So… Where Are We at with the Opioid Epidemic?

Kate Harveston

Kate Harveston is originally from Williamsport, PA and holds a bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing about health and social justice issues. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found curled up reading dystopian fiction or hiking and searching for inspiration. If you like her writing, follow her blog, So Well, So Woman.

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10 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    @kolohe’s comment on the Clancy thread was just too perfect to leave there:

    UNDER SIEGE captures a chilling nightmare scenario, one that has already devastated Columbia and sent shock waves around the world. In a novel as immediate and gripping as tomorrow’s headlines, the war against drug lords is exploding within the borders of the United States–striking at the very center of American government.

    When the kingpin of the Medellin drug cartel is extradited to Washington, D.C. to start trial, President George Bush is severely wounded by a hired assassin. Vice President Dan Quayle assumes the responsibility for directing the fight against a criminal army that now rules the streets.

    Grafton is now member of joint service team that plan military aid for anti-drug campaigns. He is assigned to a local National Guard unit to battle the cartel, right in Washington DC. The president is shot down in his helicopter. Snipers shoot a senator, chief judge of the Supreme Court, and the attorney general. Worse, local drug dealers use the opportunity to battle among themselves with grenade launchers.

    Army, national guard, police, FBI, and secret service hunt the assassins. The cartel strikes back at a National Guard armory. Washington DC’s population, fed up with drugs, rally and lynch hundreds of addicts.


  2. LTL FTC says:

    I’ve read that, while big cities are taking steps to reduce mass incarceration, the opioid crisis is driving rural people into prisons in numbers that offset urban declines. Whether that will wake up a larger constituency to criminal justice reform is yet to be seen.

    I’m not sure that racial solidarity will make white people see people convicted of crimes as worthy of consideration/sympathy in the same way as the black community. After all, there is no other “oppressor” to blame if people aren’t getting mad at Big pharma and still identify with cops. White identity politics is on the rise, but old habits die hard.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I know that conspiratorial thinking is not likely to be particularly fruitful but… damn. I can’t help but notice that opioids are patentable and responsible for billions of dollars in profits and the corporations that make them are willing to spend millions on lobbying.

    Studies seem to show that legal marijuana lowers opioid use. So, of course, opioid manufacturers are involved with lobbying against legalized marijuana. Gillibrand, at least, has noticed and has called big pharma out… but, man.

    I’m trying to avoid conspiratorial thinking… but the argument that the system has been captured is one that I can’t escape. Congress is complicit, the FDA is complicit, the Attorney General is complicit. The people who get hurt don’t matter beyond their ability to pay for more of the product.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t think you need conspiratorial thinking in this case – the pharma companies are doing what is individually rational and profitable for them. Collusion / conspiracy is unnecessary to explain the observed behaviour.Report

  4. DavidTC says:

    Where Are We at with the Opioid Epidemic?

    Oh, the Opioid Epidemic is going quite well, thanks for asking.Report

  5. atomickristin says:

    Fun side effect of all this is, when you go to the doctor with pain-involved health problems that are not glaringly obvious, at least some of them now immediately dismiss you as a drug seeker (in addition to a hypochondriac and a hysteric, if you’re a woman). This in turn leads to more medical expenditures than would otherwise be required as patients have to go back again and again saying “no, seriously, something is actually wrong here” and often ending up with delayed treatments that cost more money than they should have if you would have been if simply taken seriously to begin with.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to atomickristin says:

      Argh, that must be really frustrating. I wonder if it would make it better or worse if a person went in with “I hope to get the root cause of my pain addressed, not its symptom suppressed. I do not want opioids and if you prescribe them I will tear the prescription and leave it in the wastebasket in your office.”

      I start getting dependent on opioids pretty quickly, to the point where I’d be a bit nervous of taking them even if it were medically indicated.Report

      • atomickristin in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Yes, it’s been pretty irritating. It took 2 years to get in to see a specialist or even to get anything but the most basic of tests, because the immediate assumption seemed to be that unless one is visibly dying, they are at the doctor for some nefarious purpose.

        I wish I’d thought of the “I’m not here for drugs” angle to begin with but doctors seem all too eager to assume “this person is here for attention” too. It’s a catch 22 because doctors seem to on the one hand think “if something is really wrong, they’ll come back later” but at the same time “this person keeps coming back, they are obviously lonely/bored/mentally ill.”Report

  6. George Turner says:

    The 1960’s called. They want their drug debate back.Report