Oct 6, 2017
The United States is in the
midst of an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths due to opiate
painkillers. Its causes are varied, but there’s no question that
physicians share a large part of the blame. Little discussed is
that this is actually the second time this has happened. Almost a
century ago, a remarkably similar epidemic struck the country. In
this episode, called “The First Opiate Epidemic,” I discuss what
happened, the parallels to today, and the lessons we can learn from
our forebearers. Learn about all this and a new #AdamAnswers in
this month’s Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating
stories in clinical medicine!
- Courtwright DT. Dark Paradise: A History of
Opiate Addiction in America. Harvard University Press,
- Meldrum ML, “The ongoing opiod prescription
epidemic: historical context,” Am J Public Health. 2016 August;
- Courtwright DT, “Preventing and treating
narcotic addiction -- a century of federal drug control,” N Engl J
Med 2015; 373:2095-2097.
JFA, “Substitutes for opium in chronic diseases,” Boston Med Surg J
DI, “The history of opium and some of its preparations and
alkaloids,” JAMA. 1915;LXIV(6):477-481.
- Hamilton GR and Baskett TF, “In the arms of
Morpheus: the development of morphine for postoperative pain
relief,” Can J Anesth. 2000;47:4, 367-374.
- Weiner JP, “A shortage of physicians or a
surplus of assumptions?” Health Aff January 2002 vol. 21 no. 1
- Gudbranson BA et al, Reassessing the Data on
Whether a Physician Shortage Exists. JAMA.
DG and Petelle K, Addressing the Physician Shortage: The Peril of
Ignoring Demography. JAMA. 2017;317(19):1947-1948.