- Photos and Video
- A Reporter’s Blog
- Tell Your True Tale
It seemed pointless to list these and their sometimes quite lengthy links in the book itself, where no one could link them. So I’ve put them here, where readers can view with one click the study or report in question.
I checked all the links before posting them. Sometimes, of course, links or websites are removed from the Internet. Please let me know if you find that one of the links I list here is no longer working. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certain government agencies have produced numerous studies relevant to the prescription-painkiller abuse problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is foremost among them, with among other things, this 2014 overdose fact sheet, this report on deaths from 1999-2006, this 2013 presentation by then-CDC official Chris Jones, this report on methadone abuse from 2012. In 2011, the agency published this factsheet.
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes a survey on drug use that is very helpful. Here’s its National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for 2012. The number of people using crack at the height of that epidemic is discussed in various SAMHSA surveys going back several years, as well as this online report. SAMHSA also published this 2010 assessment of methadone mortality rates.
The U.S. General Accounting Office (now Government Accountability Office) produced the enormously helpful 2003 study on Purdue Pharma and its campaign to promote OxyContin, which is well worth reading. I also consulted the office’s study in 2009 of methadone deaths, and its 1990 report on methadone-maintenance clinics.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse published this report in 2011 estimating addiction resulting from treatment for chronic pain at between three and 40 percent.
Medical journals also provided important information:
The Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy ran this 2001 survey on the widespread under-treatment of pain.
Thirteen years later, The American Journal of Public Health ran this editorial by several doctors insisting that widespread abuse of opiates was due in part to physicians’ overprescribing the medications.
JAMA Psychiatry ran this on the changing nature of the heroin addict in 2014.
Meanwhile, Pain Physician ran this 2012 description of the opiate abuse epidemic.
Numerous books and studies detail the Harrison Narcotic Act of 2014 and its effects over the next 20 years. Consumer Reports ran this very helpful report in 1972.
A history of Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 1989, written by Everett May and Arthur Jacobson.
The Letter to the Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, published on Jan. 12, 1980, and authored by Jane Porter and Dr. Hershel Jick can be read here.
The letter was mostly promoted as evidence of the low risk of addiction to opiate painkillers in speeches by pain specialists and nurses at numerous conventions, seminars, continuing medical education workshops. However, among the printed citations exalting the letter’s findings were the following:
Canadian Family Physician published this 1995 article that referred to Porter and Jick as “persuasive.” The same author, Ronald Melzack, referred to Porter and Jick as “an extensive study” in this 1990 article in Scientific American.
A Time Magazine story from 2001 – “Less Pain, More Gain” – referred to the letter, without naming its authors, as a “landmark study.”
The 2007 textbook Complications in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine referred to Porter and Jick as “a landmark report.”
This 2012 slideshow by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing offers an overview of the epidemic, while noting that Porter and Jick had been cited 693 times by then in Google Scholar.
Several online sources helped me piece together the history of Purdue Pharma and its promotion of OxyContin:
Here’s the company’s historical timeline and that of its products. In 2003, the GAO published a report on Purdue Pharma and its campaign to promote OxyContin. Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper ran this story on OxyContin, quoting former sales manager William Gergely. Fortune Magazine reported Purdue sales for 2010, among other things. The company announced it will be producing an extended-release hydrocodone pill.
Pro Publica, the nonprofit investigative journalism foundation, has extensive reporting on the financial ties between medical societies and foundations and drug manufacturers, in a series it called Dollars For Doctors. Among the stories is this one co-published with USA Today.
The story of the pharmaceutical industry’s sales-rep arms race that began in the 1990s is a fascinating one and intimately connected to my story in Dreamland.
I learned much of it from talking to salespeople. But there are many stories in the general press, as well as trade publications, on the rise and demise of this arms race. Quoting the shakiness of the large-salesforce business model is this story in Mult-Sclerosis.org; reporting on the layoffs in the industry by 2014 is this piece in Pharmaceutical Executive; this one in Medical Marketing & Media in 2007; this 2014 analysis by Mizuho; and this 2014 story by Pharmaceutical Commerce. The New York Times and Business Week also wrote about Pfizer, as the industry leader cut back.
Among the online sources I used on the remarkable career of Dr. Arthur Sackler were his biographical webpage, his biography in the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and his obituary in the New York Times, and this on his art collecting, this 1986 story in the International Herald Tribune. The Los Angeles Times ran this 2010 obituary on his brother, and co-owner of Purdue, Mortimer Sackler.
A discussion of Terramycin’s sales figures is in the book, Seven Lifesaving Drugs and the People Who Created Them by Robert Shook, which I consulted online.
The Pain Policy and Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin has done volumes of work on the consumption of morphine worldwide.
This chart from the PPSG chronicles the rise is morphine consumption and the consumption of opiates worldwide. This chart measures the growth of the use in the United States from 1980-2013. Among the countries with the lowest consumption of opiates is India, where much of the world’s opium supply originates.
I gleaned details of the life and career of Dr. Russell Portenoy from an oral history at The John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection at UCLA. (The official sourcing: Oral History Interview with Russell K. Portenoy, 17-18 April 2003 (Ms. Coll. no. 127.67), John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection, History & Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA Library Special Collections, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles.)
I used also information from this 2008 article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine; his thoughts about pain and prescription painkillers in this 1996 article in Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics, his discussion of pain and chronic pain in 2009. His financial relationship to Purdue Pharma are disclosed here, and here, among other places. In this video on the PROP website, he acknowledges that he would have said, done, things differently had he known what was about to.
CHECK LINKThe Pain Research Forum ran this interview with Dr. Kathleen Foley. I also drew from her oral history on file at UCLA’s Liebeskind Collection, cited above.
The concept of pseudoaddiction is discussed in this 1989 article in Pain Journal by Drs. David Haddox and David E. Weisman, and by Weisman in this article for the Center for Advanced Palliative Care.
Among the online sources on the life of Dr. John Bonica is a 1977 profile in People Magazine, and his 1994 obituary in the Seattle Times. Here is a short history of the American Pain Society, of which Bonica was the first chairman. The APS approach to the Assessment of Pain is here.
Pain as the “fifth vital sign” is discussed in many places, including this 2000 Department of Veterans Affairs report, which quotes Dr. James Campbell, and this in Federal Practitioner from 2010 as well.
How much time, on average, primary-care physicians spend with their patients is discussed here, and here, and here. This Newsweek story in 2012 reported on managed care leading to shorter doctor visits and more patient dissatisfaction. Two studies on how to improve primary care are here and here. The need for more primary care doctors is discussed here and here.
The decline of multidisciplinary pain clinics is discussed in this article in Practical Pain Management by Dr. Michael Schatman.
Information on the collegiate recovery movement, which has gained great momentum from the increase in opiate addiction on many campuses, is available at www.RecoveryCampus.com. This story is about efforts to promote addiction recovery at the University of Alabama, which opened its recovery campus, including sober tailgate parties, in 2012.
For more on the intractable pain laws that states began to pass in the late 1990s, there is this in Medscape detailing how different states address the issue of opiate prescribing, and the regulations each has in place. There’s also this in 2001 in the Western Journal of Medicine that, among other things, discusses California’s AB 791.
In 2012, the Cleveland Plain Dealer chronicled the story of Chris Jacquemain and the University of Akron Zips 2009 football team.
Most of the information about the late Dr. Phil Prior I obtained from friends and family. However, I’d be remiss not to include this article about his amateur rocketry, though it was Greek to me.
DR. DAVID PROCTER
Information on Dr. David Procter came from many people in Portsmouth who knew him and used him as their doctor.
Kentucky’s Board of Medical Licensure investigated Procter and issued this graphic 63-page report in 2000 on his medical practices. The agency produced similar investigations into at least four of the doctors Procter hired to help him run his South Shore clinic after his auto accident: Dr. Rodolfo Santos, Dr. Frederick Cohn, Dr. Fortune Williams and Dr. Steven Snyder.
Online, the Lexington Herald-Leader ran this excellent report in 2003 on the pill problem in Eastern Kentucky, devoting space to Procter and his legacy. That same year, Procter testified against one of his ex-employees, Dr. Rodolfo Santos.
Here is Procter’s 2014 email to me requesting money for an interview – a request I declined.
As I was researching Portsmouth, this Daily Times article in 2013 detailed the latest statistics on drug deaths in Scioto County
Some of the history of Portsmouth, Ohio, can be found here.
For material on Dreamland, the legendary swimming pool in Portsmouth, I drew from a Facebook shout-out to members of the town’s diapora, which unfortunately I cannot link to here for privacy reasons.
Here’s a chatroom of people reminiscing about the swimming pool.
Finally, not to be missed are clips of family movies taken at the pool and used many years later in a music video by country singer, Rick Ferrell, for his song about the pool, titled “Dreamland.”
There is a growing amount of information on the topic of drug courts and the use of specialty dockets as alternatives to incarceration for addicts. This 2013 story in the Wall Street Journal was very helpful. The Associated Press ran a story on the use of drug courts in Ohio in 2012. The Toledo Blade published this interview with the Ohio director of prisons urging more rehabilitation and no new prisons. In Massachusetts, the scourge of opiate abuse led officials to call for more drug courts, as reported in the Boston Globe in 2014.
Watch this 44-minute documentary on the Azusa Street Pentecostal revival in the early 1900s. Among its converts were Russian immigrants who returned home to preach the gospel and created the first communities of Russian Pentecostals just as the Soviet Union was taking shape.
This is a 2009 review of a short history of the Slavic Pentecostal movement. An interesting blogpost on the most important Slavic Pentecostal churches in the United States. See more about God Will Provide, the rehab church, at www.gwprovide.org.
There are many books on the drug war and the history of Mexico’s drug cartels that provide context for my book, though I’ve not quoted them.
One is The Drug Connection in U.S.-Mexico Relations edited by Guadalupe Gonzalez and Marta Tienda, Center of US-Mexican Studies, UC San Diego, 1989. Chapter 3, by Miguel Ruiz-Cabanas discusses Mexico’s opium supply with figures for eradication. Richard Craig’s chapter discusses the history of U.S. narcotics policy regarding Mexico.
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Conspiracy by Ioan Grillo is another.
XALISCO, NAYARIT and BLACK TAR HEROIN
Much of what I learned about Xalisco, Nayarit came from interviews with narcotics agents, police, prosecutors, and, especially, young men from the town, most of whom had been involved in selling black-tar heroin in the United States.
However, some of what I learned I found online.
A map of the municipio (similar to a U.S. county) of Xalisco, Nayarit.
Listen to “El Numero Uno” by Los Incomparables de Tijuana – Enrique’s favorite corrido.
The death in Xalisco of Jose Luis Estrada Martinez, “El Pepino,” in Xalisco is reported here.
Following my series on the Xalisco Boys in the L.A. Times, there were several reports on the march of black-tar heroin east across the U.S. Among them, a study by the Wilson Center by Jose Diaz-Briseno. Several newspapers began to note the emergence of heroin in their areas where the drug had been only a minor issue, if it existed at all. The Cincinnati Inquirer ran this report in 2013.
With the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, articles on the increase in heroin use and overdose deaths appeared in many states, among them Minnesota, Utah, West Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, upstate New York, Wisconsin. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin devoted his entire state of the state speech to heroin addiction.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called heroin addiction an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”