Opioid Epidemic

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Opioid Epidemic

Opioid Epidemic

There is a crisis taking place in North America of a particularly heinous nature, affecting innocent people. By reading this article, there are 2 key points that we want our audience to take away. The first point is that this crisis does not affect a fringe portion of our population; instead, it affects genuinely good people, such as the law-abiding, the middle class, the worker, the tax payer, the typical rural / suburban family, and simply our fellow Canadian folk. The 2nd point to remember is that traditional methods of prevention have utterly failed in preventing this crisis. The crisis we are referring to is infamously known as the opioid epidemic, which we - as a psychologist clinic - have varying levels of experience with.

What is the opioid epidemic?

Although opioid addiction has long been a problem in troubled communities, the early 1990s was marked by a sudden and persistent increase of opioid addiction among good ordinary folk. Almost 30 years later, this trend has continued and the effects are now noticeable. More than ever, our hard working Canadians are falling prey to opioid addiction and methadone treatment has soared, as a result. Methadone clinics and rehab centers are now a booming business. According to the U.S. Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, opioids kill 142 Americans every day, thus claiming about 5 deaths per hour.

What caused the opioid epidemic?

The cause of the opioid epidemic becomes obvious when we look at where opioid addiction begins: painkillers, especially OxyContin (an opioid). Before people took notice to the opioid crisis, doctors used to prescribe OxyContin like it was candy, and this led to mass addiction. For example, patients suffering from work-related injuries would eventually run out of OxyContin and their doctors would not renew the prescription when the injuries had sufficiently healed. In the absence of an opioid supply, opioid addicted patients would suffer from opioid withdrawal symptoms which are extremely painful and life-threatening without hospitalization. Faced with this prospect, these new opioid addicts inevitably gravitated to the only source of opioids that is available to them: crushed oxycodone (the illicit version of OxyContin).

So why would these patients move on to heroin? The later versions of OxyContin have been engineered to be uncrushable and unmeltable without expensive equipment. Without the ability to crush OxyContin, it cannot be snorted; without the ability to melt Oxycontin, it cannot be injected. This makes Oxycontin an unprofitable street drug, since it is too costly for a drug dealer to mix with flour or other additives and resell at a greater quantity (which is the common practice among street-level drug dealers). Without access to oxycodone, the only other option is to take another opioid, typically heroin.

Why were doctors over-prescribing OxyContin to begin with? The producer of OxyContin (Purdue Pharma) has plead guilty to "criminally misbranding OxyContin". In other words, Purdue admitted to falsely advertising OxyContin as a less addictive opioid. This led doctors to view OxyContin as a necessarily better alternative for their patients. To be fair to those doctors, Purdue has reportedly used marketing tactics reminiscent of actual drug dealers, such as offering the first sample(s) for free but charging for subsequent doses (the same tactic used by drug dealers to create addicted "customers"). In fact, this is where the expression "getting hooked" comes from in reference to addiction; the drug is the bait and you're the catch. This egregious tactic has been discontinued, presumeably as a result of the allegations against them.

The result? Innocent people with minor injuries would be prescribed OxyContin, move on to heroin, then get methadone treatment. Here's where the coincidences raise some eyebrows. Much research has been done on methadone in Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. "Sackler" is a reference to the same Sackler family behind Purdue Pharma (which produced OxyContin to begin with). Basically, the same Sackler family behind the opioid crisis is associated by name to a faculty that uses funds to research methadone, an even more addictive drug that is sold as the treatment to an illness caused by a drug made by that same family. How many coincidences does it take before we call this what it is: putting profit above our people.

Protect Your Loved Ones

Not all doctors are privy to the history of OxyContin, let alone the shady business behind it. Talk to your doctor about the risks of opioid use, especially with regards to how to get off opioids safely. Better yet, also talk to your doctor about alternative painkillers. Due to our low birth rate, the existence of our people is at stake. As such, we can't afford to be anything other than the best version of ourselves. Opioid addiction is a great way to accelerate our death as a people, and we wouldn't wish such a thing on anyone. It's best to think of our people like a very extended family. The existence of our immediate family is not negotiable, and the same is true of our extended family; why should it be any different for each other? By staying off opioids (and making babies of course), you make a positive contribution to our future and existence.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not to be misinterpreted as medical, clinical, or any other professional advice. The views expressed are opinions and / or ideas founded on research and clinical experience. These views are meant to provoke awareness and inquiry into various issues, and thus, create an open-minded dialogue, civil discussion, and respectful debate among our readers. Any claims made are subject to change should new studies be conducted that disprove these claims.

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