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Unintended Consequences of the Opiate Epidemic | Sally Satel & Peter Pischke - MP Podcast #127

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In this episode, Sally Satel and Peter Pischke join Mikhaila to talk about dependence-forming medications, the opioid epidemic, and the prescription-drug system that’s partly to blame.
Sally Satel is a psychiatrist and addiction medicine writer. She is a lecturer at Yale School of Medicine and the author of ‘PC MD: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine.’ More recently, she co-authored ‘Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience.’ Her articles have been published in The New York Times, the New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal.

Peter Pischke is a journalist and health and disability reporter. He hosts The Happy Warrior podcast and has been on many top podcasts and TV shows. As a journalist who’s struggled with chronic pain, he aims to educate people and raise awareness about issues as important as the opioid crisis—which is discussed at length in this episode.

Find Peter Pischke on Twitter @HappyWarriorP

or hear him host The Happy Warrior Podcast at

There’s more Sally Satel on her website
and Twitter @slsatel

Useful resources for people with chronic pain:

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Show Notes
[0:00] Intro
[02:37] Introducing guests Peter Pischke and Sally Satel
[05:59] What is the opioid crisis? How did it get started?
[09:07] “Just between 2020 and 2021, we’ve hit our highest number in a year yet for deaths, which was about 90,000 related to opioid addiction” – Peter Pischke
[11:02] Peter shares his personal story of addiction and recovery from opioid use
[14:25] Mikhaila shares her experience with painkillers for childhood arthritis and the difficult choice between using a habit-forming drug or feeling miserable day in and day out
[15:21] “It’s like woah, I’m in a lot of pain, I full-on have an autoimmune disorder and there’s a reason I need these pain killers, and in the moment it’s the difference between being in chronic pain or sleeping but being on a pain medication that is dependency forming” – Mikhaila Peterson
[15:54] Sally’s experience working at a methadone clinic in Washington DC
[20:36] “Some of our patients say they can’t handle this on their own and get on a replacement medication for the opioids. And this is not the right medical analogy, but metaphorically it might be like taking insulin: it’s just a medication you take every day. Some people do get off completely, but those are the more rare cases”- Sally Satel
[21:02] “It takes a long time to repair your life, and people use drugs for a reason” – Sally Satel
[22:40] The mixture of drugs in many cases of overdose. The difficulty in prescribing necessary meds post-2016 legislation restricting doctors’ ability to prescribe certain drugs
[34:39] The extreme pressure on doctors to see more and more patients. Its effect on prescribed patient care
[39:35] Dependence-forming medications
[44:05] American culture and the constant war between addicts and legitimate patients in legislature and treatment
[51:53] “It could well be that many people on high-dose opioids today didn’t need to be on that high of a dose […] That’s all true, but once you’re on a high dose that’s working, and you want to stay on it, to me it’s unconscionable that doctors would take you off of it” – Sally Satel
[52:16] A message from Peter for those struggling with chronic pain
[54:43] A message for people who may be using or considering using
[55:21] Wrapping up

#MikhailaPeterson #Addiction #OpioidCrisis #MedicalSystem #ChronicPain