I'm Right Again Dot Com

                             A new commentary every Wednesday — October 12, 2016

Chemical Overdose Deaths at Epidemic Proportions

    According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, drug overdoses of one kind or another is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Beyond an explosion of deaths causing by a doubling of heroin users since 2007, thought to be the outgrowth of the increase in the price of Oxycontin, Hydrocodone and fentanyl synthetic opioids, more than 38,000 Americans died from either heroin or opioid overdoses in 2014, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The cost in ruined lives is beyond imagining—expanding far beyond the vastly expanding number of addicts—to family members, associates and whole communities. We're describing a pandemic: "A disease prevalent throughout a whole country" - Websters

    Since 1999, deaths from prescription pain medications in the United States has quadrupled. Currently, 13% of all prescriptions filled are for controlled substances. The Center for Public Integrity published a treatise in September of this year stating "The makers of prescription painkillers have adopted a 50 state strategy that includes hundreds of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions to help kill or weaken measures aimed at stemming the tide of prescription opiods, the drugs at the heart of a crises that has cost 165,000 lives and pushed countless more to crippling addiction."

    In some areas, whole communities have been adversely affected. I talked with a spokesperson for a Tucson organization that has struggled with all facets of "the drug problem" for longer than 45 years: CODAC Health, Recovery, Wellness, Inc., now serves more than 12,000 clients locally. Perhaps the gateway drug was at one time marijuana, and still may be to some very small extent, but today, the most prevalent problem regarding addiction is with prescription medications. 

    As heroin production increases in third world countries, prices continue to plummet, thus economics has already caused heroin to become be the drug of choice for addicts. To answer this competition, the opioid lobby has been doing everything it can to preserve the status quo of aggressive prescribing of opioids by employing an annual average of 1,350 lobbyists in legislative hubs from 2006 through 2015. This is more bad medicine from Big Pharma, and rapidly growing worse over time, due greatly to their marketing techniques.

-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


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