We’re Overdosed

Barry I. Gold

Publisher: Central Park South Publishing Pages: 246 Price: (paperback) $19.95 ISBN: 9781956452204 Reviewed: April, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Barry I. Gold examines the causes of the opioid crises and suggests resolutions in his book, We’re Overdosed, taking aim at Big Pharma, but also citing society’s attitude in general— a view that often sees the addicted as pariahs rather than patients requiring care.

Part scientific study, part sociological analysis, this work delves into the history of opioids and how their use morphed from legitimate pain management to enabling an addiction crisis. He notes, for example, that fentanyl was originally a useful short-term anesthetic, but when drug dealers discovered its street value, given its extreme potency and ability to be smuggled compactly, it grew in availability.

He also theorizes that opioid abuse in some blue-collar areas might be attributed to necessity: Faced with the possibility of losing work time due to injury, a person might opt for seeking legal, then eventually illegal, drugs to remain on the job.

Gold rounds out his thesis with specific recommendations on how to alleviate the crisis, encouraging readers to actively help those addicted, rather than adopting the attitude that “you got yourself into this, now get yourself out.” His recommendations include increasing instruction on the use of Narcan (naloxone) to aid in cases of opioid overdose and having readers demand more mitigation and education by governmental agencies.

Gold’s passion for the topic is highly evident, and he avoids tilting the scales too heavily against the pharmaceutical industry, as might be tempting given recent highly publicized litigation.

Unfortunately, as a reference work, the book suffers from stylistic errors. It lacks sufficient chapter breaks and a table of contents. In addition, although Gold mentions a multiplicity of sources, he doesn’t provide a full citation in each instance or a complete bibliography. Also, the author’s plentiful anecdotes often feel more like asides, seriously impeding the narrative flow.

Readers willing to verify the book’s sources on their own and overlook the unnecessary narrative distractions, however, will find valuable information in these pages.

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