Medicine and Its Objects presents…
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 4:30-6:00 PM
(Associate Professor, Medical Education/Anthropology, Northwestern University)
THE TRAFFIC IN PAIN:
OPIOIDS, EPIDEMICS, AND THE U.S. RESURGENCE OF THE URINE DRUG SCREEN
with opening comments by
(MD/PhD Candidate, CHSS/Pritzker School of Medicine)
Both chronic pain and opioid use have been named crises of epidemic proportion in the contemporary U.S., embodying competing claims about pain as a tragically urgent site of both under and over treatment. Patient activists, newly-professionalized pain specialists, public health officials, and drug enforcement agents – among others – all wade into the fray, marshaling powerful statistics and heart-breaking stories to claim the moral and political high ground on either side of these debates. Looming increasingly large in this contentious landscape are reports of rising numbers of overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers, statistics now wielded as a clarion call for change in pain management practice and public policy. One rapid response to that call has been a dramatically stepped-up reliance on a time-worn, rather humble form of surveillance: the urine drug screen (UDS). This paper seeks to work outward from the embodied experience of a chronic pain patient as he lives this contemporary moment of clinical controversy and the reinvigorated role of the UDS. Doing so serves an exploratory effort at beginning to map out some of the material and affective exchanges by which pain is rendered simultaneously problematic and profoundly productive as it is put into politically-charged and highly-profitable circulation.
Please email Camille (email@example.com) for a copy of the paper
For any questions and concerns about the workshop, or if you need assistance in order to attend, please contact Camille Roussel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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