Via El Planteo

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is a general practitioner at Harvard University, writer, medical cannabis specialist, and lecturer. In 2016 he published the book “Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction” which seeks to explain the vulnerability of healthcare personnel to addiction and quickly became a global bestseller as it confronts the stigma, taboo, and prejudice associated with addiction.

Peter's relationship with medical cannabis is long-standing, dating back to his relationship with his father, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who in 1971 wrote the book Marihuana Reconsidered, which calls for the legalization of cannabis. And in fact, the cannabis genetics bank, Barney's Farm, in the city of Amsterdam, created a strain in his honor.

"Barney's has a strain called Dr. Grinspoon. I have to admit I've tried it. And it's really a good strain. It's very perceptive. It's very stimulating and cerebral, kind of like my dad," says Peter proudly, from his home in Newton, Massachusetts.

Free Refills

In his writings and lectures, Dr. Grinspoon advocates for harm reduction policies for addiction treatment. His book addresses issues that are taboo in the medical field and in society at large.

Peter tells us that the idea of "Free Refills" refers to health professionals having unlimited access to prescriptions, but in general, the title also refers to a particular phenomenon starting in the US in 2000, when Purdue Pharmaceutical undertook a massive advertising campaign "to convince everyone that the treatment for chronic pain was opioids, specifically OxyContin."

Oxycodone is a potent opium-derived analgesic that decreases discomfort by increasing pain tolerance, causes sedation, drowsiness, and depresses breathing. Prolonged use generates dependence and withdrawal symptoms such as cold sweats, cramps, dizziness, tachycardia, diarrhea, vomiting, and hallucinations.

"It was sold to all of us, doctors and patients. Millions of people were put on OxyContin, an incredibly addictive way to treat pain."


Grinspoon explains that healthcare professionals are more prone to addictions "because we are under so much stress and have access to so many drugs which results in much higher addiction rates than the general public."

"I became heavily addicted to prescription opioids to the point that the DEA raided my office in 2005. So I decided to write a book about my addiction and recovery," Peter recalls.

Dr. Grinspoon understands that anyone can become addicted and so his book seeks to humanize drug users and overcome social stigma.

"Because stigma is what really hurts people. People are afraid to seek help. The book created a bit of a stir because no one else felt they could talk about …

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