Airs Thursday, June 21, 2018, at 6 p.m. America is hooked on opioids by one count, there are currently more opioid prescriptions than people in the southeastern United States. This week were taking a deep dive into the causes of the opioid crisis. Author Sam Quinones chronicles how the sophisticated marketing of prescription opioids and an enterprising group of heroin traffickers combined to create the epidemic that's now a leading cause of American deaths. Plus: Anesthesiologist Greg Smith poured over the electronic records of more than 100,000 surgical cases and made a startling discovery--that pain scores for patients improved as doctors used fewer opioids during surgery.
Later in the show: Dr. Omar Abubaker, like other oral surgeons, routinely prescribed opioid painkillers for his patients after wisdom teeth extractions. He changed that practice after his youngest son died suddenly in 2014 from a drug overdose. Adam had become addicted to opioids after minor surgery. Plus: Dr. Greg Moeller is writing new curriculum to teach the next generation of medical students more responsible pain management. And: One of the side effects of the opioid epidemic is a resurgence in diseases like Hepatitis B and C and HIV. Dr. Sue Cantrell says rural nurses are on the front lines of the injection-drug crisis, working with addicts to stop the spread of disease.