Reflections of History

From Revisionist History: The Triplicate Program and Opioid Epidemic

From Revisionist History: The Triplicate Program and Opioid Epidemic

Reflections of History - July 23, 2022 - 12:55

We’re sharing a bonus episode from our friends at Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked. This season, Malcolm’s obsessed with experiments – natural experiments, scientific experiments, thought experiments. In this preview, we learn about Paul Madden, who ran the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in the 1930s. He enacted an expensive, burdensome, annoying bit of bureaucratic anti-drug hysteria known as the “triplicate program” that made every doctor in the state miserable because it involved a lot of paperwork. But Madden insisted this kind of paperwork would save lives. Fast forward to the 90s and early 2000s, when opioids were being prescribed as painkillers at a rapid rate – and killing tens of thousands of Americans due to overdoses. The government looked to Madden’s triplicate program as a way of preventing the epidemic. A handful of states started their own triplicate prescription programs, but most ignored the warning signs. The result was a devastating natural experiment. You can hear more from Revisionist History at

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July 22nd: FDR's Plan To Pack The Court Fails

July 22, 2022 - 04:56
On July 22nd, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s court-packing plan is defeated.

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July 25th: Emmett Till Is Born

July 25, 2022 - 04:15
On July 25th, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, Emmett Till is born.

About The Show

C13Originals and Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author Jon Meacham, co-creators of the Webby Award-winning Best Podcast Series It Was Said and the acclaimed podcast Hope,Through History, join together again on a daily series that guides listeners through critical moments in our history. Every Monday through Friday, Meacham travels back to impactful events that occurred on that date in history—the birth of a visionary filmmaker, the debut of an iconic athlete, the discovery of a lifesaving cure, a triumphant legal victory. You’ll learn how that event shaped politics, art, culture, sports and science, and why it’s still relevant today.