Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What Is Creating the Worst Addiction Crisis America Has Ever Seen?

1. Cigarettes.
2. Alcohol.
3. Debt.
4. Powerful painkillers.

As I've said in an earlier post today, this week's cover of Time Magazine states the answer is powerful painkillers. Ain't that a hoot.

They're the most powerful painkillers ever invented.

And they're creating the worst addiction crisis America has ever seen.

There you have it. If it is in print, then it must be true. Here is a quote from the article to support the claim.

By 2011, 17,000 Anericans were dying every year from prescription-opioid prescriptions.

This would probably be a good time to point out that Time Magazine once declared snowboarding to be a fad. As an avid snowboarder in the 1980s, I never forgot that. I wondered, at the time, how many drugs they must have taken to state such a thing. Fad my @$$, lol. Sigh.

17,000 deaths may seem like a lot, and it is. However, in the real world we tend to take all the numbers and sort them before deciding upon the worst.

1. Cigarette smoking: 480,000 deaths per year.
2. Alcohol use: 88,000 deaths per year.
3. Total credit market debt: $58.7 trillion.
4. Prescription-opioids: 17,000 deaths per year.

Cigarettes, alcohol, and debt can be purchased over the counter, but prescription drugs are where the worst addiction crisis is? Yeah, right. Good luck on that theory.

This must be Pile on Time Magazine Tuesday! All the cool kids are doing it. I know I can't help myself. Sensationalized covers like this hurt us all. It certainly doesn't do my chronically in pain girlfriend any good. Not one bit.


Stagflationary Mark said...

February 2009
Balance, Uniformity and Fairness:
Effective Strategies for Law Enforcement
for Investigating and Prosecuting the Diversion of Prescription Pain Medications While Protecting Appropriate Medical Practice

But, on occasion, overly-sensationalized stories of investigation of doctors have hit the nightly news. When that happens, the resulting chilling effect reaches far beyond a “good” chilling effect on bad actors, and directly affects appropriate medical practice. The consequence is extreme, and not what law enforcement would ever seek – our parents and other loved ones who are in pain simply cannot get the medicines they need.

Shame on you Time Magazine! Shame! Shame!

Joseph Constable said...

I had been taking codeine for 10 years for a chronic neurological condition. I never even developed a tolerance for it as I knew it was possible so I took the Rx for only the worst nights when I couldn't stop the involuntary movements. My doctors trusted me.

Then the hysteria started. And the DEA got involved and told doctors to stop prescribing it. Doctors won't give it to me any longer forcing me to the black market. The very thing the DEA was trying to prevent. Seriously, one doctor told me she would get a visit and an audit.

I can get a nerve pain killer in place of codeine and it has some serious side effects. The bastards.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Joseph Constable,

I am so sorry for you. My girlfriend is coming up on 20 years now. The war on pain killers is ridiculous. We don't all stop driving just because some people seriously abuse the steering wheels and gas pedals.

I have a small hint of what you go through. I was given a total of 70 heavy duty pain pills when I got Shingles. I could have used 180 to be comfortable for four hours each day. The serious pain lasted about 90 days. That's not a whole lot of pills per day. I'd generally take some every other day to at least get some bang for the buck.

The first prescription was for 12 pills. The directions said take 1-2 every 4-6 hours as needed. It was pretty clear to me that I better not need 2 every 4 hours, or I'd be out in a day. And so the rationing began. One did nothing. Took two to get relief.

I was at zero risk of getting addicted. I even had a few leftover at the end. No desire to take them just because I had them. Once the pain was finally low enough, stopping was easy. I wish you and my girlfriend could experience that.

The worst part was not knowing if the pain would go away. It doesn't for everyone. Mine took longer than most. It's still with me a little bit even after a year.

It did give me an appreciation for chronic pain. Every hair on my left arm would stand straight out. That's not even where my Shingles was. It was the left side of my chest that was in serious pain, but the arm was connected.

I looked into other possible drugs, but like you say the side effects seemed awful. I had a hard enough time even taking the placebo known as Tylenol, for what it can eventually do to one's liver.

Who Struck John said...

My girlfriend also as chronic pain (hers is from a back injury suffered several years ago). I wish the regulators could suffer through a tenth of her pain for a month so they'd understand what it feels like.

Tylenol is not your friend. It kills about a hundred people a year through overdoses that wipe out the liver. A study has linked children's Tylenol to the increase in asthma. I prefer to stick to aspirin or ibuprofen. For the worst pains, though, you can pull out both barrels and use Tylenol with aspirin or ibuprofen - Tylenol blocks a different step in pain transmittal than the step that aspirin & ibuprofen work on.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Who Struck John,

I took the maximum daily dose of both Tylenol and Ibuprofen for 3 months when I had Shingles, not that it felt like the combo did much of anything for me. Only the Vicadin made a dent (which also has Tylenol).

Asked for a liver test at my next physical for obvious reasons. I swear Tylenol is mostly just a placebo.

Tylenol Back Pain Study: Acetaminophen Virtually Same as Taking Placebo

A_Nonny_Mouse said...

The DEA did those of us with chronic pain a wonderful favor (not) when they rescheduled hydrocodone last fall.

Now we can't just call the pharmacy for a refill and have the pharmacist take care of the back-end machinations (it USED to be that the pharmacist would call/ fax the physician and have him fax back an authorization for refill). No, sir, too easy.

Now we have to call the doctor's office - not the pharmacy. We have to wait until the office calls back to notify us the paperwork is ready (and by the way-- this can take 2 days to 2 WEEKS; a prudent patient will call THE VERY DAY a new prescription is allowed by their insurance - whether or not they have "enough" pills at that time. It's better to have more-than-you-need on hand than to run out and have to wait and wait and wait on the doctor's convenience.) Then, once notified, we must personally go to the doctor's office, wait in line, show ID, and get the new original paper prescription. Then we drive over to the pharmacy, present the new prescription and show ID again in order for the prescription to be filled.

We get to do this rigamarole every single month, because somebody, somewhere, might somehow get illegal pills and get high, which is much-much-much worse than making some old geezer in pain schlep all over town for his duly-prescribed meds. PRIORITIES!!!

Stagflationary Mark said...


It's horrible and my girlfriend gets to do the same thing now. :(

And let's not forget that travel isn't exactly cheap for the poorest among us. The IRS mileage deduction is 57.5 cents per mile.

An extra 10 miles could easily equal a day's food. Priorities indeed. Sigh.

The War on Pain has to be just about the most pointless and dumbest wars ever fought.

Thanks again Time Magazine for helping to perpetuate it! Not!!