‘Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis’ Argues for Ending the War on Drugs (BCCSU)

Maybe it’s a little cliché to start a Canadian film about drugs on Vancouver’s East Hasting Street, but then, where better to begin a conversation about the opioid epidemic and the people on the frontlines than at Insite, North America’s first legalized injection facility. Director Matthew Embry was hired by Telus Health to create Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, a 42-minute documentary about those lost to opioid overdose, and those impacted by opioid overdose, both directly and indirectly.

Embry says that before he started doing research for the film, he didn’t know much more than anyone else about the opioid crisis—also sometimes called the fentanyl crisis.

“The amount of research that goes in prior to a film is significant,” he says. “So we have a team of people, who, all of a sudden, we just started digging in. So like, the reading is first, and then it’s finding the experts.”

Embry and his team interviewed Tim Gauthier, clinical coordinator at Insite, Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Dan Morhain, member of the Maryland State Legislator and an emergency medical physician, Dr. Evan Wood, director of the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), a member of the Abbotsford police department, and others.

Chelsea Novak reports.

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