Episode 80: A Messy History of Methadone with Dr. Zoe Adams

At Narcotica, we’ve often talked about how methadone is one of the most over-regulated substances on the planet. It’s not a perfect drug — nothing is — but it helps a lot of people. So why is it so hard to access?

On this episode, the crew (Zachary Siegel, Chris Moraff and Troy Farah) speak with Dr. Zoe Adams, an internal medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, whose thesis was a narrative history of methadone. It’s a long, strange chronicle, from its development in Germany, to becoming a mainstay in Nixon’s War on Drugs, but what’s most surprising is how little has changed. Learn about why this drug is so scrutinized, stigmatized and what people are doing to make it more available.

Follow Zoe on Twitter at: @zoe_m_adams

Read Zoe’s thesis here:

If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:

Episode 73: Oh No! Not Naltrexone! with Nancy Curran

Episode 65: Restoring Trust in Doctors Amidst The Overdose Crisis with Dr. Ben Cocchiaro and Dr. Ashish Thakrar

Episode 67: Methadone in the Time of Covid with Danielle Russell

Episode 48: Moms And Methadone with Elizabeth Brico

Follow Narcotica on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and support us on Patreon. We just opened a shop where you can order Narcotica merch: Help keep this podcast ad-free! Your support is appreciated! We’re on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher and more. Tell your friends about us! Rate us! And thanks for your support!

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel, Aaron Ferguson

Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1

Intro voice: Jenny Schaye

Episode 19: Debunking Bupe Diversion Myths with Molly Doernberg

If you ask many, many people whose lives have been upended by opioids, buprenorphine is a life saver. It can literally cut the risk of a fatal overdose by half or more in folks who have an opioid addiction. Also known as Subutex or Suboxone, buprenorphine is one of the three FDA approved medications to treat what’s formally known as opioid use disorder. It’s a partial agonist at opioid receptors, relieving cravings but with far less risk for overdose than other opioids like heroin, which are full agonists.

Zachary Siegel, Troy Farah and Christopher Moraff speak with Molly Doernberg, a grad student at Yale School of Public Health, who co-authored a recent paper called “Demystifying buprenorphine misuse: Has fear of diversion gotten in the way of addressing the opioid crisis?” which was published in the journal Substance Abuse last April. They discuss what buprenorphine is, why people take it, and why stigma and fears that buprenorphine may be used illicitly are actually contributing to more overdose deaths.

Follow Narcotica on FacebookTwitter and support us on Patreon. Your support is appreciated!

Read Doernberg’s paper here: and follow her on Twitter.

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-Producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy and Aaron Ferguson
Image Credit: Chris Moraff / Edit by Troy Farah