FRONTLINE’s “Opioids, Inc.” Honored With 2021 Writers Guild Award


Subsys is an under-the-tongue spray containing fentanyl, an opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

March 22, 2021
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

FRONTLINE’s June 2020 documentary in partnership with the Financial Times, Opioids, Inc., was honored with a 2021 Writers Guild Award on Sunday evening.

Written and directed by Tom Jennings, the documentary won in the “Documentary Script — Other Than Current Events” category. Opioids, Inc. tells the inside story of Insys Therapeutics, a drug company that pushed opioids by bribing doctors and committing insurance fraud. Through an editorial partnership with the Financial Times, this FRONTLINE film investigates how Insys profited from a fentanyl-based painkiller 50 times stronger than heroin.

“It’s an honor to receive the WGA Award for a project that so many people collaborated on, from Frontline’s executives, to our partners at the Financial Times, to the production team that helped pull together the unbelievable-but-true story of Insys Therapuetuics,” says Jennings.  “We hope the recognition helps cast more light on the deadly opioid epidemic and the corporate and financial complicity behind it.”

“The power of Opioids, Inc. lies in Tom’s moving storytelling skill, paired with the truth-seeking investigative reporting made possible through our editorial partnership with the FT,” says FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath. “Congratulations to Tom and the entire team at the FT on this honor, and to Jelani, June, Michael and Mike on their nominations.”

FRONTLINE earned two additional Writers Guild Award nominations this year in the “Documentary Script — Current Events” category. Jennings, Jelani Cobb and June Cross’ fall 2020 investigation with Columbia Journalism Investigations and reporters from the USA TODAY NETWORK, Whose Vote Counts, was nominated, as was FRONTLINE’s election-year special from Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser, The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden.

Jennings was previously honored with a 2020 Writers Guild Award in the “Documentary Script — Other Than Current Events” category for Right to Fail, a FRONTLINE film with ProPublica that explored what happened when New Yorkers with severe mental illness moved from group homes into apartments and the consequences in more than two dozen cases in which the system failed.

To date, FRONTLINE has won 13 Writers Guild Awards. Read a full list of this year’s WGA winners and watch Opioids, Inc. below: