Like so many things, opioid pain relievers came into existence with good intentions. After all, who can possibly be against relieving suffering of sick people? In this page, I'll give you some things to think about and will ask for your help in fixing a big problem.
Here are some statistics regarding the application of those good intentions:
* There are now more Americans using prescription opioid pain relievers than smoking cigarettes.
* The opioid oxycodene along with morphine and fentanyl are now causing more deaths in the United States than car crashes.
* There are now more cases of substance abuse than cancer victims.
We have an entire section devoted to avoiding or reversing type 2 diabetes. The costs of treating this fully avoidable chronic disease are now at all time highs. But the costs of treating substance abuse, including opioid addiction and alcoholism are even higher than type 2 diabetes costs.
In our page about opioid dependence, we described how these drugs affect our brains. There is a very good video on that page to help clarify this danger.
Like so many things, the good intentions were overrun by a rush to get something into the market. This big push was being powered by those who would make massive fortunes based on the sale of these "good intentions."
Here are some comments from the current surgeon general. He hopes to have as much influence as the person sitting in that chair had in the mid sixties as he worked to curtail nicotine addiction.
"We now know from solid data that substance abuse disorders don't discriminate. They affect the rich and the poor, all socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups. They affect people in urban areas and rural ones. Far more people than we realize are affected...
For far too long people have thought about substance abuse disorders as a disease of choice, a character flaw or a moral failing. We underestimated how exposure to addictive substances can lead to full blown addiction.
Opioids are a good example. Now we understand that these disorders actually change the circuitry in your brain ...That tells us that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and we need to treat it with the same urgency and compassion that we do with any other illness."
And those remarks are fine, but we need to look deeper than that. We need to get to the real source of the problem.
Sadly this explosion of opioid pain relievers has been brought about by a recurring nightmare. The fact that it is allowed to continue with repeated tactics by different operators speaks volumes about the ineffectiveness of the agencies tasked with "consumer protection" and to our own indifference and apathy.
Much like big tobacco, there was a systematic propaganda campaign placed in motion to convince the public, and more importantly, doctors, that opioid pain relievers were safe and in nearly all cases, non-addictive.
Large sums of money were doled out to coerce physicians to prescribe these pain relievers to patients as often as possible. Big pharmacy players such as Purdue Pharma knew they were lying. But they also knew there was the potential for windfall profits.
Purdue Pharma introduced Oxycontin in 1996. Using these misleading tactics, prescriptions of this opioid pain reliever went up by 11 million in the next year. You read that correctly-11 million more prescriptions in one year. Even in getting caught, their fine of over $600 million, while sounding substantial, was merely a small cost of doing business.
In the block below, you can watch a short video that details these tactics. One of the presenters was actually a doctor who believed the hype at first. Then he discovered the truth.
In our page about the Monsanto conspiracy, we wrote about the revolving door between their corporate offices and the FDA. Similar methods have been implemented by big pharmacy to shield their operations.
Here are some quotes from the Washington Post regarding efforts within the Drug Enforcement Agency to slow down investigations into the actual suppliers of these highly addictive drugs.
"A decade ago, the [DEA] launched an aggressive campaign to curb a rising opioid epidemic... The DEA began to target wholesale companies that distributed hundreds of millions of highly addictive pills to the corrupt pharmacies and pill mills that illegally sold the drugs for street use.
Leading the campaign was the agency's Office of Diversion Control, whose investigators around the country began filing civil cases against the distributors, issuing orders to immediately suspend the flow of drugs and generating large fines.
But the industry fought back. Former DEA and Justice Department officials hired by drug companies began pressing for a softer approach. In early 2012, the deputy attorney general summoned the DEA's diversion chief to an unusual meeting over a case against two major drug companies. 'That meeting was to chastise me for going after industry, and that's all that meeting was about,' recalled Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the diversion office...
[O]fficials at DEA headquarters began delaying and blocking enforcement actions, and the number of cases plummeted... The judge who reviews the DEA diversion office's civil caseload noted the plunge. 'There can be little doubt that the level of administrative Diversion enforcement remains stunningly low for a national program,' Chief Administrative Law Judge John J. Mulrooney II wrote in a June 2014 quarterly report."
This is where you come in. You are already being affected by the opioid pain reliever induced addiction explosion. Your tax dollars are being spent to treat the end results. Please check out this link for some startling information that I hope will spur you to immediate action.
So you have a vested interest in getting resolution of the root cause, regardless of whether you know someone personally who is addicted to pain relievers. It's time to step up and be a leader. There is no office requirement to lead. It just takes some courage and conviction.
Make your voice heard by telling your elected representatives that you expect immediate action to hold big pharmacy accountable for the destruction they helped originate. And let those elected officials know that you won't be burning down buildings, nor will you block highway entrance ramps.
But you will be voting and your vote will be determined by what you see from them. Incumbency means nothing. This is a national health crisis and if they won't stand up for what is right, you will vote them out in a heartbeat.