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Sociology Colloquium, 9/28/2022

Spirit of Capitalism in Medicine: What Drives Opioid Epidemics in the U.S.?

Megumi Tanabe ColloquiumMegumi Tanabe, Texas A&M University

Opioid overdose is a persistent public health problem in the US, which killed over 68,000 in 2020. The first wave of the opioid epidemic began “pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates” (HHS, 2021). The US experienced the second wave of crisis in 2010 with the rise in the overuse of heroin, and the third wave in 2013 with the overuse of synthetic opioids. Recent research tends to focus on the social determinants of the opioid crisis, or the people’s “misuse” of the drugs. Although this topic has been gaining more and more attention, I argue that the root cause of the problem has been overlooked: the relationship between money and opioid dispensing by medical professionals. In this talk, I will go over how important it is to look at not only the user end of opioids but also the provider’s characteristics in regard to this social issue.

September 28, 2022
Wednesday, 12:00pm
Location: Liberal Arts Social Sciences Building (LASB) 317