Patriot Act – “Fentanyl” Recap & Review


The Third Wave

After last week’s plunge into the dark underbelly of video game workers, Patriot Act returns this week for a shocking look at the “Third Wave” of Opioid addiction – Fentanyl. With a smattering of jokes throughout the episode, Hasan Minhaj explores the origin and issues with this drug and just how devastating it can be for communities across America.

Although an antidote to its addictive grip exists in the form of Naloxine, Fentanyl has been recently laced with heroin to produce a cocktail of devastating effects. With enough power to kill an elephant, this dangerous drug has been made worse by legal pharmaceutical companies who sell this instead of other painkillers. Shockingly this drug is 50 times stronger that Heroin and it’s devastating impact can be seen through several examples here, including one tale about a sales rep being present with a Doctor during a check-up.

Although many believe the drug is shipped from Mexico, surprisingly it predominantly originates from China and is shipped across to the US. To make matters worse, companies like Johnson & Johnson have downplayed the effects of Fentanyl and one company, Insys, actually went bankrupt over their agenda-driven manner in aggressively selling this drug.

After a good joke about U2’s new album, we leave the episode with a look at how these slimy companies are now marketing an antidote to the very epidemic they created in the first place. Hasan then finishes on an ominous note discussing Dsuvia, a drug about to launch on the market which is 1000× stronger than Morphine. What could possibly go wrong?

With pharmaceutical companies operating in a mostly for-profit environment in the US, right now there’s a real conflict of interest gripping the nation. Unlike in the UK, which is currently protected by the godsend that is the NHS, in the States the healthcare system is a very different animal. It seems so alien and shocking to me that these companies can get away with such malicious practices, especially hearing one of the sales representatives happy that a client has cancer so they can sell them drugs.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem in America. In the meantime, Hasan does a good job laying out the problems in an easy-to-digest way, with enough jokes and wit to keep things moving. Quite what the future holds for the industry though remains to be seen.


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1 thought on “Patriot Act – “Fentanyl” Recap & Review”

  1. The episode of The Patriot Act, “Fentanyl” really struck a massive cord within me. Back in 2006, I was seeing my primary care physician, after suffering from lower back pain for several years. My doctor had previously been prescribing me just 1 to 2 7.5mg hydrocodone tablets per day, for only 3 or so months. After relating to my doctor that I was getting little to no relief, he insisted that I start using the fentanyl patch labeled “Duragesic.” I was leery, scared, & insisted over & over that I didn’t want to use it, but knowing next to nothing about it, & after his refusal to prescribe me anything else, & his claim that the patch was “safer” than the hydrocodone I had been using, I felt I had no other option but to try it & was prescribed the 25ml patch & started using it. It helped, in fact, a LOT! No pain whatsoever. But it ended up coming with a HUGE physical & psychological price to pay.
    After 1 month I went back to my doctor, telling him that every 2 days or so I felt as if I was dying. He immediately raised the patch dosage to 50ml. 1 month later, same thing, so was raised to 75ml. It continued to get worse & worse. I lost 25 lbs in 3 months & was down to 110 lbs & nothing but skin & bones & grey skin. I told him I was convinced I was dying, & it was at this point that he told me that I had “issues” & while I sat there in his office crying my heart out, begging him to help me, telling him I knew I was going to die, he told me to leave his office & never come back, & told his nurse to call the police to escort me out. She refused, & I left.
    I felt I was a goner, dying, going into severe withdrawals every 2 days. After 2 weeks, my mother called him back, & after several calls, convinced him to see me again. I made yet another visit back to his office, where I threw the whole bag of over 3 months worth of patches on the floor & finally convinced him to start tapering me down.
    The tapering was a seemingly endless nightmare. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, I hallucinated for weeks on end, had extreme cold chills, extreme restless leg & arm syndrome, & was convinced my life was over. After 4 months of tapering, I finally started feeling a bit better, & went to see my doctor one last time, who literally told me I looked like shit, & that I had almost died, & was very lucky that I hadn’t.
    It was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my whole life, & something I would never, ever wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
    I simply feel the need that someone, anyone, possibly everyone who sees this specific doctor, should know that he did this to me. The pain & suffering it caused is unexplainable, & I feel that there’s nothing worse that any doctor could possibly do to a person.

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