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Dr. Anna Lembke is the chief of addiction medicine and an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also the author of the new book, Drug Dealer MD, which examines the layers of issues surrounding the prescription drug epidemic.
Dr. Lembke explains that the number of prescriptions for opioid prescription drugs quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. While attempting to better treat pain, the risk of overprescribing was underestimated, causing an epidemic involving a complex web of both patients and doctors.
Once addicted, the patient’s behavior is driven by a physiologic craving to use, causing them to go to great lengths to obtain the drug. Dr. Lembke describes several techniques that patients can use: