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Prescription for Pain by Philip Eil
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Prescription for Pain

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Prescription for Pain by Philip Eil
Hardcover $29.95
Apr 09, 2024 | ISBN 9781586423827

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    Apr 09, 2024 | ISBN 9781586423827

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“A riveting true-crime page-turner.” The Columbus Dispatch

“Belongs alongside Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain and Beth Macy’s Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America as the must-read tales about a man-made crisis.” — The Boston Globe

“Eil joins the ranks of investigative journalists like Sam Quinones (Dreamland), Patrick Radden Keefe (Empire of Pain) and Beth Macy (Dopesick), adding a crucial piece of the puzzle to understanding an epidemic that continues to arrest the nation.”BookPage

“After discovering his father’s one-degree-of-separation from Dr, Paul Volkman — the infamous ‘Pill Mill Killer’ sentenced to four consecutive life terms for his leading role in the country’s deadly opioid epidemic — journalist Phil Eil plunged into an investigation of the sensational case. The result is this eye-opening, immensely readable work of first-person reportage. Told at a galloping pace, his book not only takes the reader inside the seamy but highly lucrative world of cash-on-the-barrelhead painkiller prescribers but explores the mindset of a once-promising physician who — even while persuading himself that he was relieving his patients of suffering — turned himself into a dispenser of death.” — Harold Schechter, author of The Serial Killer Files

Prescription for Pain offers an intimate exploration into the life and mindset of one of the nation’s most prolific opioid prescribers. Like a painkiller-epidemic version of Walter White, a long list of resentments drives Dr. Paul Volkman, including beefs with his family, former bosses, malpractice lawyers, and his more-accomplished med-school classmates. Employing crisp and bracing language, author Philip Eil’s book draws upon voluminous research and years of interviews and correspondence with Volkman and many others. Eil bends over backward to give Volkman his say, but the resulting portrait is no less damning for it.” John Temple, author of American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic

“Eil’s impeccable investigative skills and unshakeable integrity anchor the reader through this haunting account of a seminal pill mill case. Subtle and immersive, Prescription for Pain does not shy away from the disintegration of Dr. Volkman’s humanity; nevertheless, Eil succeeds in capturing the flickers of life, love, and hope left in Volkman’s wake.” Charlotte Bismuth, author of Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher.

“A feat of reporting and empathy, Eil unravels a mystery: how did a once-promising physician end up a convicted killer? Prescription for Pain is the best of what true crime can be: attempting to understand violence while centering victims and impact. Comprehensive and impressively researched, Prescription for Pain untangles with a fine-tooth comb the devastation that descended upon Portsmouth, Ohio at the hands of Dr. Volkman. A profound achievement and important contribution to the literature of the opioid epidemic.” — Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud

Prescription for Pain is true crime at its finest: a genre-expanding, ethical, and rigorous examination of criminality and unintended murder which enlarges our understanding of American despair. This deeply-researched narrative transforms the sprawling story of one corrupt and delusional doctor into a compelling read that grapples with issues of the limits of medical responsibility, the duty of care, and the ‘problem from hell’ that is drug addiction. Resisting the urge to diagnose or categorize Paul Volkman as just another narcissist or sociopath, Eil instead allows Volkman himself to show the reader who he really is: a dangerous and extremely powerful man who defies easy description.” — Jean Murley, author of The Rise of True Crime: 20th-Century Murder and American Popular Culture

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