HBO Max has released a teaser for filmmaker Alex Gibney’s upcoming documentary about the opioid crisis, The Crime of the Century, which will air in two parts on May 10th and 11th.
The film is rooted partly in a confidential Justice Department memo issued in 2006 that laid out a criminal case against Purdue Pharma, claiming the company knew how addictive OxyContin was but was misleading the public and Congress about its dangers. A case was never brought against Purdue, and the opioid epidemic only grew in the ensuing years as pharmaceutical companies raked in billions.
As the trailer shows, The Crime of the Century takes a broad look at the various facets that fueled the epidemic, from the PR campaigns that claimed opioids like OxyContin were safe, to the sales reps who encouraged doctors to issue as many prescriptions as possible, to the countless patients who soon found themselves in the throes of addiction. “It would almost take me 15 minutes just to eat them all,” one former OxyContin patient, Gary Blinn, says in the clip. “Twenty-five, twice a day — it was like sitting down to a bowl of Cheerios.”