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Meet the OxyContin Victims ‘Painkiller’ Doesn’t Show


The Netflix series Painkiller, starring Matthew Broderick, Uzo Aduba, and Taylor Kitsch, tells the story of the creation and marketing of the powerful opioid OxyContin—and the human deaths that resulted. But the humans who have become addicted to the drug aren’t its only victims.

Years ago, a PETA undercover investigator worked in a laboratory where workers force-fed OxyContin to beagles, even though it had already been on the market for decades. Our eyewitness video footage shows dogs heaving and drooling—which can indicate anxiety or nausea or be a sign that a dog has ingested a toxin or poison—while locked in metal cages with hard slatted floors. One clip reveals a dog clearly in distress, drooling profusely. Experimenters seemingly ignore his discomfort.

Tests on animals like these continue today.

According to the OxyContin website, the drug “exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death.” Opiates can cause animals to become disoriented, vomit, and lose coordination—or even die from severe sedation and respiratory arrest.

We already know that OxyContin can be dangerous for humans and other animals, and studies show that experiments on one species frequently fail to predict results in another. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world’s largest funder of experiments on animals, acknowledges that 95% of all drugs that are shown to be “safe and effective” in animal tests fail in human trials. Yet nearly half of NIH’s annual budget is allocated to animal experiments, which amounts to $19 billion wasted annually.

Billions of animals used in experiments for everything from pharmaceuticals to fruit (yes, really) languish and suffer while locked away from public view. They experience pain and ache with loneliness. All they can do is sit and wait in fear of the next terrifying procedure, while their cries go unanswered. Most won’t make it out alive.

Nonetheless, the beagles in PETA’s video did—because we rescued all of them. The dogs recovered from the forced addiction and left behind barren cages for new lives with families who love them and treat them with respect. We’re determined to get all animals out of laboratories.

There’s a Better Way  

The Research Modernization Deal, created by PETA scientists, maps out a plan to end useless experiments on all animals and shows why we must implement human-relevant research instead of other methods that simply don’t work.

Get Involved

Please send a polite e-mail to your members of Congress requesting that they mandate that NIH and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fund research that uses only animal-free, modern techniques to develop new drugs and other therapies.



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