‘Free Refills’ Profiles A Doctor’s Battle With Addiction

‘Free Refills’ Profiles A Doctor’s Battle With Addiction

Being hooked on painkiller meds is a tremendous challenge unto itself. But imagine how much more damaging it could be if you were a doctor and had the power to write yourself an unlimited amount of prescriptions. That was the challenge facing Dr. Peter Grinspoon M.D., who chronicled his tumultuous addiction experience in the new book, Free Refills.


As part of our ongoing reading recommendation list, Free Refills offers a gritty, unapologetic expose of the prescription painkiller business. Other books we’ve profiled delve into theories and science. But this one is purely narrative, illustrating a harrowing journey that includes arrests, overdoses and the destruction of a once happy family.


Throughout the journey, Grinspoon lays out how he would constantly write fake prescriptions for himself, pilfer drugs from the supply cabinet at his office and horde samples from pharmaceutical companies just for a momentary high. At his worst, Grinspoon admits to “hitting off the tank of nitrous oxide in the neighboring doctor’s office.”


Refiils goes on to chronicle the loss of his medical license, three felony arrests, multiple relapses and a life back in his parent’s basement after his wife threw him out. As we mentioned before, this isn’t a pretty expose. But it is an important illustration of how addiction can destroy even the most “stable” of professions.


Today Grinspoon is 10 years sober, back to practicing medicine and counseling others about addiction. But he openly admits that his battle is not over and the struggle will always continue.


“Over time,” he concludes, “these pills sing to me less, but if I listen carefully they still quietly beckon.”


If you’re interested in hearing more about Dr. Grinspoon’s story, check out Free Refills via the Amazon website.

Valley Recovery Blog