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Episodes

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

Ep. 225 - Improbable Players Change the Conversation on Addiction Using Performance and Discussion

1/25/2019
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Improbable Players is a collection of touring theater troupes with a powerful message. Forming in Boston, the organization formed in 1984 and is a form of evidence-based prevention education. They use workshops and performances to address and educate the audience on addiction, opioids and alcoholism. The workshops give students the tools to combat social pressures and find coping strategies that work best for them. The shows are performed by real people in recovery and share true stories of...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 224 - Dopesick: The Loss of a Son and One Parent’s Search for Answers - Part 5

1/17/2019
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This is the fifth and final episode of our podcast series on Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and The Drug Company That Addicted America. So far, we have discussed what made the Appalachia region of the United States so vulnerable to the opioid epidemic and the marketing methods of Purdue Pharma. In this episode we will hear the story of Kristi Fernandez, the mother of a gifted athlete from Strasburg, Virginia and her search for answers in the overdose death of her son, Jessie. Jesse was a former...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 223 - Dopesick: Humanitarian Sister Beth Davies Inspires a Community to Take on a Giant – Part 4

1/9/2019
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In part four of our five-part “Dopesick” series, we have an extensive conversation with Sister Beth Davies. With the help of Dr. Art Van Zee, the two established a community coalition which laid the groundwork to file the first lawsuit against Purdue Pharma. A Staten Island native, Sister Beth is a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She has served as an advocate to the exploited, addicted and impoverished for more than forty years. Through her efforts, Sister Beth has developed a...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 222 - Dopesick: Bestselling Auth. Beth Macy’s Story of Drug Company that Addicted America;Pt 3

1/3/2019
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This is part three of our “Dopesick” podcast series. In parts one and two, we sat down with New York Times writer and bestselling author Beth Macy and discussed what made Appalachia so vulnerable to the opioid crisis. We touched on Purdue Pharma’s marketing efforts and the impact they had on OxyContin sales, which devastated the region. Today we talk to Dr. Stephen Loyd and Dr. Robert Pack about the transformation of their community, which helped establish OverMountain Recovery. This is an...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 221 - Dopesick: Bestselling Auth. Beth Macy’s Story of Drug Company that Addicted America;Pt 2

12/29/2018
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Part one of our Dopesick podcast, we discussed the effects that the opioid epidemic had on Appalachia and why the region was so vulnerable. In part two, we will discuss Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin marketing efforts and the enormous impact it had on the region. In 1996, Purdue Pharma more than doubled the size of their salesforce and handpicked physicians who would be extremely susceptible to their marketing. Using data that they bought from IMS Health, they targeted which doctors prescribed...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 220 - Dopesick: Bestselling Auth. Beth Macy’s Story of Drug Company that Addicted America;Pt 1

12/21/2018
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“Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America” is a look into the opioid crisis as it emerged in, bestselling author Beth Macy’s hometown of Roanoke Virginia. It’s an account that profiles the twenty plus year history of the epidemic and the story of how Appalachia was ravaged by this crisis. Macy began reporting on the events of the epidemic back in 2012 and after five years of research, “Dopesick” was born. This is part one of a multi-part series on Dopesick. Greg...

Duration:00:28:48

Ep. 219 - Why Opioid Overdose Rates Are Plummeting in Dayton

12/18/2018
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In 2017, it was recorded that Dayton, OH had one of the highest rates of overdoses in the entire country. By November of last year, Montgomery County Ohio, which is anchored by Dayton had already seen 548 overdose deaths. However, in 2018 there have only been 250 total deaths which is a reduction of 54% from last year. To determine what caused these numbers to drop so drastically, the New York Times spent several days investigating Dayton. They conducted interviews with public health...

Duration:00:28:49

Ep. 218 - Pharmaceutical Company Adopts “Glengarry Glen Ross“ Sales Culture of Purdue Pharma

12/6/2018
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The author of Dreamland, Sam Quinones, stated in a blog post “The Purdue Pharma company instructional materials pushed salespeople to ‘expand the physician’s definition of the appropriate patient’ to which opioids might be prescribed, and to develop a ‘specific plan for systematically moving physicians to the next level of prescribing.’” Over the past twenty years, other companies have adopted the same deceptive, sales tactics from Purdue Pharma, including INSYS Therapeutics. Today Greg is...

Duration:00:28:48