A Physician’s Ordeal Dealing with His Personal Opiate Addiction

Do you know someone or know of someone who has battled with a drug addiction, or has passed away because of it? Nowadays it is hard not hear about these stories, especially when the National Institute on Drug Abuse calculates that over two million people in America are afflicted with a drug abuse disorder related to opiate use.

Recently, I was able to hear a physician, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, author of “Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction” speak about his ordeal getting addicted to opiates, how he was confronted about it, and how he received help. This informative session answered questions I had about opiate addiction, as well as gave me insight that I wish I had before.

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Photo courtesy of Amazon.

A few things I picked up:

  1. Purdue Pharma lost a lawsuit back in 2007 for $600 million dollars after it deceptively marketed Oxycontin as non-addictive. As you know, these companies give big incentives to doctors prescribing their drugs, so you can image how many more of these prescriptions were doled out to patients.
  2. There are many more doctors who have suffered from drug addiction/currently have an addiction problem. One source estimates that up to 15% of doctors have a drug addiction.
  3. For some reason, Dr. Grinspoon mentioned, doctors have a much higher chance of recovering. He theorized it is because of fear of never being able to practice medical again as one possible reason why.
  4. Race and social class definitely make a difference in whether or not you would face jail time, he admitted. He is caucasian and not surprisingly, did not face jail time for (spoiler alert) writing himself faulty prescriptions.
  5. There aren’t enough beds for people who need in-hospital care so in turn, not everyone is receiving the care they need.

Overall, drug addiction to opiates is a problem that will go away soon, in part due to a trickle effect of opiates like Oxycontin marketed as harmless many years ago. However, we can all do our part to accept people for who they are – folks like us who have the unfortunate predisposition to addiction.

There was so much more covered in this talk and covered in this book, so you should definitely pick up this book if it piques your interest. Found here on Amazon.

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Author: Melissa

4'8", dog lover, fashion and culture enthusiast.

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