Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hopelessness, drugs, and salesmanship

Excellent article on the opioid epidemic,  which is crushing rural America.

Several take-home quotes:

First, this eye-opening statistic.
Drug companies were pouring opioids into West Virginia, delivering 780m painkillers into a state of just 1.8m people over a five year period to 2012, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
As one recovering addict says,
“Addiction brings out the worst in people. Pure souls turn black. Even with the nicest person, the happiest person. They end up robbing and stealing. Hurting people.”
The person turning dark may not be the addict, but the one benefiting from him.  Read that first statistic again, and then this from a former doctor:
Salesmen were threatening to back legal action against doctors who resisted patients’ demands for OxyContin

“I got the bulk of my education about opioid narcotics from drug reps. They’d come in with a glossy brochure and tell us, you need to be writing this now,” he said. “It was aggressive.”

Among Purdue’s tactics, state investigators later found, were salesmen threatening to back legal action against doctors who resisted patients’ demands for OxyContin.
What was that about a black soul?  It's symptomatic of the US now:  profits over people, profits from the misery of people.

And what's to be done?
“I never could get the word out. It seems like there’s more hopelessness than any one person can do anything about. I try,” she said.
And that is how Trump happens.

1 comment:

Marshall Scott said...

NPR recently reviewed the history of the words of one physician, taken out of context, that drug companies used to assure regulators that these drugs could not be linked to addiction. IT, you and I work in contexts where research is critical; and so know as well that misuse of research, or of the writings of researchers, can open the door for all sorts of mischief.

I have been heard to say, often enough, that "for-profit healthcare is a sin." I have absolutely included in that the pharmaceutical industry. Mind you, as things are in our economy they are always going to focus on profit. So, it behooves our regulators, first, to actually regulate, and second, to do so intelligently, using good data. Somewhere in there I believe it is still possible to balance the good of shareholders in the sense of stocks, and also shareholders in the sense of the larger society (of which the first group are also a part). How do we remind the first group, that they are accountable both to and for the larger group?