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American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in…
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American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2018; vuoden 2018 painos)

– tekijä: Chris McGreal (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
969224,807 (4.41)11
A comprehensive portrait of a uniquely American epidemic--devastating in its findings and damning in its conclusions The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers. Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats." A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:rchall78
Teoksen nimi:American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts
Kirjailijat:Chris McGreal (Tekijä)
Info:PublicAffairs (2018), Edition: 1, 324 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read

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American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts (tekijä: Chris McGreal) (2018)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
If Americans had better health benefits such as paid sick leave, maybe they wouldn't need as many painkillers and opioids. Which might also be why the opioids epidemic is unique to the US.
McGreal's book is a perfect case study in the importance of C. Wright Mills's sociological imagination. Look for the intersection of social structure, history, power, and social location. This is what the book does. Because the epidemic is not a question of people with failing morals, defective hillbilly culture and other such nonsense. The book demonstrates that the structure of development, regulation, approval, distribution, prescription, and delivery of opioids is truly what was at the root of this, along with the powerful entities backing the spread of opioids for everything, pain as the 5th vital sign, and the data-less idea of an epidemic of pain. There is the power of Big Pharma, its sales reps and lobbyists, and their influence in Congress and government agencies, along with that of the medical profession. All of this goes beyond the unsavory characters the book also describes. And the selection of depressed areas such as poor counties in West Virginia, as the "target" for mass dumping of Oxycontin.
As I often tell my students, nothing ever happens by chance in society. An epidemic of addiction to opioids does not just happen. The book shows how it was constructed back in the 1990s, and has morphed over several decades with no clear end in sight. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Wow. The story behind the prescription opioid epidemic. McGreal traces its origins to greedy drug companies, one in particular, and to drug distributors, who are required to report pharmacies that order unusual numbers of opioids.

It primarily began with OxyContin, which is a variation of Oxycodone. OxyContin ("contin" - "continuous") is a controlled release version of the popular oxycodone, meaning it contains megadoses, supposedly so that it lasts twelve hours. The formulation means it is in the system longer and can become addictive more quickly. Yet, on the strength of a letter and a weak study, the drug maker Purdue sold OxyContin as more effective and less addictive than other opioids. Evidence was weak but a few doctors, concerned that many people with chronic pain were not getting adequate pain relief, took to the talk circuits to support opioids in general. They believed they had gotten a bad name from a few abusers but had a legitimate purpose.

The story is actually astounding. Clinics with lines out the door. Pharmacies so busy they are tossing pill bottles to the counter. Obvious drug sales within feet of clinics and pharmacies. A major lack of medical oversight, and a lack of interest by the FDA. It is actually a small voice, followed much later by a big voice, in the CDC, that finally draws attention to the issue.

I admit that, as a person on the sidelines, I was upset when controls were put in place, preventing a friend with chronic pain from getting the amount of OxyContin that she was accustomed to getting. Her husband told me he was worried about her and glad controls were put in place, and I started to think more about it. It turns out that opioids are actually far from the ideal choice for chronic pain.

Much is not what we think. The drug industries' marketing campaigns are so good that they become part of our background beliefs. Sometimes we have to stop and question.

Excellent book, easy to read, with many examples of real people. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Summary: In this heartbreaking work, McGreal covers a detailed history of illegal distribution of opioids by doctors, immoral advertising and drug pushing by big pharma, and the failures of the DEA and FDA in regulating prescriptions. He described how the careless over-prescription of opioids led to addiction, and too frequently to a switch to heroin and/or to overdose.

My thoughts: This book was utterly tragic. I am horrified at the failures of these powerful people who are responsible for keeping us safe. I already knew about the opioid epidemic and how people were switching from prescribed medications to heroin, but I had no clue how careless the FDA and DEA had been. I had no idea about the magnitude of immoral advertising by drug companies and of the illegal prescribing by doctors. I realize, of course, that most doctors prescribe as they see best, and that this book spent a lot of time focusing on a few doctors and pharmacies who did their best to make fortunes off of illegal prescriptions – so I’m not trying to say that all doctors are to blame. That was not McGreal’s point, either, though he did point out that even doctors who are prescribing as they see best may be working under misinformation about how well opioids work on chronic pain and about the addictiveness of these medicines.

This is by far the most powerful bit of nonfiction I’ve read in quite a while. I would highly recommend this book to everybody – it’s a book that should be read. Especially for people who blame the “addicts” rather than recognizing the failures in the system that led to their addictions. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Mar 7, 2019 |
Reading this book was personal to me, and it broke my heart. I'm originally from the Appalachian foothills, and Appalachia (particularly the tri-state area of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern Ohio) is ground zero for the opioid epidemic.

I first remember hearing about opioids back in the early 2000s - and I'd even heard about the loose standards in Williamson. But it didn't spread very fast in my part of Ohio - or, if it did, I didn't notice. I mean, they were prescriptions from a doctor, you know? I'm pretty sure most of us thought, at least at the time, that that meant they were safe, that they were regulated, that the doctors wouldn't give us things that would get people hooked.

I left Ohio in 2010, and although I visited, it was easy to block out the blight that was overtaking my hometown. Things had never been "good" there as long as I could remember - the factories and big coal companies left when I was a little kid - but my sister, who stayed, told me that it was getting worse. The murder rate was getting higher. Driveby shootings not only happened, but were becoming increasingly common. Drugs were running rampant through the streets. The sidewalks downtown were covered with sleeping homeless people every night.

But when I returned briefly in 2015, I was shocked, absolutely SHOCKED, at what I saw. What had happened in the five years that I was gone? Like I said, opioids weren't a new story to me - I'd heard about them for years - but the occasional overdose was now a literal epidemic. I worked for six months in a hospital in Columbus Ohio, and I was just appalled. There aren't even words to describe what I saw while there. Countless people came into the ER every night overdosing on opioids, heroin, and fentanyl (they're all related, by the way - the book explains how). People were passed out on the streets or in their cars from overdosing. Grandparents were struggling to take care of their drug-addicted adult children and their grandchildren. Our NICU was full of babies in various stages of detox, all born incredibly prematurely (I'm talking 22-24 weeks gestation, for the most part) and with numerous health problems (birth deformities, drug dependencies, brain bleeds from their early births, etc). Women handed you their babies and walked away because they were so strung out on drugs they knew they couldn't care for them. I saw fetuses having literal seizures in the womb because of drugs. And I didn't understand. What the hell had HAPPENED?

Well, opioids happened, and this book spells out clearly the string of events that led to this epidemic. It's full of drug companies whose only concern was profits and didn't care that "dumb hillbillies" were getting hooked on their pills because we are expendable people to them. This book shows how all of the safeguards that should have helped prevent this - the FDA, the AMA, Congress, etc - failed us all, and spectacularly. Purdue Pharma was allowed to push through a drug that was incredibly addictive (OxyContin) and say the whole time that it wasn't, and few people said a damned thing about it. Purdue Pharma was allowed to amass HUGE sales forces that pushed doctors to prescribe drugs, and even got JCAHO to support them in the process. And while alarm bells were going off all over the place, Purdue Pharma (along with other opioid manufacturers) had enough money and clout to encourage Congress to pass laws that favored them and made it even EASIER to make people addicted to their products (and all the while blaming the addicts for being bad eggs).

My blood is boiling just writing this review. If anyone needs any evidence showing that the American "healthcare" system is broken, just read this book. You'll see all that you need and more.

I wish that I could force those who made billions (or even millions) of dollars from peddling opioids to come to Appalachia with me for one week. Just one day, even. Hell, I could get my point across in five minutes. I'd love to take them through the NICU at my former job and show them all of the babies they have fucked up for life because they were so driven by profits that they unleashed a largely untested drug onto a community already suffering from grinding poverty and despair. These are the lives their wealth is built upon, and I sincerely hope they dream of nothing but dying babies every night in their mansions. ( )
  schatzi | Feb 16, 2019 |
Prescription opioids have been a disaster for America. This book details the scope of the problem and how we got there. Along the way, the author names the people and companies that caused the problem to get worse. He also details the industry capture of the FDA and other regulatory agencies as well as the actual corruption of many officials. The book will leave you outraged.

The book suffers from lackluster editting, jumping around from topic to topic in such a way that readers will lose perspectives on what is taking place when and where. Otherwise, it is a good book for providing an overview of the problem. ( )
  M_Clark | Feb 12, 2019 |
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A comprehensive portrait of a uniquely American epidemic--devastating in its findings and damning in its conclusions The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers. Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats." A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

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