We seem to not be serious about – truly intent on solving – the growing drug threat in the United States. “We” refers to our governing and policing institutions… and to all of us, one supposes. While there are many subsets, and many individuals, of local, state and national agencies who are deeply committed to the fight, overall, our national policies have effectively allowed the trade to grow and corrupt many levels of law enforcement and justice. While doing so, this “business” has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, destroyed families and spawned immeasurable volumes of criminal activity that has damaged many other thousands, if not millions of people.
Today our publicized problems center on “opioids” both “natural” and pharmaceutical. A market developed by criminal drug-dealers has proven too attractive to ignore for multi-billion-dollar corporations, corrupting them and their medically licensed facilitators, daily prescribing their FDA-approved wonder drugs at clinics, hospitals and back rooms, nationwide. Soft-headed federal welfare and subsidized medicine programs help irresponsible patients “pay” for their prescribed addictives. One statistic tells us that it’s long past when our national battle tactics ought to have changed dramatically: over 60,000 dead from opiate overdoses in one year.
Unfortunately, opioids represent simply and tragically just an aspect of the modern American drug culture. It’s a culture that begins with candies, ice cream and juice-boxes rewarding good, or at least not too embarrassing, behavior, by 18- to 84-month-old infants, continuing unabated through aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, “arthritis formula,” Cold-Eze, Thera-Flu, Nyquil, Dayquil, 5-Hour energy, cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, nicotine “Vaping,” Claritin, dextromethorphan, Robitussin, Afrin, Aleve, Excedrin, Motrin, and hundreds of other variations of over-the-counter feel-better concoctions for aches and pains, “colds” and headaches, plus the dozens of prescription pain alleviators, allergy relievers, cold-symptom removers, cough syrups, tablets and inhalers… and we didn’t even get to actual pain “killers,” a most suitable name.
Every TV program advises consumers to question their doctors as to which sort of blood-thinner is best, what kind of goop will kill fungus, how to resolve breathing problems and 44 ways to get better sleep through chemistry… or better sex. Once all of these conditions have been restored to desirability, it is crucial to eat, swallow or drink something to improve regularity and then avoid and cure hemorrhoids. It’s a never-ending battle to achieve perfect health – or a perfect simulation of it.
Eventually we pay attention to ads for diabetes medications… other than juice-boxes, of course.
Doctors, in 2013, wrote narcotic prescriptions at a rate 272% of the 1991 rate. That is, 207 MILLION prescriptions! For 300 Million people?! Gross opiate production had increased from 3,520 kilograms (7700 pounds) in 1993 to an astronomical 70,000 kilograms (155,000 pounds!) in 2007, which MORE THAN DOUBLED just 6 years later, to 150,000 kilograms! What the Hell has our government done to protect the nation in this period? Why, they’ve forced a “cutback” to only 108,000 kilograms! Whoop.
Where did all this pain come from? How did humans ever evolve without Dr. Feelgood?
Today we give pills not only when we feel sick… because we ARE sick, we give them when we just feel, well, not right. We give boys hormone treatments when they say they want to be girls; we give related treatments to girls who feel like boys and even perform bilateral mastectomies on teenagers who don’t want to admit to being girls. Boys are mutilated by removal of genitals. What has “medicine” become? It seems similar to Nazi experimentation, except that people in favor of the mutilations – chemical and otherwise – are the ones accusing realists of being the Nazis.
Is it just profit? Much like the alcohol business, fortunes are not made in painkillers and other stuff from people who nurse a bottle of Scotch for 3 months. Big money comes from people who consume a couple of bottles/packages/ounces a week or more – Scotch or Advil, Oxycontin or Aleve, marijuana or Lunesta. Amidst all this we try to draw lines that cannot be crossed – like Bingo at the Parish Hall but no permitting of casinos, no, no, no.
We hate cocaine, for example, and we really hate crack cocaine, so no legalization for that stuff, no, no, no. And heroin! Oh… my… God, heroin? No, no, no – a thousand times NO! BUT(!)… if some powerful pharmaceutical manufacturer – powerful because of political contributions and constant lobbying – wants to distribute a few hundred Million capsules of SYNTHETIC heroin, then the mind/nerve altering effects can be described in wonderfully pharmaceutical terms and the distribution system liberally supplied – FDA approved, Medicaid-financed.
In an earlier career I worked with a Vietnam vet, a Marine, who had received shrapnel in one arm. It was badly scarred and made possible the receipt of a check every month for his “disability.” Every 3 months or so he had to go to Boston, to the V.A. hospital, and get tested for the level of feeling that was returning to his arm… or not. Meanwhile he practiced not reacting to pins in the flesh of that arm. Then, when he’d get tested, he could look stone-faced and continue his claim that he had no feeling in the arm, and the checks would continue.
Humans are very capable of lying to the point of severe discomfort, to get what they want. Do we think proto-addicts wouldn’t lie to keep receiving pain-killers? Even if all they were doing was selling each month’s supply? Is the medical establishment that performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, unable to withhold excessive quantities of opioids?
They certainly can’t refrain from prescribing. Two-thirds of patient visits result in a prescription… meaning upwards of THREE BILLION prescriptions for 300 Million people! That’s 10 each. We’ve all experienced the kindly scrip-recommendation from even the most caring physician (or nurse-practitioner). It’s no surprise; most medico’s receive constant “education” from the pharmaceutical complex and there exists an inherent desire by them to provide advice that patients will experience benefits from, and that often means a drug of some sort.
Unfortunately, there are about ONE MILLION adverse drug reactions every year, yielding some 100,000 DEATHS – the fourth largest cause of death in the U. S. We might consider that fentanyl-laced heroin or synthetic opiods also produce “adverse drug reactions.” The differences can be distilled to two: the INTENT of the seller/provider, and the legal status of all concerned. Both are interested in two things: making the customer feel better… and repeat business.
It’s all part of a national, societal culture of control of biology for human comfort. Whatever we don’t like about nature… there is a drug – a chemical – to “fix” it. “Addiction” is pejorative only because of the lesser qualities of the illegal providers.
Today states are racing to legalize marijuana, all 122 current strains of it because it will provide (choose a favorite): tax revenue for underfunded state budgets; ability to control quality and safety; stiff competition to illegal drug dealers, hopefully to stop illegal drug trade; funding for drug-treatment programs; reduced dependency on “bad” drugs; votes for those most supportive of legalization. Another, really important provision is eliminating Timmy’s criminal record for possession and, one other: freeing up the justice system to concentrate on serious crimes. After all, if “they” are going to get the stuff anyway, we might as well go along with it and raise some revenue to boot. Who are we to interfere?
There are no adults… we’re a nation of juveniles. And the drug “culture” is us, this most pampered generation. If you weren’t sure of where you stood on socialized medicine, be mindful that such a system will cement the drug culture even more firmly in place. Whoop.