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tv   2021 National Book Festival Call-in with Eric Eyre Death in Mud Lick  CSPAN  November 9, 2021 4:25pm-4:56pm EST

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the state attorneys general who pushed really hard to extract from perdue, i think they were driven in part, the once really honest and out there and driving the story, and contact with community groups, they had seen and away it played out in their own communities and had seen outrage and there should be accountability here so i don't knowow that i can ever be enough but i think that level of engagement makes a difference. >> unfortunately, we are out of time. thank you to all of you watching and thank you to our extraordinary authors patrick keefe, eric iyer, they are
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terrific, important books. enjoy the netet rest of the national book festival. >> you are watching book tvs coverage of this year's national book festival. you just saw a panel of authors talking about the opioid e epidemic and now on your screen is one of those two authors, eric eyre, death and monthly countries fight against the drug companies that deliver the opioid d epidemic. if you'dwe like to call in and participate in this conversation from what you've heard in the last half-hour 20 suit to 8400. (202)748-8201 for those of youou in the mountain and pacific time zones. we set aside a third line protects only, include your first name and city.
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2027488903 is the text message number and we went like to hear from you if you've had involvement in the opioidnv epidemic at some level so eric, how unique is much like west virginia and what happened to it? >> it's a really small community, there's about 30 residents who live there. to show you how small it is, it took me a while to figure out how to spell itho, i'd heard mud lick is one m word or two words and i had to call the sheriff's office to figure out how to spell it. two words but don't worry, there's only 30 people who live there and they are not going to read your book. it's a typical hollow in west virginia between the mountains
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along the creek, that's where the overdose started the whole book, overdose on oxycontin. very small and rural. >> at what time did 12 million oxycontin pills arriving in a town of 30 residents raise or revert? >> it really raised alert, we had to go to court to unseal some documents, there is a modified complaint filed in circuit court against disturbed us, west virginia versus drug distributive us and these are companies that shipped opioids from factories like purdue pharma to pharmacies so we went to court, the whole case was
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argued under seal hidden away from the public and when we ultimately prevailed in court, we started seeing gargantuan numbers, how is it possible in three years the community near but click could absorb or have use for 12 million opioids? it wasn't possible. what was happening, people were driving from all over, from kentucky, from ohio, north carolina, even as far away as florida from, mostly hydrocortisone but also oxycontin as well. >> how many people got temporarily lift from this? >> there were a number of doctors and pharmacists. the pharmacist here in a town of 387 people, he was making close
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to $7 million a year out of tiny pharmacy. it's not the size of a right aid or walgreens, these are shoeboxes pharmacies but he's raking in close to 7 million a year. other pharmacists were in the same boat and cash only mills run by doctors were also making millions asan well. >> are these promises and doctors in prison now? 's. >> many have already served time. not all but many have served time. in the case of the current pharmacist, prosecutors requested he only serve probation but the judge in the case overruled the prosecutors and gave him six months in prison but believe it or not,
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some of the stuff that happened eight years ago, they are still pursuing some of the pharmacist. they still have charges pending in federal court where this went on close to a decade ago. >> eric eyre, pulitzer prize for investigative reporting for his work and investigating the opioid epidemic in west virginia. he's a reporter with the charleston and the author of this book death in mud lick, a cold country fight against drug companies delivering the opioid epidemic. now to your calls. john in arkansas, go ahead with your question ore comment. >> is there a reason why the large pharmacy chains like walmart, cvs, walgreens and so on were not so much involved in this matter?
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>> that's a great question. we didn't see that in west virginia. as a matter of fact, larger pharmacies and walmarts in kroger and supermarket chains here and right aid in cbs, for the most part, did a pretty good job of policing thise and cuttig off people obviously bring in bogus prescriptions but it doesn't seem to be the case nationwide. there's currently, there's a trial that started earlier this week in ohio where the plaintiff, the cities and towns across thehe country part of ths consolidated mdl in cleveland where cases have been consolidated, they are going toe to toe with the pharmacy chain right now saying they contributed to the opioid epidemic but in west virginia, i
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have to say you'd have this situation where you have an independent family-owned pharmacy w disturbing 30,000 pis or hydrocodone pills for months and down the street two blocks away there would be a walgreens disturbing like 1000 oxycontin or hydrocodone so very different but my guess is they left after the independent and chain pharmacies talking about chain pharmacies have a lot more money and a lot more at stake. >> hydrocodone and oxycontin still being manufactured for those who have real needs of
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them? >> yes, they are still being manufactured their numbers have been driven down considerably, probably half the amount it was a decade ago. there's a lot of education going on, a lot of legislation in the proliferation of oxycontin and hydrocodone but yes, they are still available for being prescribed. >> andrew and oklahoma, you are on book tv, we are talking about the opioid epidemic. >> yes, sir. pertaining to what he just said, i've been through several states during the time i was taking that, my question is even though legally in the case -- not make
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any more clear if the fda was told to tell doctors a certain thing, and addiction and starting to's medication in 92 for me in the long run, the addictions in my life using it not just for pain working with people every day, think patients way about their weight and continuous pain but also the things you losing your life taking the medication year in and year out that changes your personality and you can't ever get that back. >> how long were you taking oxycontin and how did you get started? >> back in 92 after working in the oil fields and certain jobs,
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i brought in family members, i had back problems and i got started and i didn't see it wrong, my doctor would give me 120 because sometimes i would be out of my home state for several months and therefore i did pick it up from several pharmacies, the ones you're talking about but i never realized how deep i was getting into addiction and addiction personality because when i retired, i foundso out i was also adhd. there are so many things that came into play that you blame yourself for all of it. >> very quickly, were you able to get off the pills? was that process like and did you end up having to sell? >> i got into some treatment plans but that's also jumping
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your start and you also have to be weaned off of that and they just give you something else you have to pay more money for with a different drug you asked how long, 92 -- 2020, almost my whole life. >> eric, what did you hear and that? >> first off, congratulations for being in recover, i know it's very difficult. it can take at least a decade before they recover. i agree with you. ryeverybody who has substance abuse disorder, opioid abuse disorder, the one thing i hear from everybody it hijacks your brain. you are not the same person and it affects everybody around you,
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the family, it's created a foster care crisis here because parents of children have passed on from grandparents losing children, it's another big issue such a very tough thing and your see you are congratulated and there are ways to combat this, call it a disease and you mentioned -- and i have heard that they just give you another drug but the programs i find most successful, combined with group therapy, individualized therapy, counseling, when you combine the two, it's more successful in blocking and in
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getting suboxone. >> we are talking with eric eyre, a cold country fight against the drug companies that deliver the opioid epidemic. he won the pulitzer prize for his work. gazette mail for his work looking in to the opioid epidemic. if you live in the mountain and pacific time zone, we set aside a third line or text messages only include your first name and your city. 2027488903. mary, good afternoon. >> good afternoon, thank you. as a social worker, medical
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social worker and pastoral minister and chaplain at hospitals, i see this all the time. my question to you, at a local level, would it be smarter to pay attention to mayors, the base level of working to get our message for the situation which has to be a horrific mess in all of this. >> how widespread have you seen this issue in michigan? >> it's at every economic level. of course covid has taken a bigger toll and we've done work bringing information to the people on the street know how to
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use the american but it's a crapshoot in that sense. >> how readily available are these? >> hard to tell. our homeless situation is getting i worse. >> thank you, ma'am. eric? >> first of all, the addiction epidemic has shifted from its more of the number one killer is illegal by internal or car fentanyl combined usually with methamphetamine, the pill problem i think dropped to about 25% of overdosell deaths in the country but what mary said about the impact of covid on the
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opioid crisis is exactly right. last year 2020 we saw in west virginia and nationwide, i think it 34% increase in drug overdose deaths, 50% increase to set an all-time high for drug overdose deaths in 2020, in particular the months of may, june, july 2020 were off the charts. i think we w are getting close w to 1300 total overdose deaths in 2020. the good news is they have been able to reduce the numbers in 2021, they are down significantly. this is a pattern we seen, a decrease in drug overdose deaths two years prior to the pandemic so that is a good sign.
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there are some great models out there. narcan, putting that in the hands of everybody, you can just go, it's a little expensive, you can buy it at any pharmacy or go to your local health department and get it free. with that in an increase in harm reduction program, they have special programs in these overdoses, they sent social workers to the house, at the forefront of that in the epicenter of the opioid epidemic so there are some positive signs and as mentioned earlier, legislation has passed you don't wind up with somebody getting a tooth pulled in getting 300 doses of oxycontin or hydrocodone but it's an ongoing
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problem, the solution seems to be harm reduction programs that get people into counseling and get them on but unfortunately, the cities at least here in west virginia, we have legislation passed when i say pump reduction, it's an exchange program, they put roles together and we are seeing exchange programs closing down and that's unfortunate but again, the good news is it seems to be trending downward in terms of the drug overdose deaths. >> forest hills, new york. good afternoon, you're on with author eric eyre. >> it's an honor to be on the program. i work in the health field as well, queens new york no
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personal experience but i am curious, we've been hearing about joe manchin so much in the news and i've seen the west virginia governor on tv recently, what role did the governor and senator's play in trying to help or not help in this situation? >> before he couldn't answer, in what capacity do you work in the healthcare? >> i am an rn. i've been working lately undisclosed but i worked e in hospitals in the past but mostly in the public schools and private schools. >> have you seen the opioid epidemic in queens, new york? >> not really, i'll be honest. i have a 22-year-old, i am a divorced dad, he's been talking to me a tremendous amount, he lives in the village for a while, you could buy almost anything in the streets b so no personalo experience but i find the program helping.
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>> back to his question about the politician. >> joe manchin, he's the man of the hour right now with christensen about in arizona. joe manchin, i have to say has done a pretty good job on the heopioid front. there is a new opioid development and it's very strong, still available today. my mom prescribed it, it made her feel awful. i told her to stop but also, he was instrumental in getting hydrocodone to different class, a more restrictive class of drugs, limiting to prescriptions you have, you have to go back to the doctor and it moved from this schedule, the same restrictions on oxycontin and he was an adamant supporter ofn
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that.. overall, he's done a decent job. we've got this infrastructure bill, the talk on the airways but he's always been a strong advocate for anything related to curbing substance abuse orders disorders and bring money to state for treatment. >> i want to go back to mary in michigan where she said she's seeing along all socioeconomic lines top to bottom. i think it was mary. >> yeah, there's been here in west h virginia, we all know somebody who died of a drug overdose and that means kids of
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doctors, kids of mayors, kids of lawyers down to people who aren't as fortunate. it doesn't, sometimes within one family you can have multiple people die to a drug overdose. it can be a sister and her brother, a mother and a son, it's so pervasive. >> kathy in georgia, go ahead. >> good afternoon. g i have a question and a comment. my comment, i totally empathize
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every person who have dealt with addiction, i have it in my immediate family, more than one but the people like me who have chronic illnesses who are never have it go away from i go to a hospital pain specialist for ten plus years in very scrutinized. in the past year, i use a fentanyl patch and breakthrough pain i have oxycodone tabs. now i've seen my dosage brought down from 100 milligrams hundred 25 and i have problems walking without pain, i can't even sleep without pain so it's like the people who have true chronic pain have been sent to hell in a handbasket and we have no recourse. i agree with legislation, everything you have, i just don't like it with people true
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pain get ostracized and my question would be, what are we to do? >> would you consider yourself addicted to these prescribed painkillers?se >> psychologically, no. i went foryc many years and made it through the pain but degenerative diseases have gotten so bad, it's almost impossible. what i like to not have to take any? absolutely but then i am just totally bedbound. >> thank you for sharing your story with us. >> there's a lot of talk about that. my suggestion would be to ask your doctor about alternatives. first off, nobody is saying for something like n cancer treatmes that somebody shouldn't be given in opioid. chronic pain is a difficult
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situation. they're trying to push people with these alternatives with ibuprofenke or tylenol or topic, which it sounds like legal fentanyl patch, make sure everybody knows that. some sort of topical solution of lidocaine, there's different alternatives, different drugs dependingnt on what type of pai, whether it back pain for fibromyalgia among different solutions and organizations for physicians for responsible for opioid prescriptions, they tried to help doctors find different solutions for opioids. the problem like oxycontin is
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over time you have to increase theov relief, the dosages over d over again and then you may find yourself addicted. not everybody of course comes addicted but many do. i will look at alternatives like acupuncture, massage and check out theirir website. they have a complete list and the points they make depending on kind of pain, the medicine that or, type of pain. >> robert in california, we have one minute left. go ahead. >> good afternoon. i think the so-called opioid
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epidemic represented, individuals have responsibilities talk about adults, not talking about children even though there are children who wind up becoming addicted, as far as the sackler family is concerned, i would look at the architecture of their finances, there may be some racketeering involved but i don't see how they could be responsible for the opioid epidemic. >> eric, last words. >> it's widely believed the sackler's and purdue pharma whether trigger that started off the opioid epidemic. i don't know what happened inn california but here in west virginia we have hundreds, if not thousands descended on our estate. purdue pharma and convinced or persuaded doctors to start persuading oxycontin and it's created one of the biggest health crisis in west virginia history in u.s. history.
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that's all i'm going to say about that. >> eric eyre, a fight against the drug companies that deliver the opioid m epidemic. he's been our guest on book tv. thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me on, appreciate it. >> you are watching book tv, this is our coverage of this year's national book festival. coverage continues right here. >> with the senate out of session, join us this week for book tv. today, the book festival, we will hear from marcia chaplin on her books franchise. then former tennessee governor at the southern festival of books on his relief, and a national book festival, death and mud like. quote country fight against the drug company that deliver the
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