In June of 2016, we sat down with Dr. Tom Gilson, the nationally known medical examiner from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Hoping it might inform and help others, Dr. Gilson reviewed Sam McNeil’s report from the medical examiner of Palm Beach County.
Today, we revisit that discussion and uncover how some communities, such as the Baltimore Department of Health, are studying overdose victims to discover new prevention strategies to impede the opioid epidemic.
Also joining us today is Brittney Spencer, the Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Health. Ms. Spencer and her team have been fighting the opioid epidemic since 2014, researching the autopsy reports, treatment admission reports, police reports, and medical records of overdose victims to identify missed opportunities for prevention.
This research helps the OFR collaborate with stakeholders to develop new programs for overdose prevention. These programs save lives and prevent substance use disorder in the future.
The OFR team has learned much from studying the opioid epidemic’s effect on their community. Through their efforts, this one team from Baltimore provides the framework for strategies and programs such as Levels of Care, EMS Leave Behind, and LEAD. Together, these resources provide the necessary response tools to influence and impact the worst health crisis in our country’s history.
Listen to today’s podcast for a detailed breakdown of Maryland’s impact against the opioid crisis, with Brittney Spencer.
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 deaths the opioids approved during his tenure caused. My take away from this interview was that the FDA is stuck in an inflexible mindset, and has made no attempt to rectify the impact the opioid crisis has had on our country over the last twenty years. Unsettled, I decided to dig a little deeper to find out if my impressions were representative of the today’s FDA. To help me answer that question is Dr. Raeford Brown, who for the last five years has been the chair of the FDA’s anesthetic and analgesic drug products advisory committee. Listen to today’s podcast for insight into the FDA’s policies and practices from the inside, with Dr. Raeford Brown.
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 Congressman Hal Rodgers, and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Tom Frieden. Congressmen Rogers introduces us to Operation UNITE, Kentucky’s response to the opioid epidemic and Dr. Frieden reveals how the CDC sounded the alarm over the opioid crisis, while the rest of our government neglected to act.
What does this mean for the future of America, it’s policies and politics? How can we reform the medical industry? Is the end of the opioid crisis in sight?
Listen to today’s podcast for the comprehensive conclusion of our American Overdose discussion, with bestselling author Chris McGreal.
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 we’re joined by the award-winning author of American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts, Chris McGreal.
Together, in our first episode of a three-part series, we discuss the origin of the opioid epidemic, the negligent policies that allowed Big Pharma to profit from the suffering of patients, and new evidence on the FDA’s complicity in driving the mass over-prescription of opioids.
Listen to today’s podcast for Part 1 of our American Overdose discussion, with bestselling author Chris McGreal.
To follow along with our discussion, you can pick up Chris’ book American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts here.
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 plans, but even more so, what was omitted.
Here to further our understanding of the 2019 report, is the Center on Addiction health law and policy director, Lindsey Vuolo. Lindsey is the research lead on the adequacy of SUD benefits offered in the ACA health plans, an expert on federal and state responses to the opioid crisis, and author of (Ending the Opioid Crisis: A Practical Guide for State Policymakers).
Drawing on her extensive experience in legal, regulatory, and policy work related to addiction prevention and treatment, Lindsey shares her discoveries of the essential coverage gaps in the ACA plans nationwide, and provides her insights regarding the current state of addiction health care coverage and policy in America.
Listen to today’s podcast for an extra-informative episode on your state’s addiction coverage, featuring Lindsey Vuolo.
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, you’ll hear more of Mr. Rannazzisi’s unfiltered comments on the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Enforcement Act and the Congressional leaders behind it. “This doesn’t ensure patient access and it doesn’t help drug enforcement at all. What this bill does has nothing to do with the medical process. What this bill does is take away DEA’s ability to go after a pharmacist, a wholesaler, manufacturer or distributor,” he said. “This was a gift. A gift to the industry.”
Greg is joined on this episode by guest, award-winning author of “American Overdose”, Chris McGreal. McGreal’s book is a comprehensive portrait of the greed, corruption and indifference that led our country into the worst health crisis in American history. Additionally, Mr. McGreal is an investigative journalist for the Guardian, who in 2016, wrote a compelling story about Mr. Rannazzisi titled “Opioid epidemic: ex-DEA official says Congress is protecting drug makers.”
Listen to this podcast, the third in our 4 part series, for more candid conversation with the former head of the Department of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi.