Books et al.Medicine

The ethics of opioids

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Science  19 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6450, pp. 228
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax8555

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Summary

Imagine having your foot pinned between a moving van and a motorcycle and subsequently undergoing five surgeries to restore function to your mangled limb over a 1-month period. In order to endure the debilitating pain, you are prescribed high doses of opioid analgesics, only to discover that your care team has no exit strategy. Feeling abandoned by the medical establishment, you decide to subject yourself to a process of aggressive self-tapering and subsequently experience a gruesome withdrawal. Travis Rieder tells such a story—his story—in his new book, In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids. As an academic bioethicist, Rieder provides a philosophical lens to his lived experiences.

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