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Episodes

Ep. 245 - Modern-day FDA, What’s New is Still Old

6/6/2019
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In our three-part series with American Overdose author, Chris McGreal, we took an in-depth look at some of the policies and practices of the FDA that helped lead to our nation’s worst health crisis in history. During the series, I spoke with the former chair of the FDA advisory committee, who’s role is to review and advise on drugs under consideration for approval by the FDA. I was surprised by his responses to my questions, rejecting the notion that mistakes were made, despite the number of...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 244 – Profits Over People - Part 3: Big Pharma, “It’s the patients not the pills”

5/30/2019
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When award-winning author Chris McGreal sat down to write American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts, he wanted to answer two questions. The first: How could the opioid crisis go on for nearly 20 years before it reached public awareness? The second: Why did the opioid crisis happen in America, and nowhere else in the world? We uncover the answers to these questions and more, as we conclude our series on American Overdose. Joining us today alongside author Chris McGreal are...

Duration:00:28:45

Ep. 243 – Profits Over People – Part 2: Industry Influence and Intrigue

5/22/2019
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To many, how and why the opioid epidemic came about remains a mystery. How did these dangerous and addictive substances earn approval for distribution? Why were these drugs approved if they were clearly so addictive and dangerous? Why has our legal system taken so long to react to a crisis that began in the early 2000s? We continue uncovering the answers to those questions in the second episode in our three-part series on American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts, with...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 242 – Profits Over People: FDA Opioid Drug Approvals, with Author Chris McGreal

5/16/2019
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The Opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, claiming over 350,000 lives since 1999. While many people have an idea of what caused the opioid crisis, few understand the why and how. For example, how did a tragedy that started 20 years ago, only start gaining attention in 2017? How was the greatest drug crisis in American history allowed to go virtually unchecked for nearly two decades? Why is there still no end in sight? To help answer these questions and more, today...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 241 – Behind the Scenes of “Heroin’s Grip” a New Documentary, with Director Conrad Weaver

5/10/2019
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Many people that view addiction from the outside don’t understand the struggle addicts go through and can’t appreciate how addiction impacts their families. To educate people from that perspective, the new documentary, Heroin’s Grip, features the families of Frederick County Maryland, whose lives were transformed by addiction and the opioid epidemic. Joining us today for a prerelease, behind the scenes, look at his film, is Heroin’s Grip director Conrad Weaver. A filmmaker by trade, Conrad...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 240 – Uncovering Coverage Gaps and Understanding the ACA, with Lindsey Vuolo

5/9/2019
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In March of 2019 the Center on Addiction, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting families struggling with substance use and addiction, published Uncovering Coverage Gaps II: A Review of Addiction Benefits in ACA Plans. A follow up to their 2016 report of the same name, this new report reviews and compares the addiction benefits in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans for all 50 states. This most recent report was an eye-opener, both for what coverage was available through the state...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 239 – Faith Communities Supercharging Recovery, with Dr. Monty Burks

5/2/2019
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The opioid epidemic has taken a deep toll on families throughout Appalachia. In Tennessee alone, over 1,631 people, (more than five per day), died from a drug overdose in 2016. To respond to such a massive loss of life, Tennessee state leaders developed a special program to unite faith-based communities and take coordinated action against substance abuse. Faith communities have a long history in the struggle against substance abuse. By working together and building a Faith-Based Recovery...

Duration:00:28:47

Ep. 238 – Empowering Families Struggling with Opioid Addiction, with Roy Poillon

4/24/2019
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While there are many high-quality treatment centers, organizations, and programs for people struggling with opioid addiction, their families often lack the same resources. Opioid use changes the lives of the addict’s family as well as the addict, and many families don’t know what to do when a loved one is faced with opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is a battle for everyone involved, and without proper guidance, adjusting to this change can be its own challenge. To help families become a...

Duration:00:22:55

Ep. 237 - Understanding Purdue Pharma’s Settlement with Oklahoma

4/17/2019
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On March 26, 2019, the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, a high-profile figure in the Opioid Epidemic, agreed to a $270 Million Opioid Settlement with the State of Oklahoma. The money from this settlement will fund a national addiction research and treatment center in Oklahoma. This is a unique case for several reasons. First, Oklahoma Attorney general Mike Hunter had originally sought $20 Billion in damages. Second, this is the first of more than 1,600 cases against Purdue to settle....

Duration:00:28:47

Ep. 236 - Preparing Future Physicians-Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen readies students for future challenges

4/10/2019
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Pharmaceutical companies spend billions annually on influencing physicians and other pharmaceutical providers, to write more prescriptions for their products. For most companies, the majority of their marketing budget is dedicated to direct contact with doctors, offering token gifts and free lunches, in tandem with information on their products. Many aspiring medical practitioners and physicians are unaware of the impact this can have on their practice and their patients, with recent studies...

Duration:00:29:46

Ep. 235 - “American Relapse:” A Behind the Scenes Look with Director of Chilling Documentary

4/1/2019
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Each year, thousands of people from across the country go to Florida seeking treatment for drug addiction. Some find help and recover, but the vast majority relapse and continue to struggle with the disease, even after going through treatment many times. This population is vulnerable to insurance fraud through cooked treatment centers partnering with “body brokers” and operations of “sober homes” to find patients with good health insurance. Brokers and sober home owners offer those trying to...

Duration:00:28:46

Ep. 234 - Tragedy Transforms High School Counselor to Addiction Prevention and Recovery Activist

3/29/2019
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Over 130 people die each day after overdosing on opioids in America. The abuse of and addiction to opioids is a national crisis that has touched the lives of more families than any other health crisis in our history. Today, more families are finding the courage to speak out in support of prevention and recovery than ever before. But that hasn’t always been the case. Ten years ago, speaking out about a family member’s struggles with heroin addiction was almost unheard of. On this episode,...

Duration:00:28:50

Ep. 233 - Crowd Sourced App Helps Build a Community of First Responders

3/20/2019
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It’s estimated that one hundred and seventy-five people die from opioid overdoses daily in our country. Naloxone can save lives, if there when needed, but the window of time is very short. Brain damage is likely if help doesn’t arrive within four to six minutes of an overdose; and most victims do not survive more than ten minutes. A recent review of EMS records from 485 agencies across the United States showed average response times of seven-minutes in urban settings compared to 14 minutes...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 232 - Part 4; Diversion Out of Control: Joe Rannazzisi Shares What Went Wrong

3/15/2019
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In our last episode of this series, we learned how passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act took away the DEA’s most effective diversion control enforcement tool, the immediate suspension order. The bill was shaped in large part by a former DEA lawyer. On this episode, you’ll hear more stories about Congressman and high ranking government agency officials who have played key roles in deciding the fate of drug bills and policies; and weeks later went to work...

Duration:00:28:45

Ep. 231 - Part 3; Diversion Out of Control: Joe Rannazzisi Shares What Went Wrong

3/8/2019
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When a key member of the government’s legal team went to work for the pharmaceutical industry, the job of diversion control enforcement changed dramatically. In this episode, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi, who for over a decade, was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic, shares a first-hand account of what happened when Congress took the word of an industry attorney over an agency that was actually enforcing the law. Today, in the third part of our 4-part series,...

Duration:00:28:50

Ep. 230 - Part 2; Diversion Out of Control: Joe Rannazzisi Shares What Went Wrong

2/28/2019
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This is the 2nd in our 4 part series with the former head of the Office of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi. We began this series by talking about the surprisingly candid report released on December 19th, 2018 by the Energy and Commerce Committee titled “Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored: Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia”. The purpose of the report was to investigate allegations of “opioid dumping” in West Virginia. In today’s podcast with...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 229 - Part 1; Diversion Out of Control: Joe Rannazzisi Shares What Went Wrong

2/21/2019
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On December 19th, 2018, the Energy and Commerce Committee released a long awaited report titled “Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored: Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia”. The purpose of the report was to investigate allegations of “opioid dumping” in West Virginia. Today, we begin a 4-part series with Joseph Rannazzisi, who for over a decade, was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic. Mr. Rannazzisi provides in-depth commentary on the...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 228 - Pharma. Company Exposed in Boston: A Conversation with Palm Beach Post Reporters Pt. 2

2/15/2019
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We frame today’s podcast with Palm Beach Post reporters, John Pacenti and Pat Beall with a clip from the Insys Therapeutics rap video on the virtues of persuading doctors to prescribe higher doses of the company’s liquid opioid, Subsys. This week jurors in the Insys racketeering case in Boston heard the following lyrics from the company’s self-produced video; “I love titration. Yeah, it’s not a problem. I got new patients and I got a lot of ‘em”. That may be the most damning evidence against...

Duration:00:28:30

Ep. 227 - Landmark Racketeering Case Against Insys Therapeutics Brings Up A Familiar Story

2/12/2019
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Back in January, the pharmaceutical trial of Insys Therapeutics and company founder, John Kapoor faced charges of racketeering. Allegedly, he and six former sales directors operated a scheme which paid bribes to physicians to prescribe the fentanyl spray SUBSYS, a high-powered opioid pain medication. Between 2012-2016, approximately 908 people overdosed and died due as a result of SUBSYS. Unfortunately, this tale is all too familiar for some. Back in 2007, Perdue Pharma pled guilty to these...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 226 - Turning Tragedy into a Triumph: The Roanoke Valley Hope Initiative Story

2/5/2019
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As Beth Macy’s book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America” unfolds, we meet many families, community leaders and healthcare providers that were directly impacted by the opioid epidemic in Virginia. As the crisis emerged, families didn’t know where to turn for help. On today’s podcast, Janine Underwood shares the story of her son, Bobby Baylis’, 7 year battle with opioid dependence and her efforts to transform how people find help in their community. Bobby was...

Duration:00:28:48