Dan Schneider, a retired Louisiana pharmacist, tracked down the individual responsible for his son’s death when police showed little interest in the case. He worked to shed light on the reckless prescribing practices of a local doctor, eventually leading to her license being revoked. He has taken calls from elected officials, the nation’s drug czar during the Obama administration, and even Miss America.
But in 2021, he’s not done, he told Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit attendees in a keynote that was presented on Tuesday evening.
In February 2020, Netflix premiered “The Pharmacist,” a four-part series that chronicled Schneider’s efforts to track down his son’s killer and his suspicions about local opioid prescribing practices, as well as a DEA investigation that took down a doctor who had overprescribed Oxycontin.
Since the Netflix docuseries “The Pharmacist” debuted, Schneider says he has received thousands of comments. Most have been positive, but a few have been cutting for him: “ ‘For all you’ve done, you’ve never made a dent in the problem.’ And honestly, that’s true,” he said. “I didn’t have nothing to fight with.”
That’s changing. Schneider has steered the formation of a lobbying group to lead a charge against the pharmaceutical, insurance and medical industries, and dangerous prescribing practices in the U.S. His goal is to reduce overdose deaths across the nation by advocating for education, recovery, treatment and research initiatives.
“Whole families get destroyed, and we’ve got to do something about this,” Schneider said, noting that 90% of those who die of overdose are between the ages of 15 and 54. “We can’t just be losing 25- and 30-year-old people.”
Schneider’s passion stems from the loss of his son Danny, who was murdered in 1999 while purchasing cocaine in New Orleans. Shortly before his death, Danny—knowing he had a problem with drugs, but unwilling to admit it to his family—told his father that he hoped to do something that would dissuade young people from using drugs, the elder Schneider said.
“That hurts a lot,” Schneider says of his son’s death, “but because of all this, we’re doing some good things on his behalf. We’re going to save many others.”
More information about Schneider’s newly formed group is available at: tunnelofhope.org.