Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard to Stop

Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard to Stop

by Anna Lembke


$17.96 $19.95 Save 10% Current price is $17.96, Original price is $19.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, June 24


Three out of four people addicted to heroin probably started on a prescription opioid, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States alone, 16,000 people die each year as a result of prescription opioid overdose. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the prescription drug epidemic is that it’s built on well-meaning doctors treating patients with real problems.

In Drug Dealer, MD, Dr. Anna Lembke uncovers the unseen forces driving opioid addiction nationwide. Combining case studies from her own practice with vital statistics drawn from public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, she explores the complex relationship between doctors and patients, the science of addiction, and the barriers to successfully addressing drug dependence and addiction. Even when addiction is recognized by doctors and their patients, she argues, many doctors don’t know how to treat it, connections to treatment are lacking, and insurance companies won’t pay for rehab.

Full of extensive interviews—with health care providers, pharmacists, social workers, hospital administrators, insurance company executives, journalists, economists, advocates, and patients and their families—Drug Dealer, MD, is for anyone whose life has been touched in some way by addiction to prescription drugs. Dr. Lembke gives voice to the millions of Americans struggling with prescription drugs while singling out the real culprits behind the rise in opioid addiction: cultural narratives that promote pills as quick fixes, pharmaceutical corporations in cahoots with organized medicine, and a new medical bureaucracy focused on the bottom line that favors pills, procedures, and patient satisfaction over wellness. Dr. Lembke concludes that the prescription drug epidemic is a symptom of a faltering health care system, the solution for which lies in rethinking how health care is delivered.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421421407
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 200,224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.47(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Anna Lembke, MD, is the chief of addiction medicine and an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Prescription Drug Epidemic
2. What is Addiction and Who's at Risk?
3. Pain is Dangerous, Difference is Psychopathology: The Role of Illness Narratives
4. Big Pharma Joins Big Medicine, Co-Opting Medical Science to Promote Pill-Taking
5. The Drug-Seeking Patient: Malingering vs the Hijacked Brain
6. The Professional Patient: Illness as Identity and a Right to Be Compensated
7. The Compassionate Doctor, the Narcissistic Injury, and the Primitive Defense
8. Pill Mills and the Toyota-ization of Medicine
9. Addiction, the Disease Insurance Companies Still Won't Pay Doctors to Treat
10. Stopping the Cycle of Compulsive Prescribing

What People are Saying About This

Keith Humphreys

"Dr. Lembke is a fearless, authentic voice on the over-prescription of addictive painkillers and its terrible public health consequences. Drug Dealer, MDbrings together her experience as a physician and her wisdom as a public policy analyst to create a must-read book for anyone who is grappling with America's ongoing opioid addiction and overdose crisis."

Marcus A. Bachhuber

Lembke's novel viewpoint, brilliant synthesis of information, and use of patient stories bring the text to life.

G. Caleb Alexander

A unique and appealing look at the prescription opioid epidemic. Lembke's broad contextual discussion of the changing history of organized medicine's approach to pain is fascinating.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard to Stop 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book not only gives you a great inside on the secrets of addiction, but tells you them in a very unique way. By wrapping you in the heart breaking, true stories of patients, Dr. Lembke lets us know about this problem by giving us examples from life, as well as information about the ever rising number of drug-seeking patients.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eye opening for anyone who precribes or consumes pain meds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a amazing combination of science, policy and personal experiences. Dr. Lembke has written a book that is brave and dives deep into the complexities of this huge problem. This book is very well written and sees the problem from all sides. This should be reading for all in the medical field or health profession or related fields.
Petertheboss More than 1 year ago
This book was riveting. Lembke used real patient examples from her practice, and the stories brought the problem to life. I was especially interesting in her take on the ways that the culture of "pain is dangerous" has contributed to the opioid epidemic. She also gave a fascinating analysis in changes in disability laws, and the impact it has had on "professional patients." This is a must read for anyone interested in health care reform.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating and thorough look at all of the complex factors that have brought us to our current epidemic. It's well written and easy to read. It should be required reading for anyone in medicine or behavioral health, or anyone planning to pursue those disciplines.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Opioid addiction is an increasingly serious and tragic problem nationwide. Dr. Lembke addresses this issue with experience, authority and compassion. The book is well-written and illustrated with case-studies. It merits reading by laymen, physicians and policymakers.
JamesFF More than 1 year ago
I learned so much from reading this book. It was amazing to see how corporate medicine influences doctors' decisions. I was also intrigued by Lembke's analysis of cultural narratives. Illness has become a source of identity, and also a way to pay the bills. Lembke weaves real case examples with vital statistics and neuroscience. This is a must-read for anyone in the health care field, or anyone going into the health care field. Or for that matter anyone who is a patient and might be prescribed one of these drugs.