Book Review

EMPIRE OF PAIN by Patrick Radden Keefe

Rating: 5 / 5

When I needed a nonfiction / current events read for #bookoplathon, I asked for suggestions. EMPIRE OF PAIN was the one that came with the most recommendations. I had seen some stellar reviews for this book from trusted sources, so I immediately downloaded the audiobook for it and requested a hard copy from the library.

EMPIRE OF PAIN is subtitled The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. The Sackler family is one known for wealth and for generous donations to large institutions of education and art which have added their names to many walls. What wasn’t as well known was the family’s history behind the production and marketing of OxyContin, a drug that significantly fueled the opioid crisis.

Working with people with mental health and addition issues, I did have some interest in this subject to start with. Having also heard from trusted sources that this was a great and engaging read also had me going in with somewhat high hopes. Still, I didn’t expect to be as sucked into the story of the Sackler family as I was. The author does a fantastic job of laying out the history of the family’s willful impact on opioid use and addiction while keeping it an engaging and approachable read.

One thing I found very interesting in reading this was the discussion of pharmaceutical marketing. So much money and time goes into marketing drugs to doctors, often done by people who really don’t know the science behind what they are marketing. Marketing to doctors who will abuse their ability to dose individuals leads to additions, but it all also leads back to more profits for the drug company itself.

I highly recommend the audio for this book as it is very well done! I really thought this would be a slow and steady read throughout the month, but it was one I kept finding excuses to switch back to audio to keep listening.

This book will make you mad, knowing how many places along the way the company behind OxyContin could have made different decisions that would have saved countless lives. It is a sad side to an industry that can do such good as well!

This is one I would absolutely recommend that you add to your TBR if you haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet!

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