American Pain; How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America's Deadliest Drug Epidemic.

Author:Dabbene, Peter
Position:Book review

John Temple; AMERICAN PAIN; Lyons Press (Nonfiction: History) 26.95 ISBN: 9781493007387

Byline: Peter Dabbene

An example of what can happen when individuals, companies, and politicians place their own interests before simple ethical considerations, American Pain is a cautionary tale of the finest sort.

In his masterful nonfiction book American Pain, John Temple lays bare the perfect storm of lax regulation, aggressive marketing, greed, and addiction that created an opioid epidemic.

Opioid painkillers, best known by the brand name OxyContin, reached unprecedented levels of sales in the late 2000s. But how they reached that level is a sordid and fascinating story, detailed in both small scope and large by Temple, an associate professor of journalism at West Virginia University's Reed College of Media, and author of two previous nonfiction books.

Temple lays out the tale of Chris George and Derik Nolan, two street-smart young men whose previous brushes with the law caused them to leap at the chance for a "legitimate" business running a pain clinic, dispensing massive quantities of addictive drugs, with a series of doctors as their willing accomplices. Because of Florida's loose regulations, George and Nolan created a massively profitable business marketing their company, named "American Pain," to addicts -- particularly those from Kentucky, who happily made the long journey to get their fix without hassles.


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