American Pain by John Temple – A Review

cover of american pain by john temple

Perhaps I should have done a review for this book before I did one for “Desperados” because it was through this book that I learned about “Desperados”. But alas, by the human perception of time I cannot change that. Even though I would be able to do such things on my home planet of mlkjFE . . . I mean Venus, I imagine it would upset too many people here on Earth so I will leave it be.
American Pain tells the story of former convict turned pill mill owner Chris George. If you are confused as to how a former convict becomes involved in the sale and distribution of prescription pain medication, I was too. So was Chris George. The tangled and convulted system of laws recarding controlled substances allowed a 27 year old body building hustler to grow one of the largest and most profitable pill mills in the country, American Pain.
Oh yea and he had a twin brother named Jeff. He also ran a pill mill. A competitor though, and although it wasn’t nearly as successful as his brother’s it was still by any measure extremely profitable.
And ridiculously easy.
With the invention of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma in 1996, the company undertook a massive marketing campaign to spread one single, often deadly, idea. Pain medication was without risk. The sent hundreds of sales reps all over the United States, to doctor’s offices big and small, giving free samples and “scientific” proof that OxyContin could not be abused.
Pain was undertreated. That remains true today. But Purdue argued that that was because doctors were too afraid to prescribe pain medication because of their fear of patients getting addicted. They aimed to change that, and change they brought. Doctors began prescribing powerful opiates more frequently than physical therapy or lifestyle coaching.
And then Chris George came to town. With the laws of Florida being somewhat at odds with the federal government’s, he was able to find a way to prescribe insanely huge amounts of narcotics to drug addicts, and to pocket almost all of the cash. Doctors that worked at his pain clinic often saw patients for less than 5 minutes, but they would write prescriptions for hundreds of pills with not so much as a bat of an eye.
John Temple digs deep into the story of Chris George, but he does not stop there. He also uncovers the complete destruction of rural America by opiate medication, and the companies that profit off of it. Temple is truly one of the most gifted investigative authors of his time. His work sets out to show humans that it is not just the cartels that have been exploiting human addiction for their own gain, but also the drug companies and pain clinics as well.
He doesn’t just show the bad ones though. He makes it a point to prove that good doctors with responsible prescribing methods do exist. And the contrast between these real doctors and the pill pushers masquerading as doctors is haunting.
I hope you will give this book a read because it is one of the most eye opening books there is about what is truly American Pain.
Puck from Venus, out!!


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