Managing partner Harry Nelson was interviewed by JoAnn Hathaway and Tish Vincent of the State Bar of Michigan: On Balance Podcast about the opioid crisis and his book, “The United States of Opioids: A Prescription For Liberating A Nation In Pain.” They discuss the needs for reform in healthcare laws and greater access to treatment for opioid addictions.

From the podcast:

Tish Vincent: Harry, can you clarify exactly what the nature of the crisis is; is it pharmaceutical company greed, doctors over-prescribing– what is the central problem at the heart of the crisis?

Harry Nelson: So, when we talk about the Opioid Crisis the problems that most people are referring to is over the last 20 years, since the very late 90s, we have seen a quadrupling of the overdose death rate from opioids. Many people link it to the overprescribing of Oxycontin which was heavily marketed by Purdue Pharma along with other opioid medications.

That’s the part of the crisis that drives the headlines, the death rate, from all drug overdoses– 72,000 in 2017 with 2/3 being [from] opioids. The other parts of the crisis are a profound rise in the level of addictions in this country– Roughly 20 million Americans with a substance-use disorder, again two-thirds opioids.

There’s a challenge in how physicians prescribe but there are many, many more points of system failure where we have to ask, “What was the role of government agencies in inadequately policing and responding to the crisis?”

“What was the role of healthcare payers?” –insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers [were] kind-of “turning a blind eye” to the way that these medications were causing such enormous problems in this country and looking more broadly at a whole host of problems in our culture that really made America so ripe for this terrible crisis.

Pre-Order The United States of Opioids: A Prescription For Liberating A Nation In Pain today at

Listen to the full podcast: