Healthy Living Magazine‘s Lauren Sindel interviewed Co-Managing Partner Harry Nelson regarding his book, The United States of Opioids: A Prescription for Liberating a Nation in Pain.
From the article:
HealthyLivinG: You say we are all affected by the opioid crisis. What would you say to somebody who doesn’t believe this book applies to them?
Harry Nelson: When you look at data, the crisis has four distinct strands. The the first strand is that we’ve lost 2 million family members and friends to this crisis. Then there’s the strand of all the people suffering with addiction: that’s 20 million in the United States alone. The third strand we talk about the least – people in chronic pain.
That’s around 50 million people with limitation in their activity in their life. Finally the fourth strand – all the people at risk. For anyone who thinks this book does not apply to them, I would say they haven’t discovered yet how close the crisis is to them.
HealthyLivinG: Why do you think you are personally affected by this crisis?
Harry Nelson: When Michael Jackson died of a drug overdose, I got a call from his doctor. He was in a panic because he’d prescribed painkillers to him under the name of Peter Pan and various other names. He was so frightened. I tried to calm him down and that it was going to be okay. A few days later, he overdosed. He’d taken his own life with a lethal dose of opioids.
It was a death that touched me greatly and I still feel guilty about it now. I kept thinking maybe I could have intervened, stopped it from happening. That was definitely a moment that affected me deeply. As time goes on, I’ve lost friends and known co-workers who lost friends and family members to opioid overdose. I’ve watched children from the age of 13 cycle through addiction. If we take a look at ourselves, we are all vulnerable. We need to make a safer space for people to talk to us.