The Grace, Joys, and Sadnesses of 'Roma'

We go from artistic highs to moral lows on this episode of Waypoints! Rob, Danielle, and Natalie have been watching Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, his sweeping-yet-intimate historical drama produced for Netflix. The gang is savoring the fim's beauty, technique, and sensitivity as well as some terrific performances from cast. At the other extreme, Rob has been reading about new information that's come to light about how Oxycontin was marketed, and what Purdue Pharma executives knew about its role in the escalating opioid epidemic, and all the people that enabled their recklessness.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

One of the things that struck me about the Purdue pharma discussion is that how god damned super-villain evil it is. One of my favorite scifi series is “The Expanse” - and if you’re familiar with it, you know that the company “Protogen” does some incredibly callously awful things in the name of killing people to rush to profit.

We’re all used to cartoonishly awful scifi megacorps in our games like Umbrella, but when you sit down and actually examine and take in what Purdue did, it’s only the horror-themed results that seem unreal. The rest is just the banal evil of human greed which is always, always within easy reach.

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Pharmaceuticals are an area, both in this topic and others, where the line between “just doing business”, arcane policy procedures, and massive consequences for people.

A few years ago, I watched a documentary called Fire in the Blood (2013), which focuses on the obstruction of development of low-cost antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV and AIDS, which were (and are) critical to ensuring access to HIV & AIDS treatment in the global south. Patent-holding multinational corporations and governments backing those corporations (particularly, in the documentary’s case, the United States and Switzerland) worked to ensure an estimated ten-to-twelve million people died from a lack of access to these low-cost drugs.

I would definitely recommend looking into it (as I do beleive it is now on Netflix) if you want another example of how incredibly fucked pharmaceutical policies are in the world now and how disastrous the continued presence of private interest has been for the sector.


Someone I know just helped someone I know through withdrawal from buprenorphine and, compared to when that person I know went through detox from traditional opioids, it was comparable, at best. Buprenorphine is a powerfully addictive drug at a very low dose relative to other opioids, and the withdrawal symptoms are significantly more physically impactful than those of other opioids. The psychological impact of the withdrawal was just as taxing.

If anyone promises you or a loved one that buprenorphine, Butrans, or Subutex are less addictive than other opioids, please know they are wholly wrong. Feel free to PM me if you would like to know more.