Prescribing Death

Oxycontin. Codeine. Fentanyl. All prescription drugs to which countless patients have become addicted. As America battles an opioid crisis that sees 170 citizens die everyday, lawyers and prosecutors are trying to bring an end to Big Pharma’s impunity. How did it happen?

Midwest City, Oklahoma. Family doctor, Regan Nichols, is on trial charged with five murders for over-prescribing opioids. Her lawyer insists that she was tricked into writing prescriptions by junkies and is being made a scape-goat. But others believe that doctors like Nichols bear a large responsibility for the crisis now engulfing the country.

Strong, opium-based pain killers like Oxycontin were traditionally only given to cancer sufferers. But from in the mid-1990s, they were rebranded and aggressively marketed for all types of pain. Patients were assured that these highly addictive drugs were completely safe. By the time the dangers of these pills became apparent and regulators started restricting access, it was too late. Denied the prescription drugs they had become dependent on and with a chronic lack of resources to treat addiction, addicts turned to harder drugs like heroin.

In this film, we follow those trying to reverse the trend: addicts struggling to get clean, lawyers and prosecutors trying to hold someone accountable and the police force building prevention.


  • Year: 2019
  • Duration: 70 & 52 mins
  • Production: Babel
  • Director: Sophie Przychodny
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France



  • Life After Oil International Film Festival 2019 (Italy)

Related Programs

Weed, Greed and Legalization

Formerly a key part of counter-culture, Marijuana is today increasingly normalized across the globe. But what happens when weed goes corporate?

More info

Ciudad Juarez: Cartel Wars

For months, we infiltrated the La Línea cartel, following the cocaine trail from Mexico to New York. We reveal the heart of the Mexican-US drugs trade.

More info

America’s Longest War

‘America’s Longest War’ chronicles how, over the past 40 years, the drug war has escalated from a small domestic program, mostly focused on treatment, to the multi-billion dollar international war it is today.

More info