The idea of this “quiet epidemic” that has been subtly added to the mainstream talking points, is only quiet to the politicians who refuse to take action. To the average American, this epidemic is anything but quiet. For years, death, injury and overdose statistics associated with opiate based medications have continued to rise, even with all the right people speaking out. Yet, despite the clear warnings and obvious detrimental effects, the problem not only persists, it continues to skyrocket at the behest of those directly responsible for its rise; and the politicians are quite frankly paid, by way of “campaign contributions” and cushy lobbyists jobs after their term, to look the other way as children and adults alike die at alarming rates … and it’s complete madness.
Even more depressing is the clear parallel this situation has with just about every other facet of US government today. It seems that corruption and collusion are no longer isolated to the “bad apple” analogy that is so often used is such situations, but has now become a prerequisite for government work. This would explain why those truly trying to enact change are all too often simply boxed out, or never make it in Washington to begin with; and why the actions of Congress have seemingly been nonexistent, save for furthering the surveillance state, and the military industrial complex, and the naming of some post offices, which are all clearly of the utmost importance as Americans tear themselves apart from the inside. Unless an action is backed by the right people, or the right corporation, it will not come to pass. What the people want, need, or vote for, no longer factors into the equation.
This was not always the case, or rather, it was not always so obviously the case. If this election did nothing else, it awoke many of those still sleeping in this country to the complete absence of honor and accountability now customary with the average politician, the disintegrating professionalism of mainstream media, and its complete lack of journalistic integrity when politics and corporate sponsors are involved. If nothing else is taken away from this, it’s that Americans need to begin informing themselves and doing their own research, as well as being hyper-critical of anything labeled “news,” as it becomes very easy to allow oneself to be led by falsely comforting information, such as the shockingly negligent coverage of that which kills more people every year then both car accidents and gun violence: Legal prescription medication.
There are over 30,000 deaths every year from opiates in the US alone. To put that in perspective, that’s over 80 deaths a day; roughly one death every 20 minutes. In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined. The below infographic shows just how serious this opiate epidemic has become in terms of overdose deaths per 100,000, per state:
Even more alarming is the fact that these companies have begun attempting to market these drugs to kids. Among children aged 1 to 4 years, the number of opiate poisonings went up 205 percent from 1997 to 2012. For teens 15 to 19, the increase was 176 percent. Overall, the study showed a 165 percent increase in poisonings from opioid painkillers among those 19 and younger.
In addition, poisonings involving the use of heroin among teens increased 161 percent, while poisonings involving methadone went up 950 percent. 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to switch to heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”
As researcher Julie Gaither, a postdoctoral fellow in biostatistics at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, pointed out, access to narcotic painkiller prescriptions has become more restricted recently and the costs of these drugs have increased, teens are turning to heroin, which is cheaper and more readily available. Oddly enough, every country the US has occupied has seen a dramatic increase in opium production. It would seem that either way, these illicit profits find their way back to Uncle Sam.
Related Reading: Operation Enduring Freedom: The United States Opium Trade
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. Despite the best efforts of Big Pharma to control this narrative, with such overkill this can be seen no other way. When one considers the fact that doctors, specialists and patients alike have long since been speaking out about the absolute lack of effectiveness of opiate based painkillers in regards to treating pain–which is absurd when considering that pain treatment is just about the only justifiable reason to use these highly addictive and often lethal medications–the question must be asked, why are they still being used?
“For the vast majority of patients, the known serious and all-too-often-fatal risks far outweigh the unproven and transient benefits,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director.
“We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently,” Frieden and a colleague wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.
When attempting to come to terms with such a devastating problem, that has been allowed to deepen in its severity due to government inaction, it is important to reflect on the simple fact that Americans consume 80% of the world’s supply of prescription painkillers, with only 5% of the world’s population. When Canada and Western Europe are included, that number rises to 95% of the world’s supply of painkillers. Again, when taking into account the stark inefficiency of opiates in dealing with chronic pain, there is just no way to see this situation for anything other than it is: government and pharma industry profiteering at the expense of American health, or more poignantly, American lives.
In Hawaii, doctors wrote 52 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in 2012, which shockingly enough was the least of any state according to a 2014 CDC study. In Alabama, it was almost 143 prescriptions per 100 people, more than anywhere else.
Even the CDC has called for doctors to refrain from prescribing highly addictive, highly inadequate, opiate based pain medications for chronic pain. Yet despite the call to cease such hapless and irresponsible doling out of dangerous medications over 9 months ago, it would seem that doctors are more concerned with next months Cancun “conference” provided by the pharmaceutical reps should they sell enough of the right medication.
Now take a moment and reflect on that…
This is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning all doctors of both the dangers of these medications, and their highly concerning ineptitude. Yet, despite that warning, not only has opiate abuse not subsided, it has continued to dangerously increase. Any time a profit motive, or incentive based dynamic is introduced, there will be those who find ways to create beneficial situations for themselves, it’s simply human nature. Now in the life of an average citizen, that sounds harmless enough, but when public servants and officials are considered, this creates a very clear conflict of interest where one might abuse a position of governmental power or perceived authority to increase their financial gain and societal standing. This is exactly what’s taking place in American hierarchies today, and that which is allowing this gigantic red waving flag of a problem to continue with little to no hinderance.
The most disheartening aspect of this entire problem, is that it’s by no means a new issue. The dangers and failures of opiate painkillers have been widely acknowledged for some time, yet the all-powerful Big Pharma has been wildly successful in suppressing these legitimate concerns by using its monolithic influence and control over the very government agencies put in place to regulate such organizations; because it’s not like Big Pharma is in the business of actually healing people…
What this means is that pharmaceutical companies–whose entire job should be focused on healing–are bribing anyone with the ability to bring this issue further into light to ignore the very real dangers and lack of effectiveness of these medications, ignore their Hippocratic oath, and then simply prescribe them anyway. And that is exactly what is happening, and it goes way beyond painkillers.
As the rise of deaths and addiction directly related to the negligent prescribing of opiates is clearly the most pressing issue in regards to this topic, it is sadly only one aspect of a much larger problem. The pharmaceutical industry now has unparalleled influence over those meant to be regulating its operations, and that is made abundantly clear when confronted with the staggering levels to which Americans are being medicated unnecessarily. Even more so when one looks primarily at those being medicated under the age of 5:
To have over 1,000,000 kids under the age of 5 in the US, on some form of psychiatric drug, would almost be comical if it wasn’t so horrifying. To take that one step further, and yes you did read that correctly, there are 274,804 kids in the US, between zero and one year old that are on some form of psychiatric drug. Putting aside for a second the sickening concept that there are actually parent out there allowing their newborns to be put on antipsychotics, it is important to recognize where the real problem lies: with a system that fosters and rewards such egregious manipulation and exploitation of American citizens. Most Americans will blindly follow their doctor’s orders, even in the face of such obviously bad advice, and many doctors are no doubt following what they were taught. As the adage goes, “If all you have is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail.”
To modern western-trained doctors, every American ailment is a nail, and they were taught that their hammer is the only way to go. The vast majority of them, completely blinded by their own perceived intellect and superiority, have fully bought into this deceptively incorrect path of medicine. One need only research the deceitful rise of western medicine and how certain families used their influence to dictate the direction of medicine in the US, to grasp the extent to which this deception goes. To no surprise, they chose to steer the country’s medical path exclusively toward that which they had complete financial control over: synthetic based pharmaceuticals. In the process, these families successfully closed, forced out, and bankrupted any homeopathic and holistic practitioners and treatments, not for the betterment of the people, but for the betterment of their finances. That in itself is the defining problem of the American experiment; the abuse of power to further personal agendas, veiled as dysfunctional government. This is the exact model on which this country has grown for decades, and by which the clear deviation from American ideals becomes painfully clear.
From the top down, this entire system has been carefully constructed over the years to allow just the type political ambiguity and unaccountability that is currently running rampant. Most every official passes the buck with a deft proficiency, and redirects the people’s attention to anything other than the real problem–which has now forced its way onto the main stage along with its massive body count. And yet, they name it a “quiet epidemic.” The only thing quiet about it, is the deafening lack of action by those who claim to be of the people, for the people, when in reality they are of the elite, for the corporations, while this nation’s children increasingly die as a result.
*Updated March 2017
Sources: https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/people-taking-psychiatric-drugs/, http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-most-chronic-pain-patients-should-avoid-opioids-cdc, 20160315-story.html, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/how-bad-is-the-opioid-epidemic/, http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf, https://www.wired.com/2016/10/america-battling-horrific-opioid-epidemic/, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/10/pills-kill-more-people-than-guns-and-car-crashes.html, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20161031/opioid-overdoses-up-nearly-200-percent-among-kids-teens#1
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