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Monday, 07 January 2019 09:33

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 01/12/19

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This is part three of our “Dopesick” podcast series. In parts one and two, we sat down with New York Times writer and bestselling author Beth Macy and discussed what made Appalachia so vulnerable to the opioid crisis. We touched on Purdue Pharma’s marketing efforts and the impact they had on OxyContin sales, which devastated the region. 
 
Today we talk to Dr. Stephen Loyd and Dr. Robert Pack about the transformation of their community, which helped establish OverMountain Recovery. This is an outpatient treatment program in the heart of Appalachia that provides counseling and treatment for those battling addiction. We begin today’s podcast with an introduction from Macy.
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 09:24

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 01/05/19

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Part one of our Dopesick podcast, we discussed the effects that the opioid epidemic had on Appalachia and why the region was so vulnerable. In part two, we will discuss Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin marketing efforts and the enormous impact it had on the region. 
 
In 1996, Purdue Pharma more than doubled the size of their salesforce and handpicked physicians who would be extremely susceptible to their marketing. Using data that they bought from IMS Health, they targeted which doctors prescribed the most competing painkillers. 4 years later, these representatives had influenced 94,000 physicians to push OxyContin and sales had increased almost tenfold. 
 
Continuing the conversation with Beth Macey, she shares how OxyContin affected her hometown and how surrounding communities were ravaged with crime after the epidemic took off. Greg also talks with Dr. Art Van Zee about the deceptive marketing practices of Purdue Pharma and how these physicians were influenced. Hear more of the story on today’s podcast.
Friday, 21 December 2018 09:09

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 12/22/18

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“Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America” is a look into the opioid crisis as it emerged in, bestselling author Beth Macy’s hometown of Roanoke Virginia. It’s an account that profiles the twenty plus year history of the epidemic and the story of how Appalachia was ravaged by this crisis. Macy began reporting on the events of the epidemic back in 2012 and after five years of research, “Dopesick” was born.
 
This is part one of a multi-part series on Dopesick. Greg sits down with bestselling author Beth Macy and the two examine how America’s worst health crisis emerged from this economically vulnerable area. We will also talk to families, doctors, community leaders and healthcare providers who discuss the birth of the epidemic in our country, as well as the drug company that exploited the hardships of an entire generation. Listen to today’s podcast for more on “Dopesick.”
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 12:01

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 12/15/18

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The author of Dreamland, Sam Quinones, stated in a blog post “The Purdue Pharma company instructional materials pushed salespeople to ‘expand the physician’s definition of the appropriate patient’ to which opioids might be prescribed, and to develop a ‘specific plan for systematically moving physicians to the next level of prescribing.’” Over the past twenty years, other companies have adopted the same deceptive, sales tactics from Purdue Pharma, including INSYS Therapeutics.  
 
Today Greg is joined by Evan Hughes, author and writer for GQ, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The New York Times. Hughes recently composed an article for The New York Times entitled The Pain Hustlers. This article profiled the case of INSYS Therapeutics and how they paid millions to physicians through their “Speaker Program” to recommend and prescribe their bestselling, highly addictive, fentanyl product to treat terminal cancer pain: Subsys. Hear this story and how others in the industry have adopted these deceptive sales and marketing practices, despite Purdue Pharma’s prosecution for employing essentially, the same practices.
Thursday, 06 December 2018 13:31

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 12/08/18

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In criminal cases, legal assistance is a right. However, there is no right to counsel in civil matters, and most low-income Americans are forced to go it alone without legal representation. It’s estimated that 71% of low-income households experienced at least one civil legal problem in the last year, including problems with health care, housing conditions, disability access, veterans’ benefits, and domestic violence. Left unaddressed, these issues represent a significant hurdle to overcome for those in recovery. 
In October of 2017, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland sought to address the legal barriers that negatively impact an individual’s health. They launched a medical/ legal partnership after receiving support from various local organizations, such as the Jones Day Foundation and Mount Sinai Healthcare Foundation to name a few. 
 
For today’s podcast, Greg met with Legal Aid attorneys Michael Russell and Jennifer Kinsley, as well as Dr. Albana Dreshaj Medical Director of St. Vincent Charity Psychiatric Emergency Department. Hear how this program can help those less fortunate overcome obstacles and get the assistance they need.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 10:12

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 12/01/18

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Greg interviews Thom Olmstead, the Director of University Partner Collaborations at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, as well as Orlando Howard, the Manager of Outpatient Treatment Services at Rosary Hall. The St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Rosary Hall are currently running a pilot program that offers free Uber rides to those in Intensive Out Patient Program (IOP) Treatment.
 Listen to the podcast to discover how this program is directly affecting IOP treatment patient’s lives and how it helps keep those recovering from substance abuse disorder stay on track.
Wednesday, 21 November 2018 05:21

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 11/24/18

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Recently, President Trump signed an opioid package into law called H.R.6. Today’s podcast will discuss what this means and will be the first episode of a two-part series that will break down H.R.6. Greg met with Jay Ruais, Chief of Staff and VP of Federal and National Initiatives for the Addiction Policy Forum and Braeden Kelly, Director of External Affairs. The two discuss what H.R.6 will do and how this can help combat the opioid crisis. 
 
One of the key points that H.R.6 will do is expand treatment capacity. Roughly 20 million people suffer from substance use disorders and about 10% of them will receive treatment. H.R.6 will help to establish evidence-based treatment centers to help those suffering. In addition to treatment capacity expansion, this bill will also allow Medicaid to cover up to 30 days of treatment as well as expand telehealth services. Listen for more initiatives this legislation will add and how it can help curb the opioid epidemic and ensure victims of the disease get the support and treatment they need.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:39

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 11/17/18

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The lifestyle of the music industry has proven deadly for so many people over the years. Wikipedia lists the names of over 100 pop artists who have lost their lives to overdose since the 60s.  Greg’s guest today knows the story all too well having been the lead guitarist for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts during their hey-day. Ricky Byrd was living the life of a rock star until he almost lost his life and decided it was time to get clean.  Today, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inductee Ricky Byrd has been clean and sober for thirty one years. Over the last few years Ricky realized he could combine his music and recovery to create songs that are useful to people struggling with addiction.
 
The result is Clean Getaway, both the name of a 501(c)(3) non-profit Ricky founded to reach addicts through the connective power of music, AND a brand new album of songs related to his experience with addiction and recovery. Ricky talks with Greg about his brush with death, recovery and using his platform to give back and help others find sobriety.
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 13:40

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 11/10/18

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There have now been over 1,300 opioid lawsuits filed by states, cities, countries, Native American tribes and labor unions throughout our country. The New York Times said resolving these lawsuits could be the most daunting legal challenge our nation has faced. Last December all the opioid cases filed in federal court across the country were consolidated into what’s called multidistrict litigation or an MDL, to be presided over by a single judge in Cleveland, Ohio and his name is Judge Dan Polster. 
 
Today’s podcast features excerpts of community forum where Judge Polster spoke at the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program. He discusses the challenges of assigning responsibility and calculating damages. If cases are not settled under the MDL, they go back to their districts of origin. If a settlement is reached, the money goes towards funding recovery and to help communities offset the millions of dollars expended fighting the opioid crisis across our country. Tune in to this podcast to learn how settlement in these historic proceedings could fund America’s recovery for years to come.
Tuesday, 30 October 2018 13:36

Cover 2 Podcast: 11/03/18

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Stanford University researchers developed a mathematical model that could help public health officials and policymakers decrease the effects of the opioid epidemic, which took the lives of roughly 49,000 Americans in 2017. 
 
The model includes data about addictions, prescriptions and overdoses in the United States which can be used for “what if” scenarios similar to those that business leaders run through to project how changing product features or prices affect sales and profits, said Margaret Brandeau, PhD, the Coleman F. Fung Professor in the School of Engineering and a professor of management science and engineering who worked on the study.
 
The paper cites the hard facts of the opioid crisis: Between 1990 and 2010, there was a 400 percent spike in prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Today, roughly 3.5 million Americans suffer from an addiction to opioids as a result of being exposed to opioid pills. Yet, as doctors have begun responding to the crisis by reducing prescriptions, overdose deaths have increased because those addicted to pills and unable to obtain prescription medication, are buying heroin as an alternative. And much of the heroin supply found in the US is now laced with fentanyl, making it 50 times more potent. 
 
Unfortunately, the model indicates the interventions studied can only make a small dent in the death toll which just goes to show the magnitude of the crisis. Researchers hope this model can aid policymakers in selecting the best mix of interventions to fight the epidemic. 
 
Today Greg is joined today by Allison Pitt, one of the research team members from Stanford University to discuss this innovative study. Listen as they discuss how it can be used by policy makers and community leaders to help ease the opioid crisis in our country.
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