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The average US citizen consumes 50,000 pharmaceutical pills over the course of their lifetime, at least 50 percent of Americans take a prescription drug regularly, and many people who are over the age of 50 regularly take between five and 10 different prescription medications. With this much consumption, the fact that these drugs impact our lives is unquestionable, but what are those effects, and are we even aware of all of them? According to Thomas Hager, the use of pharmaceuticals impacts us in ways we don’t even realize and have been shaping culture for decades now.

Hager was working on a Ph.D. in medical microbiology when he came to the realization that, despite how interesting he found the material, he simply didn’t want to work in a lab for the rest of his life. As a result, he switched educational tracks, pursued a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, and merged his love of medicine and science with his love for writing. He has since become a well-known author of narrative nonfiction, turning science into the stories that exist within it.

On today’s episode, he discusses aspects of his newest book, Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine, comments on the current state of drug use in America, and clues us into what his next book might be about. Tune in for all the details, check out thomashager.net, and find his books on Amazon, Kindle, or your local bookstore.

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