nxVenture Capital CEO Troy Jensen Reviews “American Pain” by John Temple
American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic by John Temple
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s a topic close to my heart, and one that has two sides to the conventional story told by the media. There are people who suffer from very real pain — disabling pain, excruciating pain, that no MRI or x-ray will ever show. My baby sister has had three brain surgeries related to her lifelong severe epilepsy. The third surgery went sideways somehow, leaving my little sister with bouts of excruciating “Neurological Pain” — NOT fibromyalgia! Peripheral Polyneuropathic Pain is one of a dozen terms used on it. The pain is very real to the patient, but no physical symptoms exist. Neurons have been damaged, and are firing away incorrectly.
Do you know how many times I have to flat out go to the MAT wrestling with doctors and pharmacists getting my sister her medication? TRUST ME, she is not seeking it — my poor girl barely gets 4–5 hours awake a day to spend with my precious niece. But because of the publicity of these Pill Mills, she and many others suffer, and even worse, are treated with contempt by many facets of the medical world and society at large. “She’s just pretending! She wants more of that powerful OxyContin. Classic drug-seeking behavior.” Um, no, you and your degrees are all wrong.
I know my sister, I see the pain. I also know intimately drug-seeking behavior, having been a abuser of several different prescription and nonprescription medications (drugs!) over the course of my life. I am lucky — it was all recreational, and when it got out of hand, I simply quit. However, being the Deal Guy I am, I can sell Water to Whales and fire in Hell — I KNOW DRUG SEEKING BEHAVIOR.
Then there is a whole different problem here. The “War on Drugs” is a joke, as anyone intelligent knows. It is easier to get ahold of illicit drugs than it is going through doctors and getting prescriptions filled at pharmacies — FAR EASIER. Criminal cartel elements have always sprung up whenever the federal government has enacted a prohibition on a drug that elicits pleasure, from alcohol to marijuana to cocaine to heroin. And now there is a whole new drug dealer thriving in our society. The prescription medication dealer (who is typically a dealer of illicit drugs, simply adding the pills into his array of pharmacological offerings).
This book really dives into all these counter-paradoxical issues in the form of a nonfiction narrative that stylistically would fit a bestselling thriller novel just fine. Told through the eyes of twin brothers who, operating under the laws of the state of Florida and the federal government at that time, setup the largest “Pill Mill” operation in the United States — American Pain Clinic. The brothers are classic Edge Entrepreneurs — operating at the edge of legal boundaries and interpretations, and being rewarded with phenomenal profit margins for taking that operational risk.
These brothers get the 15 year sentences for publicity purposes. The lawmakers, the regulatory agencies like the DEA, the giant pharmaceutical manufacturers and even the mid-level DEA-licensed pharmaceutical distributors pay small fines and “admit to no wrongdoing.” The entire subject is so bloody ridiculous when looked at from every point-of-view, it becomes almost unimaginably complex.
The author has taken this complex cultural, societal, legal and political subject and given human faces and names to all sides of the story, which is not pretty. But it is a story that I have long wanted to see told correctly, and I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone interested. And that should be everyone — if you are a parent, a patient, an industry actor, if you employ or manage other human beings, schoolteachers, etc etc — the “Pill Epidemic” is a convenient, terror-inducing term for what is ultimately a federal government legislative issue that must be dealt with realistically and quickly.
As a general read, the entire story is captivating from start to finish! The author did a fantastic job. This one gets one of my highest recos!
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Originally published at www.nxventure.com.