The Defining Moments of the Opioid Epidemic

March 5, 2020

Part 1 of the feature series includes a conversation with Anna Lembke, MD, on the most impactful players and products of the 30-year crisis.

The opioid crisis has evolved from a trend to an epidemic and, now, into an era in American history.




While pain has always been an overwhelming and under-addressed issue in medicine, the opioid crisis has transformed the landscape of not just healthcare, but America as a whole.

Yet, unlike other issues in medicine—whether that be rates of cardiovascular disease or public health issues like smoking—this problem appears, at least for the moment, to be uniquely American. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose daily.

The problem became impossible for the public to ignore over the last decade, but the seeds of the epidemic were sewn decades ago. Getting to the truth of its inception is long, and difficult.

In this episode of the DocTalk podcast, HCPLive® dives headfirst into the opioid crisis with a physician who knows it just as well, if not better, than anyone else.

Anna Lembke, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford and the author of Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard To Stop, joins via phone for a conversation on how we got here, what is being done, and how do we move forward.