Oxy Contest

Two local addicts turned screen-writers vie for the ultimate OxyContin

Charlestown’s Johnny Hickey and Southie’s Michael Yebba have plenty in
common: Both spent years mired as addicts in Boston’s OxyContin
epidemic, and have since cleaned up and written screenplays about their
lives. But don’t expect them to collaborate. Instead, aware of
Hollywood’s love (and willingness to pay) for realistic drug movies, the
two are feuding over whose sordid tale is the most authentic.

Hickey, whose Oxy Morons depicts him robbing pharmacies and getting
thrown from an 80-foot cliff, claims Yebba poached from his script. But
Yebba, whose The Fallen chronicles his time as an addict and Boston
firefighter, counters that his story is his own and that he has the
police record to prove it.

Audiences may soon get the final say, since Hickey has secured Deadwood
director Edward Bianchi, and Yebba’s signed on with Insomnia Media
Group, a California production company. If both films get made, here’s a
box-office benchmark to measure them by: $949,500-the amount that
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay Massachusetts this year as
part of a multistate settlement for its failure to disclose the drug’s
addiction risks.