Aired: March 3, 2017

Lethal Doses

  • Notes from Dreamland (14 min.)

    With: Sam Quinones (author, Dreamland)

    America is hooked on opioids — by one count, there are currently more opioid prescriptions than people in the southeastern United States. This week, we we’re taking a deep dive into the causes of the opioid crisis. Author Sam Quinones chronicles how the sophisticated marketing of prescription opioids and an enterprising group of heroin traffickers combined to create the epidemic that’s now a leading cause of American deaths.

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  • Unconscious Addiction (14 min.)

    With: Greg Smith (University of Virginia)

    Anesthesiologist Greg Smith poured over the electronic records of more than 100,000 surgical cases and made a startling discovery — that pain scores for patients improved as doctors used fewer opioids during surgery.

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  • Lessons in Compassion (12 min.)

    With: Omar Abubaker (Virginia Commonwealth University)

    Dr. Omar Abubaker, like other oral surgeons, routinely prescribed opioid painkillers for his patients after wisdom teeth extractions.  He changed that practice after his youngest son died suddenly in 2014 from a drug overdose.  Adam had become addicted to opioids after minor surgery.

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  • Teaching the Opioid Crisis (6 min.)

    With: Gerry Moeller

    Dr. Gerry Moeller is writing the new curriculum that will teach the next generation of doctors more responsible pain management.

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  • The View from the Front Lines (7 min.)

    With: Sue Cantrell (UVA College at Wise)

    One of the side effects of the opioid epidemic is a resurgence in diseases like Hepatitis B and C and HIV. Dr. Sue Cantrell says rural nurses are on the front lines of the injection-drug crisis, working with addicts to stop the spread of disease.

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