Fans are probably too busy wiping away stray tears when they're watching This Is Us and not looking for pharmacological errors, but according to an eagle-eyed viewer who happens to be a pharmacist, there was a mistake on last week's episode.
PopSugar reports that redditor lrebs19 saw some suspicious scribbles on Kevin's (Justin Hartley) fake prescription for fentanyl. Fans have been seeing his battle with addiction, but in the most recent episode, "Number One," it becomes even more apparent.
After a not-so-great speech at his high school, which is honoring him as a notable alumni, and an ill-advised hookup, he swipes a prescription pad from the aforementioned hookup. That's where the error comes in.
Kevin writes himself a prescription for fentanyl, which The Washington Post reports is 50 times stronger than heroin. Lrebs19, a real-life pharmacist, wrote that anyone dispensing the drug would have been alerted to a few errors on Kevin's part. First, lrebs19 states that the dosage would probably kill Kevin, unless he has built up an opioid tolerance. Second, fentanyl is dispensed in micrograms (mcg) and not milligrams (mg), which is what Kevin wrote on the pad, albeit very messily, in true doctor form.
Another error was the number of refills written in. Typically, PopSugar notes, fentanyl doesn't come with refills. If Kevin was being 100% accurate, he should have written "1 sublingual tab Q6h."
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"I'm a pharmacist and I thought it was absurd the writers chose fentanyl," another redditor wrote in response. "Oxycodone would have been way more realistic." Other users mentioned that the show's producers may have done it on purpose, so that the audience wasn't inadvertently getting a how-to guide on faking a drug prescription.
Lrebs19 continues to say that the mistakes would raise a red flag for working pharmacists, so Kevin's desperation wouldn't actually come to fruition in the real world. Viewers know that all the errors didn't really matter, since Kevin didn't actually go through with his plan. Good thing, too. The last thing he needs is a drug scandal in the middle of his big post-Manny renaissance.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.