OxyContin, USA — The Video That Started It All.

An investigation of wasted life, wrongful death, and corporate accountability

Jason Smith
Nov 11, 2014 · Unlisted

I believe the term is “manslaughter.”

I may not have a law degree, but I’ve been to jail enough times in enough countries to know manslaughter when I see it. I’ve studied under some of the finest jail-house lawyers around.

In 1998, Purdue Pharmaceutical released a promotional video entitled “I Got My Life Back,” touting its newest medication — OxyContin — to treat America’s latest ailment: “chronic pain.”

The video is glorious.

And finally, there’s Dr. Alan Spanos.

You can’t push a drug into the American mainstream without the approval of a doctor. After all, we trust doctors. They took an oath. They’d never steer us wrong.

To reverse-engineer the drugging of America, we must begin with the video that started it all.

My proposal:

I want to investigate the untimely and tragic deaths of Johnny Sullivan and Ira Pitchal. I want to investigate the life of Lauren Cambra. I want to give them the respect they deserve, beyond the statistics they’ve since become. I want to tell their story, the story of the dead and dying. I want to explore the blurred ethical lines of doctors being paid to act as pharmaceutical salesmen. And ultimately, I want to tell the story of a corporation that knowingly and blatantly lied about a product that led to the deaths of the very people it used to market that product. I want to take these findings, lay them at the feet of America, and ask,


Fact: Johnny Sullivan is dead after having been lied to about the drug he was prescribed.

Fact: Ira Pitchal is dead after having been lied to about the drug he was prescribed.

Fact: In 2007, Purdue Pharmaceutical pleaded guilty to knowingly misrepresenting the abuse potential of the drug to doctors.

Fact: OxyContin was unleashed onto the American public, prescribed by doctors who were sold on the drug with the video “I Got My Life Back,” starring Johnny Sullivan, Ira Pitchal, and Dr. Alan Spanos, in 1998.

These are the facts. They are indisputable. I don’t care how lawyered up you are, you can’t strike reality from existence. String these realities together, and you get a glaring picture of corporate irresponsibility and wrongful death. So let’s take reality and push it into the face of the American public.

Travel Costs:

Sacramento, California to Raleigh, North Carolina (home of video subjects, confirmed)

Thanks to Carina Sitkus, Violet Mclean, Marlene Hill, and Kate Lee.


    Jason Smith

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    Writer for hire if you ask nicely