The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Grieving pharmacist crusades against drug addiction

By Jill Bold/editor-in-chief

Dan Schneider sits with his wife Annie Schneider as they grieve their son Danny, who was killed during a drug deal fueled by an addiction to crack cocaine. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Warning: Light spoilers ahead.

Netflix’s newest true-crime documentary “The Pharmacist” shows a man who lost a loved one to drug violence and emerged a crusader against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and a corrupt doctor who fueled the birth of the opioid epidemic in St. Bernard parish in Louisiana.

After a brief introduction of pharmacist Dan Schneider, the series quickly turns profoundly tragic for his family when the adult son Danny is murdered in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans during a deadly drug deal.

From here, this painful tale is told in part through the recordings that Dan taped in the days, months and years following the death of his son. These audio and video archives reveal a deep and jagged look at grief before Dan transformed into an obsessive seeker of justice.

The tale of how Danny’s killer is found and then brought to justice is a true-crime thriller in and of itself with firsthand interviews of witness-turned-killer and the person who turned him in.

Dan’s mission originated from a need to bring justice to his son. Because Danny’s death was met with disinterest by police, Dan began a compulsive crusade to solve his son’s murder by taking on the role of investigator.

Although he eventually finds his son’s killer who serves time for this crime, this is only the beginning of Dan’s fight against the addiction that led to his son’s death.

Through his job at a local pharmacy, Dan continues his investigative efforts when he notices a local doctor blatantly overprescribing Oxycontin to anyone in the community who shows up to her clinic complaining of pain.

His mission morphs into trying to stop this flow of prescriptions from this pill mill. Young people were succumbing to addiction and dying in record numbers, decimating his community.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, lied about the harms of overprescribing these drugs, and steep profits fueled the push to sell this addictive painkiller.

The deception was so complete, from the company’s executives to the sales force to the unscrupulous doctors who became de facto drug dealers.

The pace of the storytelling is steady at times, with periodic shifts to unforeseen, jaw-dropping plot twists. The musical score matches the viewer’s racing heart as each incredible twist and turn is unveiled.

Dan Schneider is a one-in-a-lifetime interview subject. Schneider’s unending habit of recording his and his family’s lives for two decades brings the most accurate visual this film could offer.

The fact that so many of the people involved in the full story – the Schneiders, law enforcement, Danny’s killer, a Purdue pharmaceutical rep, and even the pill mill doctor herself – are interviewed for some compelling first-hand accounts.

Every side of the story is laid out for consumption by the viewer.

It’s an eye-opening examination of drug violence and the deadly opioid crisis. This series contains violent content and strong language intended for mature audiences only.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian