focuses on the true story of the opioid crisis. The show unfolds the events from the perspectives of different people to show how OxyContin has affected hundreds of thousands of lives. We follow the top executives at Purdue Pharma, who are focused on creating a prescription drug that will make them rich. OxyContin is the answer to all their problems, but in their own survival, they forget how harmful their actions can be to the masses.

To bring the story of thousands of people onto the screen, the show condenses the experience of real people and presents it through a fictional character. In Edie Flowers, we see a composite of all the people who fought to hold Purdue and the Sackler family accountable. In Glen Kryger, we meet a common man whose life is destroyed by the drug that is supposed to help him. These fictional characters are inspired by real-life people. Still, ‘Painkiller’ reminds the audience at the beginning of every episode that the impact of OxyContin and the opioid crisis is not some fictional tale. At the start of the third episode, we hear Patrick’s story. Here’s what we know about him.

How Did Patrick Die?

Patrick died at the age of 24 after having ingested a single pill of OxyContin. His mother appears in the third episode to tell us that while some characters and events in the show might have been fictionalized, people like Patrick are real, and their stories are devastating and heartbreaking.

Not much is known about Patrick, his life, and his death other than what is shared in the Netflix series. However, death from OxyContin and other prescription drugs like it has been one of the major concerns in recent times. According to NBC News, many teens and young adults have lost their lives after ingesting a prescription pill like OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax. OxyContin is available in the market in dosages from 10mg to 160mg. The doctors prescribe the number of pills and their dosage according to the patient’s requirements. However, due to the highly addictive nature of the pill, it has been used as a recreational drug since the late 1990s, which also marked the beginning of the opioid crisis.

Taking unprescribed pills is dangerous as is, but things are made worse by the sale of counterfeit pills, which are said to have been dosed with fentanyl, which is much more potent and much more deadly. Reportedly, social media has been used to sell such pills that have claimed many lives. Even for OxyContin pills that have not been tampered with, long-term usage of the prescription drug is well-known to cause addiction in people, even though Purdue released it with the declaration that the chance of getting addicted to it was less than one percent.

As reported by the LA Times, an analysis of nationwide prescription data revealed that “more than half of long-term OxyContin users are on doses that public health officials consider dangerously high.” It is not confirmed whether Patrick took a counterfeit pill or if it was a pure OxyContin pill of a much higher dosage than was safe for him, but he is another young person, gone too soon because of OxyContin.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the numbers have been on the rise in the past few years for deaths related to prescription drug overdose. In 2020, 68,630 deaths by opioid-involved overdose were reported. The numbers rose to 80,411 in 2021. ‘Painkiller’ tries to bring this ugly reality to the audience through the stories of the people who have been through all this to inform and educate the audience about the dangers of things like OxyContin and other drugs.

Read More: Is Glen Kryger Based on a Real Person?