'American Pain' author to speak at January’s Connect with Clay

Jan. 28, noon, HSC room 1909, book signing immediately following

Thursday, January 7, 2016

As the painkiller epidemic rose in the United States, John Temple wanted to uncover why. After reading an article about the country’s largest and deadliest pill mill, he began to research the industry and the resulting drug addiction epidemic.

American Pain Clinic was the king of the Florida pill mills. From 2008-2010, the clinic’s physicians distributed massive quantities of oxycodone to addicts posing as patients—giving rise to a new drug industry that tipped the current opioid crisis. Temple chronicles the rise and fall of this game-changing pill mill in his latest book, “American Pain: How a Young Felon and his Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic.”

Temple, associate professor in West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media and author of “American Pain”, will join WVU Health Sciences vice president and executive Dean, Clay Marsh, M.D., in January’s Connect with Clay to discuss the painkiller epidemic and what is being done in West Virginia to combat the addiction problem.

Connect with Clay, Dr. Marsh’s monthly public forum where participants bring their lunch and questions, will be held at noon on January 28 in Health Sciences room 1909. This event is free and open to the public with a book signing immediately following the discussion. WVU Health Sciences Bookstore staff will be on site selling copies of the book.

The book tells the true story of twin brothers Chris and Jeff George, who ran an illegal painkiller distribution scheme through a Florida-based chain of pain clinics. The clinic’s physicians distributed massive quantities of oxycodone to addicts posing as patients—giving rise to a new drug industry that tipped the current opioid crisis.

Temple says it’s important to have this public conversation about painkillers because so many West Virginians have been affected by prescription drug abuse.

“There’s not a person in Appalachia who hasn’t been affected by the painkiller epidemic in some way,” said Temple. “I’m hoping this event and my book will help educate the public about the deadly effects of opioids. Just because these drugs are prescribed by a doctor doesn’t mean they’re safe.”

Publishers Weekly named the book a "Big Indie Book of fall 2015" and the New York Post named American Pain as one of its “Favorite Books of 2015.” Temple is the author of two previous nonfiction books: “The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates” (2009) and “Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office” (2005). In 2010, “The Last Lawyer” won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. More information about Temple’s books can be found atwww.johntemplebooks.com.

In fall 2008, Temple founded the “West Virginia Uncovered” project. In the project, students and faculty provide multimedia training and content for small rural newspapers around the state. The McCormick Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Ford Foundation have all supported the project.

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-WVU-