What is the difference between pharmaceuticals and drugs? Often it’s the type of person selling one or the other and the type of person consuming the product. Patients who have become addicted to that which their doctor has prescribed generally have been viewed as innocent victims, while those who develop a similar habit outside of a doctor’s care are labeled junkies and addicts. Our society has often made a dinstinction without a difference between licit and illicit drugs. And that artifice has defined our drug policy for well over a century. In his eye opening book, ‘White Market Drugs’, historian David Herzberg explains the impact of the ‘medicine’drug divide’ and how this misguided approach has allowed bad practices by some and imprisoned others wrongly. Historically, because of the influence of big pharma, doctors and wholesalers, as a society, we have played down the addictive potential of prescribed drugs. Herzberg recognizes the value that many of these prescribed drugs have but he would like to maximize their benefits and limit their harmful effects by a consumer protection approach to drug policy and by offering a way to curb the appetite for outrageous profits in the industry, which drives much of the problem. He also approaches the street drug issue with a medicalized, rather than, a punitive approach. This podcast will make you think differently about the issues surrounding America’s standing as the largest consumer of prescription and non-prescription drugs in the world.
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