Drug Dealer, MD

How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop
Narrated by: Callie Beaulieu
Length: 5 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (111 ratings)

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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 members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Insightful

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars

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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Must read!!!

Opioid Use Disorder is my area of expertise and this book is a must read. The author lays out the scientific data, research and history of how we collectively got where we are today as a society.

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Fascinating

Where does Drug Dealer, MD rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Defiantly not my favorite read BUT fascinating look at how we got where we are and what we as a society need to do to change things.

What did you like best about this story?

Not a story - VERY tough truth! Every physician should read this book -

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes and I did but have listened to it several time - hard truth is hard truth sometimes you need to hear it over and over!

Any additional comments?

GREAT BOOK!

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Highly Recommend

This is a thorough insight into the underlying problems that have produced the prescription drug epidemic. The author is writing for other doctors - this is a strength of the book. It’s intelligent, honest and even handed. The narration is also quite good given that the material is fairly dry reading. If you want to learn more about this topic, I highly recommend.

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eye opening

It is interesting to view the opioid crisis through the eyes of a doctor. I learned much that I wouldn't have realized otherwise.

Great book