The Silenced Jury

I’ll regularly review movies on my Omnivorous Cinephile blog. This one, though, is a bit different.

In 2003, Fox released the film Runaway Jury. Based on a John Grisham novel, the movie featured an excellent cast, including John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Davison, Bruce McGill, and Jeremy Priven, along with a coterie of easily-recognizable supporting actors.

Grisham had been a sensation in the publishing field since “The Firm” in 1991. That book sold over 7 million copies, and with his subsequent bestsellers he’s racked up over 275 million books sold. Hollywood had a major hit with Sidney Pollack’s adaptation of The Firm, and that was followed by excellent box office for both The Pelican Brief and The Client. The profitability fell off with subsequent movies such as A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, and The Chamber. The adaptation of Runaway Jury was the last movie to attempt to recapture the magic Grisham spark of The Firm.

The story had major trouble in its journey to the screen from when it hit bookshelves in 1996. Fox bought the film rights and tried to set up a production, but multiple directors and actors attached to the film ended up dropping out. Joel Schumacher was supposed to direct, as he had The Client and A Time to Kill, and Edward Norton, Sean Connery, and Gwyneth Paltrow were to star, but that fell through. Other actors who were cast included Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, and Naomi Watts, and both Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men) were given the director’s chair. But it never came together.

And then reality caught up with the novel. The story dealt with a tobacco lawsuit that finally found the tobacco companies liable for their cancer-causing product. But then two years after it came out, the four main tobacco companies reached the master settlement with 46 state attorneys general (the other four states had already reached settlements by then). So the central case in the story was now moot.

There was, however, another target on the horizon. Following the Tobacco settlement, lawyers turned their attention to gun manufacturers as the next major litigation battlefield. So Runaway Jury changed to deal with the aftermath of a mass shooting at a brokerage firm in New Orleans. In 1999, a day trader went on a shooting rampage at two such firms in Atlanta, killing 9 and injuring 12, after killing his wife and two other family members earlier in the day. So the movie had a new story.

Gary Fleder was brought in to direct and produce. He’d done the movie version of James Paterson’s novel Kiss The Girls and had also directed episodes of both “Homicide: Life On The Streets” and “The Shield.” Four screenwriters were credited with the script in the end, and principle photography began in the early fall of 2002 at several locations in New Orleans. In October 2003, Runaway Jury made its debut in theaters. But any hope that lightning would strike again was dashed in its first week. The $60 million dollar film made just $11 million, on its way to a USA gross of $49 million. That was the end of the adaptations of Grisham legal thrillers for the big screen. (One of his non-genre stories, “Skipping Christmas,” was later the basis for Christmas with the Kranks.)

It’s too bad, since it was a decent legal thriller, and it contains a special scene of Hoffman and Hackman arguing over the law in a courthouse bathroom. It wasn’t in the original script, but was added after a crewmember discovered the fact that the two actors, who were longtime friends and former roommates, had never done a scene together in their long careers. (When they were classmates at the Pasadena Playhouse, they were voted the actors “least likely to succeed.”)

The threat of lawsuits has for decades been the way manufacturers were reined in when their greed put the public at risk. You have the major decisions such as the cigarette master settlement and the asbestos settlement, and by the turn of the millennium gun manufacturers were taking heat rather than packing it. Smith and Wesson agreed to a federal settlement of multiple lawsuits in 2000, and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo (now governor of New York) said that if the other manufacturers didn’t comply with regulation to their industry, they’d suffer “death by a thousand cuts” from lawsuits.

But the manufacturers and their lobbyists in the NRA moved to change the narrative. They had the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” put forward in Congress. It was approved by both houses and signed into law on October 26th, 2005 by George W. Bush. In effect, it prevents the gun companies from being held liable for how their product is used. There are a couple of exceptions in the bill for flagrant negligence, but in the years since the PLCAA came into effect there have only been three lawsuits that made it to court, while many others have been dismissed. (Of the three, one jury found for the defendant, one for the plaintiff, and one was settled before a verdict.)

There had been legislative action pushed by the NRA before, including the Dickey Amendment of 1996 that cut off any federal funding for the CDC to investigate gun violence. After the PLCAA, the gun lobby went on a tear of legislation, promoting their wish list of eliminating any restrictions on guns. Rather than do it federally, they concentrated on states, pushing conceal-carry, open carry, stand your ground, and other laws aiming to give the Second Amendment the broadest lack of restrictions possible. The NRA’s political action has been compared to a protection racket: they’ll keep funding politicians who do what they say and support their positions, but if a politician does something they don’t like then they’ll cut off the funding and mobilize their members to vote against the representative. The head of the NRA in Florida, where much of the state legislation was first rolled out, is often referred to as the actual governor of Florida. The NRA has also hamstrung the agency that has jurisdiction over guns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. They advocated against the nominated directors of the ATF as well as had the agency’s funding cut. Currently the ATF is smaller than the Broward County PD in Florida, and the number of agents it has is less than the number of police in Washington, DC.

But as I write this, the March For Our Lives is winding down. The murder of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (FL) on Valentine’s Day this year has proved to be a watershed moment of history. There was talk after the Sandy Hook massacre that it would be the moment that finally broke the NRA’s power, but that didn’t happen. Rather than advocating against the NRA, parents of children sought to cocoon them from their fears. With the Pulse Nightclub, the Orlando LGBTQ community was attacked, but they were not a cohesive group that could work together to organize opposition. The same with the victims in Las Vegas. But with Parkland you have a cohesive group – most of the students have been together for their entire academic lives – and they were old enough to present their positions thoughtfully and cogently. You also can’t underestimate the effect of social media. The students have been using it for years; it’s their playing field. (One of them Instagrammed hiding during the attack so people could experience what the students went through, including hearing the gunshots outside the room where they hunkered down.)

In the aftermath of past shootings, the NRA has effectively controlled the dialog – thoughts and prayers, lip service to change, and then strangle any actual action on the problem. But this time the students called BS on all of that. And it’s already had an impact, even if they are baby-steps. Florida enacted its first gun control legislation in 20 years, and thanks to a provision in the recent omnibus spending bill the CDC can now study gun violence. More telling is that politicians with A ratings by the NRA are now trying to cast themselves as gun control advocates. But that’s not enough for the Parkland students who want comprehensive gun legislation. Those A ratings by the NRA are becoming scarlet letters for many politicians.

Spoiler Alert: I’m about to talk about the end of Runaway Jury so if you haven’t seen the movie, stop here.

In a way, today’s rally is a vindication of Runaway Jury. At the end of the movie, there’s a scene between Hackman, who plays a jury consultant brought in to pack the jury to the benefit of the gun manufacturer on trial, and John Cusack, one of the jurors who, we learn towards the end of the film, lost his girlfriend years earlier in a school shooting. Since that event, Cusack’s character has pursued gun lawsuits with the assistance of Rachel Weiss, his girlfriend’s sister. The jury has come back with a huge award for the plaintiff. Hackman can’t understand how Cusack swung the jury to vote his way. Cusack responds, “I didn’t swing anything. I just stopped you from stealing the thing. We let ’em vote their hearts. That means you lose.”

Right now, in this country, there are a lot of people listening to their hearts. And they’ll be voting in November.

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A Lively Train Trip

The first mystery I remember watching when I was in my early teens was an Agatha Christie adaptation – 1965’s Ten Little Indians, with Hugh O’Brian and Shirley Eaton. The plot, always one of Christie’s strengths, fascinated me. Later I saw the much better 1945 adaptation with Barry Fitzgerald and Walter Houston, and I read the original novel. (Thankfully no movie ever used its original English title.) Then in 1974 another classic Christie tale, Murder on the Orient Express, was released. Directed by Sidney Lumet and with a cast that truly fit the claim of “all-star,” it spawned a series of Christie adaptations, though none of them matched the beauty of the first. After the memorable original, I was a little hesitant about seeing the new version of Murder on the Orient Express.

True, it had Kenneth Branagh both as star and director. He’s done excellent work recently behind the camera with Thor and Cinderella (we’ll forget about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, since almost everyone else has), and early in his career he was responsible for a personal favorite of mine in the mystery genre, Dead Again. The rest of the cast is filled with excellent actors both new (Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad) and well-established (Derek Jacobi, Judy Dench, Willem Dafoe). Given that cast, I knew I would see the film, regardless of the trepidation I felt about it.

Thankfully the worry quickly dissipated as the movie began. Where the 1974 version started with an introduction to the motivating crime, here we have a wonderful introduction to Branagh’s Poirot. It’s not easy to take on that character after David Suchet’s sterling version on PBS, and wisely Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green go in a different direction, emphasizing the obsessive-compulsive aspect of the character. Green has had a stellar year, having written both Logan and Blade Runner 2049, along with producing and doing most of the adaptation of “American Gods” on Starz.

The one aspect of the 1974 movie that I didn’t like was its sedate, cerebral pace. While that works fine in a novel, movies are a visual medium. Directors call out “Action!” not “Time to talk!” The pacing of the new version is strong from the opening sequence. Branagh’s more of a visual stylist than Lumet was, capturing scenes from striking angles that increase the tension. True, he does change the terrain where the story’s set from flat fields to mountain passes, but it works to increase the feeling of being cut off by the elements.

There isn’t a weak performance, though there are standouts. Daisy Ridley gives a thoughtful turn as governess Mary Debenham, the first trainmate that Poirot meets. Dafoe has a fairly showy role as Austrian professor Hardman. But it was particularly good to see a much more controlled and effective Johnny Depp. And after lesser roles for most of this century, Michelle Pfeiffer glows with fire as American socialite Mrs. Hubbard. Pfeiffer also sings the song over the end credits, in a voice as clear and evocative as when she did The Fabulous Baker Boys 28 years ago. (Branagh wrote the lyrics.)

If you’ve never seen the 1974 version, do see this one, if for no other reason than to be introduced to Agatha Christie in her prime. If you have seen the earlier one, it’s still worth watching Branagh’s version to witness how two very different directors can each take a story and put their own stamp on the project, each good in their own way.

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Anyone Can Write; An Author Re-writes

When I was young, I worked with a playwright who proudly proclaimed he wrote final copy. He typed out the play and when he took each sheet of paper out of the typewriter, he was finished with it. That was somewhat true, as far as it went. He handed the pages to others who retyped the copy into the proper format, correct the typos and spelling, and prepared it for printing. There were times they went back to the playwright and say, “What did you mean here?” or “Did you check that fact?” While he put out a tremendous volume of work in his lifetime, correction was still needed. Final copy? Close, but no cigar – and he really liked cigars.

A lesson every writer must learn is the absolute need to re-work your prose. The first draft is just that, a first draft. It should be followed by a second, a third…maybe a forty-sixth, if that is what’s required. As a good friend and fellow author told me about the writing process: “Bash it out and tart it up.” Get the first draft done, but then go back and improve the work. You should figure that the first draft is ten percent of the work, the visible portion of an iceberg. Editing is the ninety percent below the surface that keeps the story afloat. Many people who dream of being an author believe they can get the story down, send it to a publisher who will immediately love it, and then they’ll give it to an editor who’ll clean up the manuscript. Those people will always dream, but will never accomplish. The goal is to make the manuscript as perfect as possible before you think about submitting it.

A Mental Exercise

The only writing that’s set in stone is a motto carved on a building. Don’t become so attached to your words that you can’t eliminate them.

When I decided to focus on writing, I did a mental exercise. When I read novels, I’d look at how the author constructed the sentences and considered any different ways to phrase the line. Why did the author choose those words? Why arrange them that way? Could a change improve the clarity of the sentence? It’s a good start that you can then apply to your own writing.

It’s worthwhile as well to read books from previous generations to observe the differences and the similarities in their construction. Since my genre of choice is mysteries, I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories, as well as books by Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. I made my way through every color of the Travis Magee books by John D. MacDonald, and read the early work of Joseph Wambaugh that changed the way police work was depicted. I enjoyed the moral complexity and plotting of P.D. James, and read contemporary mystery and thriller authors like Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, John Sandford, Greg Ilies, Jonathan Kellerman, and others.

A great example of these differences and similarities is the work of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss adapting Conan Doyle’s tales of Sherlock Holmes to the modern world. Episodes like “A Study in Pink” and “A Scandal in Belgravia” keep plot points of the original stories, along with parts of the titles, yet they are thoroughly modern reimaginings. They remain faithful to the characters, but not moribund in history.

A Drafty Room

You’ve finished the first draft of your novel. Take a moment to savor the accomplishment. You’ve strung together 80,000 to 100,000 words and have a pile of 300 to 400 pages. It’s a monument to your stamina when you type “The End.” Fix yourself a drink – hard or soft, your choice – and toast your novel.

Then tear it apart.

If your manuscript is over 100,000 words, you’ll need to cut it down. If it’s substantially over that number and your name isn’t Diana Gabaldon, your publishing prospects are nearly non-existent. I did say nearly; Margaret Mitchell did get “Gone with the Wind” published, but only after 38 rejections. And rejection is never easy.

Start reworking your sentences and paragraphs. Is every word necessary? How can you make it leaner, clearer, more focused? Is your imagery sharp so it crackles with energy? Have you spent a long time describing a character in detail? If so, rip it out. A detail or two, mixed in with the flow of the story, is all you need.

When you’ve worked through the entire manuscript, set it aside for a week or two, then go through it again. I’ll use a piece of cardstock to cover the page so I can reveal the lines one by one. Focus on each individual sentence. The first question to ask is why that sentence is in the story. Can you cut it without disrupting the plot or the flow of the story? If you can, then cut it. Be brutal. It’s hard, because you’re invested in what you’ve created, but think of editing like sculpture. You cut away everything that’s not necessary to create the perfect image.

One pet peeve: homophones. I find myself gritting my teeth when I’m on Facebook because of the numerous people who don’t know the difference between their, there, and they’re, or who use it’s as a possessive. Homophones are the landmines of English. Be careful not to step on them.

Go through the manuscript again to make sure the story holds together. Then go back to rewriting the sentences. Once you can read through the manuscript and only make minor changes to what you’ve written, you’re doing well. But that’s only the first step.

Virtual Editing

Having a professional editor do a line by line edit of your manuscript is valuable, but also costly. Not all writers have a couple of thousand dollars of disposable income to afford that help, especially at the beginning of a career. There are, however, some online options that can help you, though you have to be careful how you use them. Best of all, you can try them for free.

Hemingway Editor ( has a simple, color-coded format. It identifies adverbs, phrases with simpler options, and when you use the passive voice. It also shows sentences that are hard to read, and ones that are very hard to read. The program will give you a grade level rating for your writing. If you’re checking a novel, you’d want to go chapter by chapter at the most.

ProWritingAid ( is much more detailed than Hemingway. It lets you analyze what you’ve written through multiple filters such as style, grammar, readability, and pacing. It will search out clichés, overused words, pronouns, and there are other functions helpful to a writer. With the free version, there is a limit to how much you can analyze at a time.

Hemingway is an app that you can purchase and download, while ProWriting is an on-line subscription service. The weakness with both is that they look at writing in a generic way, and they can’t recognize exceptions. For instance, I had a character go by a nickname, and ProWriting highlighted every time it appeared as a cliché. You have to exercise judgment, but the programs can show you what you need to consider. But I’ve found them both useful and worth purchasing or subscribing.

Beta Readers

Once you have the manuscript edited to the best of your ability, the next step is to call on others for help. This can be done through a critique group, or by recruiting people you know to read the manuscript.

Critique groups can be helpful not just when you’re finished with a manuscript but also with keeping you motivated during the lonely days of writing. On the other hand, the personalities and professionalism of those involved makes a big difference in the effectiveness of a group. Egos can get in the way. If you join a group, make sure you focus as much on helping the others as you do on seeking their help. It should be a mutual support group.

If you’re recruiting people to read the whole manuscript, understand that is asking a lot of them and let them know you appreciate their help. Be sure to acknowledge them if your work gets published. Each person has their own skills. Some may have expertise about parts of the story that can fill in gaps in your research. Others may be picky grammarians who will catch every mistake. (If you find one of these, treat them as if they’re as precious as gold, for they are!) Some will simply let you know if the story works.

Listen to what beta readers say, since they are like a preview audience for a film. They can help make what you’ve created better than what you could accomplish on your own.

Once you’ve gone through the extra ninety percent of rewriting and editing, you should know if what you’ve written is marketable. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a publisher. You may choose to go the self-publishing route as many do these days. But by going through this process, you’ll come to a better understanding of the craft, and the hard work involved in writing.

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Keeping Faith

In November of 1969, Sister Catherine Cesnik left the apartment she shared with another nun in Baltimore. Her younger sister had gotten engaged, and she wanted to purchase a gift for her. Sister Cathy was never seen alive again. In January, her body was found in a field, the side of her skull smashed in.

Decades later, two former students at the school where Sister Cathy taught launched a Facebook page seeking justice for her and for another young woman who disappeared at nearly the same time. Joyce Malecki was twenty years old when she disappeared. Her body was found after a few weeks on the property of a US Army base, which originally made it an FBI case. But as with Sister Cathy, nothing happened in regard to discovering who killed her or why she died. The former students, Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, had warm memories of Sister Cathy, who was in her mid-twenties. She taught English at Archbishop Keough, a Catholic girl’s high school, and she was approachable and concerned about the students. So they created the Facebook page “Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki” in the hopes of finding leads to whoever killed the young women. What they found was a story of systemic abuse and collusion between the Diocese of Baltimore and the political and legal institutions of the state to cover up what went on.

Now Netflix is showing “The Keepers,” a seven-part documentary on the case. Recently there have been documentaries on killers, such as Netflix’s “Making of a Murderer” and HBO’s “The Jinx,” that focus on the suspect. Instead, “The Keepers” focuses on the victims and those who have dedicated themselves to the investigation. It is riveting viewing.

Director Ryan White has managed to organize in a logical progression a story that’s spread out over 50 years and covers a huge canvas. The first hour introduces the viewer to Gemma and Abbie, and to Sister Catherine and Joyce. It gives context to their world in 1969, and then gives the details of the disappearances and eventual discovery of the bodies. It’s fairly straightforward, though it hints at deeper strains to the story, such as when the former supervising officer on the case takes Gemma and Abbie to the place where Sister Cathy’s body was found. There’s a palpable anger within Gemma, even as she smiles and converses with the retired officer. Later we understand why.

But it’s the second hour that grabs you by the throat, and the documentary won’t let go from then on. The former chaplain of the school, Father Maskell, ruthlessly abused and raped the girls under his care. Multiple women share what happened to them, including how Maskell would invite other men, including police officers, to abuse the girls as well. Maskell was the chaplain to the Baltimore Police Department, among other assignments that insulated him from suspicion. Central to the story is one woman who would eventually sue the diocese under the name Jane Doe, whose memories (like many abuse victims) were suppressed by her mind for twenty years before they finally began to surface. One of the memories that come back is Maskell taking her to Cathy’s body a few days after her disappearance and threatening her with a similar fate.

Two years ago “Spotlight” won the Best Picture Oscar (deservedly) for its story of the Boston Globe’s breaking the priest abuse scandal wide open. The only town that could compete with Boston for the level of the Catholic Church’s entrenched power is Baltimore. Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony, a place of refuge for English papists from the hegemony of the Church of England. Just as in Boston, the church could make abuse complaints disappear. Worse, as the documentary illustrates clearly, they are still doing it to this day.

“The Keepers” is a story that will infuriate, as documentation and evidence goes missing or is “accidentally” destroyed, and where the church blindly ignores complaints while, just as in Boston, moving the offending priest to a different assignment. But in the end it is also a story of endurance and faith in justice if not in the justice system. It’s a story that needs to be seen to clear away the obfuscation and victim-shaming that’s still employed by the diocese to keep a lid on the scandal. But mostly it’s the story of people who kept faith with Sister Cathy and Joyce Malecki. I heartily recommend it.

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No Hiding Place Part 6: “The Biology of the Price”

It’s likely you’ve seen the picture that’s gone viral, taken by a police officer in East Liverpool, OH recently. It shows a man and a woman in an SUV who’ve passed out from opiates, with the woman’s grandchild in a car seat in the back. Videos have been posted on YouTube of people who’ve simply collapsed on the street or in a store from the drugs they’ve taken.

It’s one of the symptoms of opiate overdosing: extreme sleepiness or the inability to wake up. Other symptoms are confusion, appearing drunk, pinpoint pupils, vomiting, and extreme constipation. But the killer symptom is problems breathing. Opiates suppress body functions, including breathing. That’s how people die from opiates. They simply stop breathing.

Dependence vs. Addiction

A new player is coming on the scene – Suboxone, a drug that doesn’t give the euphoric high of prescription opiates or heroin, but helps the body to receive the physical effects of the drugs. Like Methadone before it, the idea is to support the dependence of the body on the drugs without having the person slide into addiction.

Addiction is a psychological term rather than a physical diagnosis. You can be dependent without being addicted. The classic definition of drug addiction is when the craving for the drug severely disrupts a person’s daily activities and that craving becomes all-consuming for the addict. As mentioned earlier, opiates facilitate that by changing the biology of the brain, a condition from which it can take years to recover.

It remains to be seen if Suboxone can help ween people from opiates rather than just maintaining the status quo of dependence. That’s long been a critique of Methadone treatment. What is clear is that until the root condition that led to the problem is addressed, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, users will be handicapped when it comes to kicking the drug.

The Resistance of Big Pharma

Opioid drugs bring billions of dollars into the coffers of the drug companies. With their use quadrupling between 1999 and 2010, it’s only become more of a cash generator, and the companies fight hard against any restrictions on their products. They employ a huge number of lobbyists at the state level, with some states having a one-on-one ratio between legislators and pharmaceutical lobbyists.

They have the resources to make their position heard through donations to political campaigns. Between 2006 and 2015, Big Pharma spent $880 million on campaign contributions and lobbyists. It has worked. Apart from some Northeastern States and Upper Midwest States, legislatures rarely had bills that even mentioned opioids in the past three years. Those fighting to tighten restrictions on opioid prescriptions are spending about a 220th of the amount – $4 million – and the organizations are tiny, grassroots operations. It’s like David going up against Goliath without any pebbles for his sling.

Big Pharma has another resource as well when it comes to making their pitch for their product, and that’s supposedly independent advocacy groups that are in fact funded by the drug companies. Doctor groups in several states have also pushed back against any restrictions, arguing that the legislature should not tell them how to practice medicine.

The Cost

The daily statistics about prescription opioids and heroin in this country are staggering. 650,000 prescriptions for opioids are written each day. 3900 people begin using pills illicitly. 580 people start using heroin. But the worse stat: 78 people die. As the number of prescriptions quadrupled in the first decade of this century, so did the number of overdose deaths from opioids.

I began this series shortly after the death of Prince due to a prescription opioid overdose. Since the 1990s we’ve also lost Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cory Monteith from “Glee,” Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, and Chris Farley, among others. Since 1999, the number of deaths from overdoses has totaled 165,000. And it keeps going up.

But there are other costs beyond the deaths. The child in the picture I mentioned at the beginning of this post was abandoned by his mother, a drug user, when he was 8 days old. His great-grandparents were awarded custody, but when they could no longer care for a child, he moved in with his grandmother. She was, along with her boyfriend, the others in the picture. He’s now in the temporary custody of a great-aunt and uncle in another state. The destruction of addiction goes far beyond the addict, and it will be something our society will need to deal with for many years to come.


Additional Sources

Pfannenstiel, Brianne “As Opioid Epidemic Grows, Drug Makers Resist Restrictions” Des Moines Register, September 19, 2016

Park, Alice “A New Paradigm for Opioid Addiction: More Drugs” TIME, October 24, 2016

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No Hiding Place Part 5: Reverse Discrimination

When the Xalisco distributers moved into the US, they didn’t follow the classic route. They avoided slums. In Los Angeles they stayed away from the gang turf of East L.A., Compton, and Inglewood, and instead set up shop in the more suburban San Fernando Valley. Their next move was to Hawaii. They avoided major cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others – places that had substantial slums and a large gang population – and instead went to Albuquerque, Denver, Portland (OR), Indianapolis, Columbus (OH), and Nashville. Often they’d enter a market by finding methadone treatment centers.

Methadone was developed in Germany in the 1930s as a synthetic opiate and analgesic, and was introduced to the US in 1947. It’s not a cure for heroin addiction, but its long-lasting effects make it useful as a maintenance treatment for addicts so they can function in society. Since it’s administered in a liquid or pill form, there are not the dangers inherent in regular injections, including HIV infections. Methadone’s major selling point is it blocks the euphoric rush addicts receive with heroin or other opiates. On the down side, Methadone withdrawal is more severe than other opiates and can last between four and sixteen weeks. Some see Methadone treatment as simply extending rather than fixing the problem.

The clinics, though, did allow the Xalisco distributors to find junkies. They’d single out one or two and offer them special deals on their drugs if they introduced them to other junkies. They in effect became shills for the Xalisco dealers, handing out business cards so the junkies could call for fixes. If they had contacts in other towns, the dealers would arrange for them to go there and help expand the network.

This was completely different from how drugs had been distributed ever since they were outlawed in the early 20th Century. The drug dealers staked out territories in city slums, turf that they claimed and defended. It made sense, since those on the edges of society were less restrained by society’s rules. Things that were verboten in small-town America happened regularly in the slums, simply because the imperative to survive outweighed government-imposed mores. But there was more to it as well. From the beginning of the temperance movement, those who supported it viewed alcohol and narcotics as the root problem for all of society’s ills.

In their article “Alcohol Prohibition and Drug Prohibition: Lessons from Alcohol Policy for Drug Policy,” authors Harry G. Levine and Gary Reinarman wrote  “From the beginning, temperance ideology contained a powerful strand of fantasy. It held that alcohol was the major cause of nearly all social problems: unemployment, poverty, business failure, slums, insanity, crime, and violence (especially against women and children). For the very real social and economic problems of industrializing America, the anti-alcohol movement offered universal abstinence as the panacea.” It was a comforting vision that all the problems within slums could be laid at the feet of demon rum or, later, demon drugs rather than other societal causes.

Because of this, it was easy for politicians to rail against drugs and show how tough they were by enacting draconian laws. The influx of crack cocaine in the 1980s hit the young black population of the slums hard. Between 1984 and 1994, the homicide rate for black males ages 14-17 more than doubled, and among those 18-24 it was just slightly less of an increase. Along with that, fetal deaths, low birth weights, weapons arrests, and children in foster care increased just as sharply. Significantly, the homicide rate for black males 25 and older stayed flat, and there was no similar rise for whites. By the 1990s the crack epidemic had burned itself out and the statistics began dropping until they were less than what they’d been before crack arrived. However, at that time politicians caught on to what was happening and enacted laws such as the three-strikes rule for drug offenders. It mandated life in prison for a third drug offense, regardless of the severity of the charges. Some were sentenced to life for marijuana possession, and judges had no leeway to take mitigating factors into consideration.

The push for treatment of drug offenders rather than severe sentencing has begun to change the laws, and there is a movement for the elimination of three-strikes. Strangely enough, the change can be traced to the black tar epidemic and the prejudice of the Xalisco drug dealers.

They stayed away from slums and areas of gang activity because they were afraid they’d be ripped off. Instead they set up their networks in suburban areas, small cities, small towns, and throughout states that hadn’t had major drug use problems. The Xalisco black tar rolled east and north from LA, and along the way it merged with the spread of OxyContin that moved in the opposite direction.

This time, between prescription opiates and black tar heroin, the drug abuse cut across the socio-economic strata. It wasn’t just the low-income blacks that most politicians discounted from the get-go when it came to votes. Now it was soccer moms and college students and blue collar workers and businessmen who were caught up in the abuse – what many politicians considered their base voters.

And the scourge also touched their families and friends. On the campaign stump last year in New Hampshire, the often belligerent Chris Christie spoke with deep conviction and compassion when he explained to a town hall meeting why he was for treatment of addicts by telling the story of a law school friend of his who became addicted to pain killers. In 2014, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) devoted his whole State of the State address to the heroin problem.

But then, the painkiller and heroin epidemics began to hit home for the public in general as well-known people succumbed to their addictions.

The Next Installment: The Biology of the Price

Additional Sources

Levine, Harry G. and Reinarman, Gary  “Alcohol Prohibition and Drug Prohibition: Lessons from Alcohol Policy for Drug Policy” Amsterdam CEDRO 2004

Health Care Costs from Opiod Abuse: A State By State Analysis <>

Fryer Jr., Roland G, Heaton, Paul S., Levitt, Steven D., and Murphy, Kevin M.  “Measuring Crack Cocaine and its Impact” April 2006

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No Hiding Place, Part 4: The Pizza Method

The state of Nayarit could be called the North Dakota of Mexico: it’s not that easy to get to and there aren’t a lot of reasons to go there. The Mexican resort cities like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta are further south, it’s the least populace state in Mexico, and its major crop is sugar cane. Poverty is a constant, especially on the ranchos – the small villages on the outer edges of the cultivated areas. There’s an innate desire on the part of young men of the area to become successful. For them, that means building a large house, having a ranch with horses rather than a sugar cane farm, paying for a band to entertain at a festival. These are the concrete signs of prosperity.

In the state of Nayarit is the small town of Xalisco. With Spanish the X, like the J, is pronounced as H, so it sounds the same as the neighboring state Jalisco, but the resemblance ends there. The state of Jalisco has the prosperous city of Guadalajara as well as the resorts of Puerto Vallarta, while the town of Xalisco is a dusty farming community. But in the mountains outside of Xalisco the natives grow the opium poppy from which they make black tar heroin.

A Different World

If you did street interviews with passersby, asking them to describe heroin, most people would likely talk about images they’ve seen in movies: brick-like blocks of white powder imported from Southeast Asia that is then cut (diluted) with other white powders like confectioner’s sugar before its weighed and put in small glassine bags for sale on the streets. Or they might talk about the DEA’s news conferences where they parade large quantities of contraband that have been taken off the streets by their efforts. The bigger the haul, the bigger the news.

The world of black tar heroin is completely different. For one thing, its name is descriptive: this heroin is sticky and dark, nothing like the powdery China White variety of the drug. There’s also a huge difference in potency. China White will be cut by middlemen and dealers all along the distribution chain. When it reaches the street, the heroin has a 10th of its pure power left. Black tar, on the other hand, can’t be cut down easily. The refinement process takes away some of its potency, but it retains 60-80% of its pure power. Rather than buying a bag an inch square filled with the powder, black tar comes in doses of a tenth of a gram, rolled into a ball about the size of a BB and put in a small balloon for sale.

There have been drug trafficking families and cartels in Mexico for decades. In the 1970s and 80s, there was the Herrera clan that sold a brown powder heroin known as Mexican Mud. The Chicago police estimated the Herreras took about $60 million dollars of drug profits out of that town alone, and the Herreras were active in Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, and many other towns. Then there’s the Sinaloa Cartel, from the state just north of Nayarit. The Sinaloas were notable for their brazenness and their violence. The head of the Sinaloas, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has been in the news recently with his brazen escape from prison as well as his recapture. “El Chapo” sounds like a scary nickname, though it actually means “Shorty.”

Several young men in Xalisco in the late 1980s decided to emulate the Herreras and import black tar heroin from Nayarit to the United States to make their fortunes. They started in Los Angeles and jumped across to Hawaii where they had major success, and from there they crept eastward across the country until they were operating in every state. What separated the Xalisco boys from other distributors is their method, which completely rewrote the book and allowed heroin to flow into small town America.

Customer Service

They learned from those who went ahead of them. The DEA loved big busts but tended to ignore small operations. The Xalisco men applied supply-on-demand distribution to drugs. Rather than having a huge stockpile sitting around, ready to be raided by the Feds, they would import drugs as needed in small amounts. Their favorite way to get their supplies was to have the drugs stuffed into a small appliance like a toaster oven and shipped by UPS to the local distributor. It was years before the DEA realized the size and scope of the Xalisco operation.

The distributor would have an underling who received phone calls. When they entered a new city they’d get cell phones and print up business cards with the numbers. They’d search out methadone treatment centers and find a client there who’d be their introduction to the local drug addicts in exchange for a supply of heroin for themselves. The cards would be passed out, and orders would start coming in on the phones.

But the biggest innovation was how they got the drugs to their clients: they delivered. One of the most dangerous parts of heroin addiction was having to go into the worst parts of town to find dealers on the street corners. Addicts often had their drug money stolen before they could get their fix. With the Xalisco distribution, the operator at the other end of the line would schedule a meeting for the addict, usually in a public place like a strip mall, and say the driver would be there in a half hour. No more rip offs, no more danger.

The distributor treated it as a business, with discounts. If you bought your supply for the week, they might throw in the dope for Sunday for free. Each balloon would cost about $15.00 but they could offer seven or eight for $100.00. They’d also call the purchaser back to check if they were pleased with the service. If there was a problem, the distributor would try to resolve it. Without the fear factor involved, black tar heroin moved out amongst the general population. Where China White distribution was mostly limited to major cities, with black tar no town was too small to be touched by the drug.

In the classic drug distribution system, you had your turf and you’d fight off competitors. With the Xalisco system, there was no turf. You might have three or four different distributors working in a town. Instead of a single market, their business model was convenience stores. There was plenty of business for everyone. Also, since the distributors were all from the Xalisco area, they often knew each other. They’d even share product if one distributor ran short until a new supply came it.

At the street level there were plenty of young men in the Xalisco area who wanted to get into the business and would start as delivery men. The distributor would arrange for cars, often through a local client who didn’t mind registering vehicles in his name. They’d also find an apartment for their drivers to use and provide food, and they’d pay the drivers $1000-1200 a week to spend their days making deliveries. The drivers often couldn’t speak English and would have to communicate with clients through hand signals. Different from the normal image of illegal immigrants, the drivers had no desire to stay in the US. They wanted to make their money and then return to their village where they could display their new-found wealth.

When they drove, the men would keep their balloons of heroin in their mouths and have a bottle of water nearby. If they were pulled over by the police, they swallow the balloons – and away went the evidence. Even if they were caught, the small amounts of drugs they carried often meant that they were not prosecuted but simply turned over to ICE for deportation.

The drugs became a wave surging from west to east across the US. Strangely enough, though, they didn’t flood all areas.

Next: Part 5: Reverse Discrimination



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No Hiding Place Part 3: Small Town America, Small Town Mexico

In Chapter 11 of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Harper Lee presents a vile woman who torments Scout, Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. She lives with a servant who nurses her, and sits on her porch in her wheelchair when she’s able, swaddled in blankets, and spew out insults at passersby. After a fit of vandalism by Scout’s friend Jem, the children end up growing close to Mrs. Dubose. When she dies a short time later, Atticus explains to Scout that Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict and her insults came when she went through withdrawal. He explains Mrs. Dubose had real courage: “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

As discussed earlier, thanks to patent medicines addiction to opiates was widespread in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Small towns, large towns, it made no difference. The federal prohibitions on drugs left many addicts cut off from their supplies. Opiate abuse then went underground in big cities. The image of heroin abuse became the ghetto with strung-out addicts desperate for fixes who’d meet up with pushers on street corners. Movies and TV reflected this, from “The Man with the Golden Arm” to “Panic in Needle Park” to “The Wire.” Images of the overall drug trade were set with “The French Connection” through “American Gangster.” But what they all had in common was that the drug trade was an urban crime. Outside of the ghetto, it didn’t happen.

That changed, and it was pain medication that caused the change. About a hundred years after the last epidemic, opium came calling to small-town America again.

The extensive marketing of OxyContin created a multi-billion-dollar market for pain medication. Now opiates were the answer to bad knees or hurt backs or even tooth extractions. You didn’t need a pusher to get them; all you needed was a prescription and a pharmacy.

One warning sign of what was to come was when Worker’s Compensation administrators in several states began to have patients die. How could they be killed by cracked bones or pulled muscles? It took a while to realize the medicine meant to dim their pain was turning their lights off completely.

While the sales force for Oxy had trumpeted the false claim of a negligible addiction rate, the reality was making its mark. One of the worst areas hit was the Rust Belt of Ohio and West Virginia. It was there that the first pill mills sprung up in the 1990s. Some unscrupulous doctors realized with their license and a prescription pad they could make thousands of dollars a day. Addicts would line up outside the door and happily pay cash for the scrip. The doctor only saw their “patient” for a minute or two, for which they received a couple hundred dollars in cash, and then the pills were charged to their insurance. Eventually in some areas the pills became their own currency, with the size of the dosage equaling their dollar value. (The pill conveniently had the dosage side marked on them.) A 20 mg OxyContin pill equaled $20., while a 100 mg equaled $100. The pill factories were eventually shut down, but the expansion of the abuse went on.

A report by Matrix Global Investors LLC on the costs of opiate prescription addiction noted that there are an estimated 2.1 million people in the US addicted to prescription pain pills. During 2007, healthcare costs to deal with the abuse came to around $25 billion dollars, and if anything it’s gone up from there. The national average of opioid abuse rates for 2010-2011 was 4.6%, with the highest rate of 6.37% in Oregon. The other highest abuse states were Colorado (6%), Washington (5.75%), Idaho (5.73%), Indiana (5.68%), and Arizona (5.66%). One thing to consider with the $25 Billion dollar price tag – 95% of it is the cost of the drugs and excess medication. Only 5% was the actual treatment of the addiction.

The Gateway

Much has been made over the years about “gateway drugs” – ones that would lead to worse abuse. The drug that’s mostly been labeled that way is marijuana, going back to the “Reefer Madness” days of the 1930s. The lines have always been tenuous.

That changed with the opiate epidemic. OxyContin and other opiates created a taste for heroin and they often overcame people’s innate fear of needles. Addicts who used the pills discovered they could overcome OxyContin’s time-release properties by crushing the pills. The powder could be snorted to give the user the full euphoric hit of the drug immediately. It was a short step from there to dissolving the powdered drug in water and shooting it directly into s vein.

But the pills were expensive – the better to keep Big Pharma happy. According to the CDC, the majority of abusers actually got their pills for free from friends or relative, with doctor prescriptions, buying from a friend or a relative (or stealing from them) and other sources making up most of the supply. Less than 5% of the pills were purchased from a street dealer.

When supply of pills became a problem, addicts turned to heroin. While the lines of other drugs leading to heroin abuse might be questionable, there is no doubt how prescription opioids opened people to using heroin. Fully 80% of heroin addicts these days started on painkiller pills.

In a devastating synergy, at the same time opiates were creating addicts throughout America, a new model for supplying heroin moved into the country. It first landed in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, but from there is expanded rapidly throughout the rest of the country until it was in all 50 states.

The source of this heroin business was a small town in Mexico: Xalisco.

The Next Installment: The Pizza Method


Additional Sources

 Lee, Harper To Kill A Mockingbird  J.B. Lippencott 1960

Health Care Costs from Opioid Abuse: A State By State Analysis <>

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No Hiding Place Part II – The Marketing of Addiction

Once opioids found acceptance for pain management, several versions of the drugs were introduced. The premier brands were Demerol, Vicodin, and Percocet. Demerol is given by injection but the other two were prescription pills, made by blending hydrocodone or oxycodone (respectively) with acetaminophen. The abuse of Vicodin or Percocet was dangerous since acetaminophen can cause liver damage when overused which can lead to death. To extract it from the pills so you only got the opiates was a hard process.

Purdue Pharmaceutical had used oxycodone, a drug that mirrors heroin on the molecular level, in their first pain medication MS Contin in 1984. Twelve years later the company introduced OxyContin. By that time the prescribing of opiates had become common place. Purdue hired an advertising agency that had pioneered the marketing of drugs to help make Oxy the prescription choice for pain relief. While it didn’t rely on direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), this change to consumer-driven health management has had an effect on the expansion of opioids throughout America.

Across the board, advertising of drugs has expanded like a wildfire in the last 25 years. The amount spent by pharmaceutical companies went from $166 million in 1993 to over $4 billion in 2004. Congress had put through legislation allowing DTCA in 1997, and now in almost every commercial break you have some advertisement for some medicine that spends half of the commercial warning about side-effects but then tells you to ask your doctor if fill in the blank is right for you. There is a move by the American Medical Association to rescind this legislation. If you wonder why drug prices have risen so precipitously, figure in that about 40% of a drug company’s expenses now are for advertising. As stated, you don’t have DTCA of opioids (just for Linzess which helps with the main side-effect of opioids, constipation) but the consumerism inherent in DTCA is enshrined in the rating surveys by which doctors are judged. Pain management is part of it; if you want opioid pain medication and the doctor doesn’t provide it, the survey of his provision of care can be negative, and that has real world consequences for the doctor. So their impetus becomes give you what you want, even if there are major side-effects as well as the chance for addiction.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

In the marketing of OxyContin, the literature produced for doctors quoted a study that had appeared in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 1980, authored by Jane Porter and Hershel Jick, which found that of almost 12 thousand patients treated with opiates only 4 became addicted – less than one percent. The data suggested that it was safe to treat pain with opiates, and Purdue was more than happy to trumpet the study to justify using OxyContin.

There was a problem, however: this wasn’t a study, it was a one paragraph letter to the editor. Jick ran the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, which had been founded in the 1960s after the Thalidomide crisis. In response to a question, Dr. Jick had had Porter, a graduate student, pull raw information from the program’s database of over 300,000 cases. How many were treated with opiates, and of those cases how many developed an addiction that was noted in the records – that’s it. There were no details in regard to what was prescribed or how long. Jick thought the data might be interesting so he passed it along. He gave Porter the first place on the signature line since she’d dug out the data, so the letter became known as Porter/Jick.

Before the archives of the NEJM were computerized, it was a major undertaking to find old articles, so the publicists at Purdue Pharma could call the sixteen-year-old letter a study and no one could easily call them on that deception.

Full Court Press

Purdue Pharma got FDA approval for OxyContin in 1995, with the selling point that the company’s time-release formula could reduce the number of times a person had to take the drug and that it would dull the euphoria that was thought to drive people to addiction. The person in charge of the approval later left the FDA to work for Purdue. That claim became the lynchpin of the company’s marketing strategy, even though the warning label stated that if you crushed the tablets the time-release factor was destroyed. It basically told addicts how to abuse the drug.

While MS Contin was marketed as treatment for post-operational or cancer patients, Purdue sold OxyContin to doctors as a panacea pain relief. If patients were injured on the job or the sports field, if they had headaches or a bad tooth, then Oxy was the drug with which to treat them, and since there was a less than one percent chance of addiction and the time-release formula dulled the euphoria, then Oxy should be a long-term treatment option.

From 1995 to 2005, the number of sales reps for drug companies tripled to well over a hundred thousand. Purdue had enough reps for Oxy that doctors could get visits from different reps three times in a single day. But that was only part of the story. Another part was wining and dining. The company would underwrite Continuing Medical Education (CME) conferences at luxurious resorts and cover all the costs for doctors to attend – flight, room, food, everything. The company also funded the creation of foundations or supported existing ones that promoted the use of opiates. In five years (1997-2002) the prescriptions for Oxy for chronic pain multiplied by 10 to over 6 million scripts, with an additional million for cancer patients.

Thanks to the full-court press by the company, OxyContin became one of the first billion dollar drugs. In the 2000s, it grew to yearly sales of $3 Billion. But it also had a different cost involved: deaths from overdoses. And in a perfect storm scenario, the widespread addiction to opioid pain medicine paved the way for heroin to spread into small town America.

The LA Times published an article 2 days ago (May 5, 2016) with further information about Purdue and OxyContin. To read it click here.

Next: Small Town America, Small Town Mexico

Additional Sources

WebMD “Opioid Pain Medications”

The Milbank Quarterly “A History of Drug Advertising: The Evolving Roles of Consumers and Consumer Protection” Dec 2006

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No Hiding Place – The Opiate Epidemic in America

Note: For the manuscript I’m currently writing, I’ve been researching the heroin epidemic that has stretched into almost all corners of America. Then this week came news that the death of Prince may be linked to prescription opiates. I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned about this problem with a series of posts about how this came to pass. The factors are complex, but they combined to lead to a perfect storm of abuse, ruined lives, and deaths. First, some history…

 Part 1: The Holy Grail of Pain

In 1913, John D. Rockefeller established the Bureau of Social Hygiene (BSH) to promote research on that subject, particularly from a criminology standpoint. A BSH subcommittee in 1919 estimated that there were 100,000 addicts in the US, most of them addicted to cocaine. In 1929 the BSH rebranded itself as the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence. (They’ve had other name changes and exist today as the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.) Along with research into the subject and publishing information on addiction, there was a clinical arm of the CPDD that sought the holy grail of pain relief – a medicine that could kill pain but that wasn’t addictive.

Opium has been around almost as long as civilization. It’s mentioned in Sumerian writings from 2000 BCE for a plant called hul gil, the plant of Joy. Homer may have been referring to opium in The Odyssey when he mentions a drug that, when dissolved in wine and drunk, would rob grief and anger of their sting. It was used medicinally from the time of the Greeks on for all manner of disease and symptoms. A major change came in the 1500s with the introduction of Laudanum, a liquid form of morphine. By the 1800s, laudanum and straight opium were available at grocery stores in England, and in 1860 almost 300,000 lbs. of opium was imported, mostly from Turkey but also from India. The British East India Company was hugely involved in opium importation, and it led to the Opium Wars with China. China had outlawed opium importing, so the British went to war to force the Chinese government to allow them to sell Indian opium there. (Not the history you usually learn about in school.) In the US, many people grew the opium poppy in their gardens, including Thomas Jefferson.

The addictive nature of opium was known, and so there was a push to find a non-addictive version of the drug. Strangely enough, morphine, which was developed in the early 1800s, was viewed as non-addictive, especially when it was injected following the invention of the hypodermic syringe. Missionaries in China handed out what was known as “Jesus Opium” pills as a remedy for opium addiction; the pills were made of morphine. In the 1880s, the medical community embraced cocaine as a miracle cure, including a treatment for addiction. (Coca Cola, invented by Atlanta chemist John Pemberton, was originally a medicine.) In 1898, a former dye manufacturing company that moved into pharmaceuticals – by the name of Bayer – introduced Heroin as a cough medicine. The introduction was actually delayed so that Bayer could copyright the name throughout worldwide markets. The chemist who created it, Heinrich Dresser, promoted it while preventing the production of other promising pain relievers. One compound he rejected: acetylsalicyclic acid, now known as aspirin.

Temperance organizations not only campaigned against alcohol but also against drugs, and they were supported by missionary organizations that worked in China and wanted to see opiates outlawed. Their efforts led to the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. Interestingly, a major part of the selling of the act was steeped in racial prejudice, with warnings that blacks under the influence of drugs were killing whites, while degenerate Mexicans were smoking marijuana and Chinese men were using drugs to seduce white women. While Southern legislators were usually opposed to more federal power, the racial argument swayed them and they supported the act. So drugs passed from commonplace in America to hiding in back alleys apart from medical use.

The criminalization of narcotics, though, had a chilling effect on their use even by doctors. It was enough to ruin a doctor’s reputation if he regularly prescribed opiates. That began to change with a major shift in how pain was viewed. Where it was originally counted as a symptom of disease, there was a push beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s to view pain as something to be treated in and of itself. Pain clinics were started that preached a multi-discipline approach to relieving pain: counseling, exercise, and diet were components. But there was also a re-evaluation of opiate use. Why allow, say, a terminally ill patient go through agony when morphine could dull the pain. It eventually crept down to acceptance for treating chronic pain and then simply any pain.

The multi-discipline approach was successful, but it was also expensive. Eventually it was killed off by insurance companies who saw that pain could be treated cheaply simply by using drugs.

Next: The Marketing of Addiction


May, Everette & Jacobson, Arthur, “The Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence: A Legacy of the National Academy of Sciences. A Historial Account.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 23 (1989)

“How Asprin Turned Hero”  Sunday Times, 13 September 1998

McNamara, Joseph D “Commentary: Criminalization of Drug Use” Psychiatric Times September 2000

Quinones, Sam  Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic Bloomsbury Press 2015

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