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Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:43

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 06/22/19

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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.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 11:39

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 06/15/19

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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 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.

Friday, 07 June 2019 09:21

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 06/08/19

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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 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.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019 09:32

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 06/01/19

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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 award-winning author Chris McGreal. Together, we uncover the extent of the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over the FDA, the drug approval process, and Congress. 

With special commentary from the former chair of the FDA advisory committee, Dr. Nathaniel Katz, former California Congresswoman Mary Bono, the former attorney general of West Virginia Judge Darrell McGraw, and Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers, we walkthrough congress’ early actions against deceptive pharmaceutical practices, as our nation’s worst health crisis emerged.

Listen to today’s podcast for Part 2 of our American Overdose discussion, with bestselling author Chris McGreal.
Tuesday, 21 May 2019 11:29

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 05/25/19

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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 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.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 09:12

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 05/18/19

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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 was touched by the stories he experienced surrounding the opioid crisis in his community and was inspired to act. His documentary exposes the real, emotional stories, of several families whose lives have been forever altered by opioid addiction. 
 
Due to cultural stigma, we often push away people who are struggling with addiction when we should be offering support. Conrad hopes to use Heroin’s Grip as an educational tool and a rallying cry for communities across the country, that addiction isn’t someone else’s problem, it’s our problem.
 
On May7th, a screening of Heroin’s Grip will be held in Akron Ohio at The Chapel. 
 
To get in touch with Conrad and find out how you can bring a screening Heroin’s Grip to your community, click here.
Listen to today’s podcast for a behind the scenes look at Heroin’s Grip, with Director Conrad Weaver.
 
Listen to today’s podcast for a behind the scenes look at Heroin’s Grip, with Director Conrad Weaver.
Thursday, 09 May 2019 10:54

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 05/11/19

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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 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.

Friday, 03 May 2019 09:14

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 05/04/19

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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 Network, not only can the state of Tennessee provide educated, welcoming, and supportive places for individuals struggling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), but also, they can increase outreach, and build more pathways to recovery.
 
Dr. Monty Burks, is the leader of Tennessee’s Faith-Based Recovery Network, and State Director of Special Projects and Faith-Based Initiatives. Fresh off his speech from the National Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, Dr. Burks shares his insight into this program’s collaboration with Faith-based communities in Tennessee and beyond.
 
Listen to today’s podcast for a preview of Dr. Monty Burks, Fair-Based Recovery Network- empowering faith communities for substance abuse recovery.
Friday, 19 April 2019 09:00

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 04/20/19

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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 revealing the full extent of this influence. 
 
Fortunately, there are those dedicated to preparing today’s students on where to draw the line when pharmaceutical reps come calling. Today, we talk with Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen, the Director of Ethics at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. An expert on physicians’ vulnerability to the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Gundersen’s ethics class helps prepare students for ethical challenges they face as future as practicing physicians. 
 
Listen to today’s podcast for the eye-opening truth about the pharmaceutical industry with Florida Atlantic University, Director of Ethics, Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen.
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:12

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 04/13/19

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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 get clean, free rent and grocery store gift cards, cigarettes and cell phones in exchange for going to a specific treatment center, which pays kickbacks for each client.
Today, we’ll talk with Filmmaker Pat McGee, the Producer of “American Relapse,” a story about two people fighting to make a difference against the devastating heroin epidemic that’s spawning a billion-dollar treatment industry. Against the odds, two recovering addicts spend their lives pulling needles out of the arms of addicts and assist in placing them in reputable treatment facilities.
 
The film features Frankie and Allie who live and work in Delray Beach, Florida, the Rehab Capital of America, now referred to by some as the Relapse Capital of America. They allowed the film crew all access for one weekend. What transpires over 72 hours is not only captivating and raw, but a heartbreaking rollercoaster ride.
 
Listen to today’s podcast for an incredible behind the scenes look into “American Relapse” with Award-Winning producer, Pat McGee.
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