|About the Book|
Prescription pain medications kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, and in a pill-happy culture, the trend shows few signs of reversing.In The Devil in the Medicine Cabinet, InvestigateWest’s Carol Smith reveals how aggressiveMorePrescription pain medications kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, and in a pill-happy culture, the trend shows few signs of reversing.In The Devil in the Medicine Cabinet, InvestigateWest’s Carol Smith reveals how aggressive marketing and sales of pharmaceuticals drove a culture of overprescription in her home state of Washington, which has been at the epicenter of the epidemic. The state’s residents are among the highest consumers of prescription pain meds in the country. They are also dying from prescription overdoses at a rate of two people a day, one of the highest rates in the nation – more than are killed in auto accidents. Yet even lawmakers, who in 2011 enacted the strictest prescribing laws in the country, were at a loss to explain why the problem was so bad in this state.Smith’s reporting calls out the hidden influence of Big Pharma companies on prescribing practices in the state and identifies key loopholes in the systems that were supposed to protect patients.Her package of stories for InvestigateWest—plus a KCTS Television documentary based on her reporting—resulted in a surge of calls to local agencies by people seeking treatment for themselves or help for family members. Lawmakers used it to help shut down renewed efforts by drug companies to weaken elements of the state’s new hard-line prescription law. And more than 80 percent of doctors and hospitals in the state have since signed up to participate in both an emergency room information sharing program and the state’s new prescription monitoring database that will let them better track patients who go doctor-shopping for drugs.This special Kindle edition of The Devil in the Medicine Cabinet includes a moving memoir of a friend’s addiction in college by writer Stephanie Schendel, plus personal interviews with survivors of addiction and family members of those whom it killed recorded for the KCTS Television documentary.