Public Health Insight

The Three Waves: OxyContin, Heroin, & Fentanyl - Part 2 - Story Of The Opioid Epidemic

April 02, 2024
Public Health Insight
The Three Waves: OxyContin, Heroin, & Fentanyl - Part 2 - Story Of The Opioid Epidemic
Show Notes Chapter Markers

There are many stories out there about how the opioid crisis has now become one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Some stories may be more accurate than others, but to get to the truth and truly understand the current opioid crisis, we must go back in time.

What you'll hear in this episode of the Public Health Insight Podcast is our conversation with Dr. Jennifer Loeffler-Cobia, where we develop a chronological timeline of the three waves of the modern opioid crisis in the U.S., including the early use of opium and morphine, development of non-opioid pain relievers, overprescribing of OxyContin, transition to heroin, and the introduction of fentanyl. The conversation also explores the role of illicit markets in sustaining the overdose crisis.


◼️ Dr. Jennifer Loeffler-Cobia, DrPH, MS, Director of Justice and Public Health Policy and Practice at WestEd Justice and Prevention Research Center; University of Southern California Adjunct Associate Professor


◼️ Helping Leaders Address the Opioid Crisis: A Q&A With Jennifer Loeffler-Cobia

◼️ The White House is now tracking opioid overdoses that don't kill. Why that's important.

◼️ Understanding the Epidemic

◼️ The triple wave epidemic: Supply and demand drivers of the US opioid overdose crisis

Hosts & Producers

◼️ Gordon Thane, BMSc, MPH, PMP®

◼️ Leshawn Benedict, MPH, MSc, PMP®

Production Notes

◼️ Music from Johnny Harris x Tom Fox: The Music Room

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Part 2 - The Three Waves: OxyContin, Heroin, & Fentanyl
Before The First Wave | From Morphine to Heroin: The Early Days of Opioid
The First Wave
The Third Wave: Fentanyl
The Third Wave: Overdose Crisis and Illicit Market
The Deadly Mix: Fentanyl, Xylazine, and Other Drugs & Challenges Reversing Overdoses
Navigating Drug Policy and the Fight Against the Epidemic