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Publisher's Summary

Three out of four people addicted to heroin probably started on a prescription opioid, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States alone, 16,000 people die each year as a result of prescription opioid overdose. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the prescription drug epidemic is that it's built on well-meaning doctors treating patients with real problems.

In Drug Dealer, MD, Dr. Anna Lembke uncovers the unseen forces driving opioid addiction nationwide. Combining case studies from her own practice with vital statistics drawn from public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, she explores the complex relationship between doctors and patients, the science of addiction, and the barriers to successfully addressing drug dependence and addiction.

Full of extensive interviews - with health care providers, pharmacists, social workers, hospital administrators, insurance company executives, journalists, economists, advocates, and patients and their families - Drug Dealer, MD, is for anyone whose life has been touched in some way by addiction to prescription drugs.

©2016 Johns Hopkins University Press (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A short and feisty book... Drug Dealer, MD offers a welcome mix of bracing pragmatism and well-judged sympathy, not least for patients and doctors caught in the vortex of institutional forces." ( Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about Drug Dealer, MD

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  • edgar
  • 16-04-2018

Siri-like monotone

This is a great book that deserves to be read/heard as it provides background into an important contemporary problem. The computer-like reading voice, without modulation or variation, however, makes listening to this painful. This is admittedly my first audible book, but if they all sound like this, I will not get more.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dani L
  • 17-01-2021

a drs manual on addicts

I bought this book because it looked like the kind I like, a salacious memoir written by an insider that worked at the height of the epidemic and, though well written, it was dry and more of a doctor's guide on how to spot an addict and I feel that too much of this stuff has led to an extreme reaction to over prescribing and now instead doctors are denying meds to people who need them because of stuff like this. the personal anecdotes were interesting but I thought this book would include more of them. when are we going to get a manual on doctors that stereotype everyone as a pill seeker?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-05-2018

Insightful look into the opioid epidemic

I am a family medicine doctor, and I got the opportunity to rotate through a chemical dependency and recovery program, and this book really gave a lot of insight into the challenges these patients face. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone hoping to better understand the opioid addiction epidemic.

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  • Hungurr
  • 06-05-2018

long overdue

excellent book. one highlight is that patient satisfaction score system is a joke . physicians are slowly waking up to the fact that their main function in recent decades is to keep the chains moving and not to care for patients. sad state of affairs. the truth of the matter is patients don't want good quality care because that involves the patients doing a lot of work on themselves and changing lifestyle habits. a 30 min or even one hour talk with a doctor every few months is not going to do that. so the pills and procedures keep coming that's what the public wants really no matter how much they protest. the easy way.

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  • Edward Bisch
  • 15-01-2021

Excellent overall book on why the opioid crisis reached epidemic proportions.

Interestingly told through real life stories one can see what went so terribly wrong with a system that spawned the Opioid Epidemic. Corporate greed is only part of this tragic story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-2020

Highly Informative

As a medical student, I found the information in this book a very helpful explanation of what I have seen in the hospital.

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  • Triple A
  • 14-08-2019

Important topic written by jaded doctor

I’m developing a library of books related to the opioid epidemic for use in a health professions curriculum. This book was referenced in another book so I gave it a listen. Couldn’t finish the book because of the author’s unnecessary and lengthy perjorative, unprofessional and unkind characterizations of different types of patients who seek and use opioids. For me, this invalidated the whole book. There are much better, more evidence-based, more professionally written sources available for this important topic.

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  • A.E.
  • 29-10-2018

Insightful

Very insightful. Having this background knowledge about addiction and treament will help me in my career as a pharmacist.

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  • Robbi Hartford
  • 29-10-2018

Excellent Exposition

Dr. Anna Lemke's title tells you exactly what to expect. I rarely read or listen to any book more than once. I listened to her excellent exposition twice during a three-day road-trip.

First, a couple of negatives: Be forewarned that the book sometimes comes across a little like a textbook, which is not a major deterrent for people eager to delve into the topic. Two long case studies might have worked better broken into smaller sections with some of the heavier statistics and analysis interspersed. The audio could use a little more energy, and there's some distracting "popping" in opiates. These are minor issues.

On to the positives: Dr Lembke spares no one, not even herself, in her brilliant analysis of how the failings in U.S. healthcare have created professional patients. She emphasis how our dysfunctional system promotes an identity of lifelong illness and misuses designations of disability rather than acknowledging and treating fixable problems. Her presentation is organized, thorough, focused, and well articulated. I applaud her courage in calling out The Joint Commission for their contribution to the debacle by making pain the fifth vital sign and pushing opiate treatment. From drug seeking patients to profiteering professionals to insurance companies that won't cover addiction treatment, there's plenty of blame to go around.

The last phrase of her title, "And Why It's So Hard To Stop," is an ominous predictor of the painful battle ahead in revamping the many failings of our system. Our president would be well-advised to give Dr. Lembke an appointment with a lot of power and money, currently wasted in less noble pursuits, to help heal this national disgrace.

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  • Kassandra E. Kaplan
  • 04-06-2018

Excellent with just a couple of misgivings

Really great overview of the problem. Only criticisms are: 1, several medical terms mispronounced by the reader which was a bit jarring, and 2, an offhand comment about insurance covering “even gender reassignment surgery but not addiction treatment” as if gender dysphoria was a trivial and frivolous, not a serious and life threatening, condition (news flash - it very much is life threatening, and treatment, including surgery, is recognized worldwide as being lifesaving).

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