Saturday, June 15, 2024

Psychedelic Outlaws: The Movement Revolutionizing Modern Medicine

Psychedelic Outlaws is a sobering, often distressing, look at pharmaceutical development and protocol approval by Dr Joanna Kempner (PhD in sociology and healthcare policy). Released 4th June 2024 by Hachette, it's 384 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. 

This is a layman accessible, fascinating, and often frustrating examination of a group of patients with cluster headaches on their search for relief from their chronic pain. The pharmaceutical research system is absolutely set up to be completely outside practicality for small/single/individual researchers (however legitimate and well meaning) in order to winnow out the charlatans and "snake oil" salesmen. It's expensive, eye-wateringly expensive, to research and bring a drug to clinical trials and eventually to market. 

This book is written as a human interest history about a group of cluster headache sufferers (aka "suicide headaches" for the brutal pain they cause) who found one another online and eventually banded together to find treatments in a system they felt abandoned by and to advocate for research. 

Not written in impenetrable academic style, the book is well annotated throughout, and the chapter notes, bibliography, and references will provide readers with many hours of further reading. It's good that it's not written as a "gotcha" story, but it does take a frank look at the sometimes unfair treatment of smaller groups of sufferers who are nonetheless in desperate need of healing.

Five stars. Highly recommended for science/nonfiction readers, as well as for public library acquisition, or possibly gift giving to someone touched by chronic medical issues. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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