Who's to blame for opioid crisis? All of the above

Monday, April 29, 2019

Unfortunately for pure democracy, the majority isn’t always right. Richard Nixon was re-elected by one of the biggest landslides in history just a couple of years before he was forced to resign in the Watergate scandal

Fortunately, the founding fathers set up our Republic to keep the tyranny of the majority from trampling individual rights

Sadly, that same system of government can be manipulated by moneyed interests, such as the pharmaceutical companies, which began aggressively marketing highly addictive painkillers in the late 1990s

And, a majority of Americans, two-thirds of us, believe the drug companies are to blame

In some cases, prosecutors agree, recently indicting a company and officials accused of actual drug trafficking. The spotlight has also been directed to some pharmacies in towns of a few hundred people which dispense millions of doses of opioids, which brings to mind Nebraska’s tiny village White Clay, where millions of cans of beer were sold to make their way across the border to a “dry” reservation in South Dakota. Officials shut down those liquor stores, but critics contend that just puts more alcohol- impaired drivers on the road to stores in distant towns that are still open

At one point, federal regulators put strong emphasis on pain relief, financially penalizing healthcare providers unless their patients reported effective pain relief

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say more than 200,000 Americans have died from prescription opioid overdoses since the 1990s, with 48,000 dead in 2017 from some type of opioid, a category that includes heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid painkillers

The public seems to be getting the message; about 2,000 lawsuits were filed in the past few years seeking to hold the drug industry responsible for the opioid crisis

There’s not universal agreement, however, according to an AP-NORC poll

Many think the users themselves are to blame

“Nobody’s forcing them to take drugs,” said Pamela Williams of New York City, who said she was addicted to cocaine and other drugs before stopping about 25 years ago. “Nobody puts it in their hand and puts a gun to their head and says ‘Here, take this,’” said Williams, who lives in the Bronx

The poll indicates that 63% of Americans think pharmaceutical companies are quite a bit or a great deal to blame for the problem and 58% say the same about people abusing opioids

Some 46% think doctors and dentists are to significantly to blame and about a third — 34% — says it’s the government’s fault

Of more than a third who say they or someone close to them has been addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin, 70 percent blame pharmaceutical companies

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to blame the companies, while Republicans were more likely to blame the users by a similar 70% margin

If you have post-surgical pain or a toothache, don’t assume a prescribed opioid is the only option, especially if you might be prone to addiction

Check out information and tips for avoiding addiction from the CDC here.

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  • What is strange is that Opioids are so deadly yet get a pass from the government. Yet medical marijuana for some reason is so highly scrutinized. See this -- from Dan Hughes -- https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2584457.html. Medical marijuana isnt going to cause 200,000 deaths. It probably wont cause any. Is medical marjuana really something of a gateway drug? Just as bad as opiods? Why the big worry now about what's going on with medical marijuana? Looks very safe compared to what's available now that is approved of.

    -- Posted by bob s on Mon, Apr 29, 2019, at 2:21 PM
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