When I was a junior in high school we had an assembly in which four or five inmates from the county jail talked to us about not screwing up, choosing the right path and all of the other cliches everyone has heard a million and one times.
I don’t recall all of their stories, one was in for attempted murder, one was in for conspiracy to commit murder, one was in for drugs and those are the only ones I can remember. The only pertinent one for the purpose of this article is the girl who got locked up for heroin. She initially was prescribed Percocets for the pain after giving birth and she quickly got addicted to them. They then took her prescription away suddenly with no plan to wean her off of the medication. Percocets, xanax, morphine, oxycodone, etc. are all relatives of heroin. So when you can’t get the prescription from a doctor, you might be able to find the pills on the street, but it is easier to find straight heroin so that is what she did, and she stole from her parents and strangers to fuel her addiction so she was locked up for burglary, drug charges, and probably a host of other charges.
So many people have been personally affected by the opioid crisis. In Ohio there are morgues that have run out of space due to the number of people who have overdosed.
What caused this horrific disaster? There are a few answers. Purdue Pharmaceuticals was exposed by an LA Times investigation as lying to their customers. They claimed oxycontin would relieve pain for 12 hours at a time when in reality, it would usually wear off a few hours earlier than it was supposed to which left the person taking the medication with withdrawal symptoms unless they took more. Experiencing the cycle of withdrawal then relief when you take your next dose furthers the addiction. It is more expensive than other painkillers because of the claim that it lasts for 12 hours even though it does not last that long. As a solution, they told doctors to prescribe more potent pills rather than taking them more frequently, which can more easily cause overdoses. TAP Pharmaceuticals bribed many doctors to prescribe their medication, so a doctor would prescribe a patient a drug they didn’t really need or the doctor could have used a better or less addictive drug, but because the doctor was receiving money in some form (ski trips, educational “grants,” covering a doctor’s bar tab, etc.) from this pharmaceutical company, they chose to prescribe the drug provided by TAP.
These companies have ruined the lives of so many people. Some were lucky enough to recover, others are dead, many still addicted. This is what happens when companies become too big, they always want to see an increase in profits and once you get to a certain size, there is nothing more you can do to increase your profits legally, so you turn to illegal means of bribing doctors, lying about your medication, over prescribing medication or whatever other means they resort to to continue to grow. It is important to remember the cause of all of this pain and heartache was greed – a very human trait. Everyone has the potential to be greedy, and it is okay to be greedy as long as it does not become who you are, as long as it does not rule your life. But the executives of many companies in many industries are where they are in life simply because their inability to feel like they have enough.
To think this is perhaps some of the cause for the epidemic.
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