Ep. 95 The Problem with Pain—Opioids, Big Pharma, and Heroin Addiction

A few years ago, I met a young woman in her late twenties. As we began chatting, she shared she was going through a divorce. Her ex was addicted to OxyContin—a prescription pain medication. Fast forward a few years, and I learned some startling and terrifying facts—that in 2014, my home state of Ohio led the nation in deaths from heroin overdoses and in 2016, it earned this same distinction from opioid overdoses. I had no idea what was going on, but I suspected that diagnostic inflation and Big Pharma played a role. (For more on why I came to this conclusion, please listen to my interview with Dr. Allen Frances in episode 22). So, when I came across Sam Quinones’ book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, I knew I wanted to invite him to the program to help us understand how the Heartland became America’s hotspot of heroin and opioid addiction. In our conversation, Sam describes:


· The “perfect storm” that moved heroin from the fringe to the suburbs.
· How a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine morphed into a “landmark study” which changed the way medical professionals viewed opioids, addiction, and pain management.
· The connection between prescription pads and black tar heroin.
· How the fraying social fabric and breakdown of communities relate to the rise in drug addiction.
· The striking similarities in the marketing strategies of Big Pharma and black tar heroin drug traffickers.

Join us as author Sam Quinones explains this tragic rise of prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction. If you’re like me, you’ve wondered how this happened—Sam provides answers and solutions.

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