Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer? (2017)
The story of Dr. William Hurwitz – a preeminent pain specialist sentenced to 25 years in prison – provides a window into the ethical dilemma of opioid prescriptions. Painkillers give doctors tremendous power to relieve pain, a primary goal of any physician. But this power begets trouble when the same drugs can lead to addiction, abuse and death. The documentary traces Dr. Hurwitz’s trial, detailing the events that lead to his arrest. Testimonies from witnesses in the case contradict one another – some revere him, while others condemn him. Taken together, their accounts reveal a portrait of a compassion yet flawed doctor. The film underscores the tension between every patient’s right to pain relief and the lawful need for drug control. In 2016 prescription drugs kill more Americans than HIV or homicide, and more than heroin and cocaine combined. There could not be a more critical time to spark a discussion on this topic and call for careful though and action.
Dr. Anna Lembke