Drug Dealer: How Doctors Have Been Duped, Patients Are Hooked On Prescriptions & Why It’s So Hard to Stop.

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Body, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Podcast, Podcast-new, Recovery & Sleep

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

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 the new book “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop“, my guest on this podcast Dr. Anna Lembke uncovers the unseen forces driving drug 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.

Chock full of extensive interviews with health care providers, pharmacists, social workers, hospital administrators, insurance company executives, journalists, economists, advocates, and patients and their families, this podcast and book is a must-listen for anyone whose life has been touched in some way by addiction to prescription drugs. Dr. Lembke singles out the real culprits behind the rise in drug addiction: cultural narratives that promote pills as quick fixes, pharmaceutical corporations in cahoots with organized medicine, and a new medical bureaucracy focused on the bottom line that favors pills, procedures, and patient satisfaction over wellness.

Dr. Lembke is Assistant Professor at the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is the Program Director for the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship and Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University. She completed a residency in Psychiatry, and a fellowship in mood disorders at the Stanford School of Medicine. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and commentaries, including in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, American Family Physician, and Addiction.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-The shocking truth Anna discover when treating patients for substance abuse regarding where were most of them getting their actual drugs…[9:10]

-What happens to a brain's reward circuitry over time when using something like a painkiller…[15:12]

-How activities like hard exercise, cold, heat and even neurofeedback can be used to “reboot” the body's dopamine response…[24:10 & 26:35]

-Why pain is good and why you shouldn't try to constantly shut it down…[25:15 & 29:00]

-How people around the world are using something called “Pipemania” to get their hands on new drugs…[30:40]

-Why we can't blame this all on big Pharma, and who is really responsible for the extreme surge of pill-taking in America and beyond…[43:30]

-The 12 different strategies that drug seeking patients use to get drugs from their doctor…[56:30]

-The growing problem of “pill mills”…[60:35]

-What an RVU is and why it keeps a doctor highly motivated to do a “procedure” or “prescription”…[63:25]

-Why something called “42CFR Part 2” keeps doctors from even knowing or having access to a patient's electronic medical record…[66:30]

-How we can stop the cycle of compulsive prescribing…[70:20]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Kratom as a natural, non-addictive painkiller

The Peak Brain Institute to “rewire” the brain for tolerance to things like alcohol and weed

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Anna or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

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8 thoughts on “Drug Dealer: How Doctors Have Been Duped, Patients Are Hooked On Prescriptions & Why It’s So Hard to Stop.

  1. Bruce Seidman says:

    feedback for Ben Greenfield:

    dear Ben, this woman that you had talking about prescription medicine, is one of the most articulate, and informative, individuals that you had on the program in her specific niche… In fact, she is so intelligent and articulate, like yourself, that she could read to me the Yellow Pages, and I would be enthralled even all the way through the Z’s

    I know you have repeat guests from time to time, and maybe you’re thinking, how could she do an encore performance, but would you please consider having her on again, to talk about other things that the two of you could brainstorm … She is so brilliant and so smart and so articulate and so captivating, I really would like to hear more of what she has to say,

    thank you for all the work that you do blah blah blah, I know you hear it from everyone, but I have to say, you and your podcast and your brain and your mind and your spirit, is truly changing the nature of medicine and health… I kind of liken it to the MLK Jr. movement from the 60s to today where now blacks and whites are listening to the same music together, and there is more love between us.

    Ben, what does this have to do with what you’re doing each day of your life?

    in my humble opinion, both you and MLK Jt. are doing the exact same thing… Changing the medical establishment, and at the same time, changing the mindset of the patient–people who are slowly unplugging from the dogma of, doctors can heal anything… Doctors are God… Doctors opinions matter more than the individual… doctors are all powerful in their ability to heal… And until all those four beliefs are dismantled in the minds of us, it will take a generation to die off, just as it has for Martin Luther King’s generation for blacks and Hispanics and whites to all love each other. And just as the music is the integral connector/catalyst, so are your Podcasts. Your Podcasts and your expert interviewing skills which by the way I totally love, mostly because you know to be quiet and let the experts ramble in their wonderful fashion, are equal: music equals podcasts… Podcasts equal music.

    signed, a 55-year-old baby boomer in Pawleys Island South Carolina

    Bruce Seidman


    1. Maybe I can get her back on. Stay tuned!

  2. Joanne Mendez, ARNP says:

    Hello Ben, It would be great for you to have Dr Jerry Tennant on your network. He has a great device that takes pain away and recharges the body as if it’s a battery pack. The device is a biomodulator and biotransducer; pain and chronic disease is low voltage. Identify the cause and recharge the muscles which are your battery packs. Great results, no addictions; brilliant doctor who gets results.

    I also like the Fisher Wallace device; external electrodes that deliver low frequency to temporal area, reduces pain, helps sleep, PTSD, helps people get off opiates or methadone.

    Finally, measure harmful EMF in your living space; most are off the charts which are causing severe inflammation and pain cycles. EMFhelpcenter.com and Dr Devra Davis is a great resource. To your health! JCM

  3. Charles Hall says:

    Thanks for the note of caution; I do want to add that I look forward with eagerness to your weekly update as a great source of information and encouragement! You have given me so many good tips and ideas. Keep helping us help ourselves!

  4. Charles Hall says:

    Follow up on kratom…if you read the website’s caveat that is linked here, you’ll find that the company says that the kratom they sell is not for human consumption only for soap making……

    1. Yep, they are in a total gray area as far as FDA regulation. Probably because they're so powerful. Proceed as you want!

  5. Charles Hall says:

    I was very surprised to see kratom listed as a pain reliever. It is a potentially dangerous substance that is illegal in many US states.

    1. Again, they are in a total gray area as far as FDA regulation. Proceed as you want!

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