Tennessee doctor who inspired Michael Keaton’s “Dopesick” character to host a mobile panel talk about opioids
dr Stephen Lloyd plans to share his personal story of overcoming opioid addiction and how Mobile is using its resources to fight a deadly epidemic that killed over 1,000 Alabamaans in 2020.
But for those attending Wednesday’s symposium on the opioid crisis in Mobile, Lloyd is perhaps best known as the inspiration for the character Dr. Samuel Finnix – played by actor Michael Keaton – in the eight-episode Hulu series Dopsick.
“It’s weird to see that on the Hulu series,” Lloyd said, referring to his harrowing personal story of painkiller addiction and recovery portrayed in the TV series.
“To be honest, that’s how I connect. People are watching this (show) and my story, and I hope that using my story will give people hope. As portrayed on the show, these things actually happened.”
Lloyd will be one of four panelists on “An Evening with Steve Lloyd & Friends, After Dopesick” at 6 p.m. at the Mobile Saenger Theater in downtown Mobile. The event is free.
Lloyd will be joined on the panel by author and journalist Beth Macy, the Honorable Judge Duane Stone and journalist and photographer Lynn Oldshue.
Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. and resource tables from local addiction and recovery organizations and agencies will be set up to provide information for attendees.
The event is hosted by the Drug Education Council in Mobile.
Lloyd, who works full-time in addiction recovery in Tennessee, said he keeps track of what’s happening in Mobile County.
“I can’t tell you how many families I’ve met in Mobile County who have lost their children to drug overdoses,” he said. “We can’t bring back people we’ve lost, but we can go after those out there and try to prevent them from suffering the same fate.”
Based on Lloyd’s personal story, Fennix is portrayed in the TV show as a hard-working doctor who cares about the well-being of his patients but is eventually won over by a persuasive Purdue Pharma salesman who pushes OxyContin on doctors.
Lloyd developed a 100-pill-a-day addiction to OxyContin before becoming a senior attorney in Tennessee’s Substance Abuse Division. He has made a full recovery from opioid addiction over the past 17 years and is primarily focused on helping people suffering from substance use disorders.
The epidemic continues to rock the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that overdose deaths continue to rise in Alabama and beyond.
The state’s mortality rate per 100,000 people was 14.9 in 2014. By 2020 it was 22.3.
“I want people to take hope with them,” Lloyd said of Wednesday’s event. “I think we’ll come out on the other side of that.”
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