4 out of 4 stars
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The United States of Opioids by Harry Nelson is an in-depth look at what is quickly becoming one of the biggest killers in our country. Nelson's extensive background in healthcare law gives him an educated and unique look at the opioid epidemic from all sides that are affected. He opens with chilling facts of the climbing death rate in America due to overdoses. He uses personal examples from families who have lost loved ones as well as doctors who came to him seeking legal advice when they were undergoing investigation. He breaks down the three waves of opioid addiction in America: prescribed medication, black market, and the creation and distribution of fentanyl. Nelson not only goes into the history of opioid use but discusses the underlying causes of its escalation. Most importantly, he delves into alternative methods and potential solutions to combat the climbing overdose death rate in the United States.
This book is packed full of information and insight. My favorite aspect was his focus on the future and discussion of how to improve treatment. He did an excellent job researching and presenting the pros and cons of solutions, like medicated-assisted treatments as well as alternative non-medicated approaches. Nelson also addressed the fact that there needs to be a shift in treatment that focuses on prevention rather than reaction. His points regarding the destigmatization of addiction are enlightening for the reader.
The legislation and history of amendments on opioid prescription and use in America was a bit dry to read. However, I understand this section was imperative as building blocks to see exactly how we got to the point we're at now and the roadblocks healthcare and the government face to improve our current situation.
I rate The United States of Opioids a 4 out of 4. It's clearly well-researched and written by a leading authority in the subject. He provides facts, personal testimonies, and opinions from both sides of the discussion. Nelson did an excellent job of giving you the whole picture rather than one biased viewpoint. He laid out the problem and possible causes clear and concise. He kept the reader engaged and explained why addiction in America is an important subject we all must face, not just those who feel personally affected. He focused on the solution not as an abstract thought, but detailed steps that we can all take at an individual level to turn the tides of overdose deaths in America.
This book should be required reading for anyone entering the healthcare field. I also think it would be an ideal read for law enforcement and first responders. This book is beneficial to anyone who knows someone who deals with addiction which, judging by the statistics, is pretty much everyone. I would be cautious to recommend this book for people facing addiction themselves simply because there are lots of details and references about different types of drug and their use. It has the potential to make them crave the very thing they're trying to steer clear of.
This book is edited immaculately! I noticed only 3 possible errors in the whole book. The first was in the foreword from Lisa Marie Presley on the bottom of page xiv, I believe she meant "not" instead of "now". On page 162, Nelson says "cropped up" and I think he meant "popped up". And I'm not entirely sure, but on page 163 Nelson says "the organization I chair" which is a bit confusing and a possible typo. Other than that it was perfection!
The United States of Opioids
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