Part 3: Bringing it home
Why can’t we find a bit of help in temporary manual labor? I remember when boys went around to all the neighbors during the summer months looking for odd jobs. That seems to be a thing of the past, why? No incentives? No need? No care? No initiative? Too entertained? Too coddled? Too weak? Too sick? Too fat? Too spoiled?
I wrote that paragraph well over a month ago when I first started this series. I have since had a godsend: Help. Good help! And just in the nick of time, too, because my electrocuted shoulder was getting worse by the day. As fate would have it, she was once addicted to pain medication, prescribed by her doctor.
I’m extremely fortunate to be able to make the choice between forced from pain to go on such meds and forcing myself to stop using my arm until the time it has naturally healed. The chiropractor sounds optimistic on my behalf with that caveat—if you stop using it, it will heal and not be a recurring issue. If you do not, it will keep returning.
Unfortunately most folks in this country do not have this option, they cannot afford to rest. I don’t like doing it and it’s not like money is falling from the trees around here, so it’s not a particularly easy choice. But, when I hear such terrifying stories about withdrawing from these drugs, my mind says, “Pay now, or pay later!”
Kyla says quitting pain pills was the hardest thing she’s ever done, and that’s coming from someone who’s suffered a lot of hardship. A normally active and attentive young woman suffering from a broken ankle falls into years of opiate use to the point she didn’t want to get out of bed anymore and whose life was unraveling.
She’s certainly not alone. According to WebMD in 2015, 2 million Americans had substance abuse disorders related to opioid medications. With the recent headlines my guess is today’s numbers are off the charts in comparison. And as with so many other vices, Americans lead the way by consuming 80% of the world’s prescription opioid drugs. (Talbottcampus.com)
Kyla’s doctor served time in prison for his choice to ‘over-prescribe’ these drugs. Over-prescribing is the professional term for trafficking.
“Licensed traffickers,” Rick calls them, “as are the clinics giving out methadone and suboxone.”
They flew doctors to “seminars’ in fancy vacation destinations. Doctors who didn’t get on board were offered speaking fees to endorse OxyContin. The feds finally sued Purdue in 2007, with Purdue pleading guilty to felony charges, admitting that it had lied to doctors about OxyContin’s abuse potential.
Under the agreement, the company paid $600 million in fines and its three top executives at the time pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges—after thousands of deaths as a result of their actions. The executives paid $34.5 million out of their own pockets and performed four hundred hours of community service. It was one of the harshest penalties ever imposed on a pharmaceutical company but how can one take it seriously when the people responsible got away with pleading guilty to misdemeanors at a time when by 2001 Purdue was selling $1 billion of OxyContin yearly. In total, Purdue Pharma has made $35 billion, and the Sackler family walked away with around $13 billion.
The FDA also played an important role, for example, not reviewing Purdue’s promotional literature which included a video that claimed addiction was “very rare”; this was eventually removed, but the damage was done. And of course, even if addiction rates were low when patients used the drug as their doctors intended, many quickly learned to break the tablets up and snort it or inject it. Again, becoming addicted is more likely to occur in people who have less impulse control—those in the lower part of the bell curve.”
This is an expensive and destructive myth: Again, becoming addicted is more likely to occur in people who have less impulse control—those in the lower part of the bell curve.”
However, it is a very profitable myth.
In an attempt to serve in the recovery of all these folks a very lucrative and thriving industry has developed, which is the subject of my next post on the topic.