When Purdue Pharma suffered a major lawsuit recently over their handling of OxyContin, I laughed at them in schadenfreude.
I knew it was a complex issue, and I didn’t know exactly how to feel about it at first.
I have recently changed some of my opinions.
. . . .
As a recap: Purdue Pharma got sued because they misrepresented the addictive potential of their products, and this is being widely blamed for creating the heroin epidemic we see today.
Now, there is a little bit of truth to this. If you look at the bigger picture, things do seem a little fishy.
Through the 90s, doctors began prescribing ridiculously high doses of powerful narcotics (OxyContin 80mg pills being the most notable) and giving out opioids like candy.
Earlier in the 1970s, the manufacturers of these opioid narcotics also heavily lobbied against Ibogaine, and the governments of many nations went along with it. The United States had a similar problem with heroin addiction after going into Vietnam. The Nixon administration found that Ibogaine was amazingly effective at actually getting addicts clean, so they placed Ibogaine into Schedule I and began the methadone program.
Shortly after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, our streets were suddenly once again flooded with cheap heroin. It was only years later that confirmed reports began circulating in the media about how we were subsidizing opium farmers there.
This coincided with a major wave of good family-supporting union jobs throughout the midwest and other areas being sold to Mexico, and shortly thereafter, China.
No one really noticed at first, because who gives a fuck about the midwest and the backbone of our manufacturing infrastructure? The coasts were still fine, for a while.
2007 saw the collapse of our economy and subsequent bailout. Banks and insurance companies took the money and ran, and when they came up bankrupt the government decided to take it out on the taxpayers so that we could still have a society. Homeowners defaulted on loans they could never realistically afford.
People who went to college defaulted on their student loan debt that they could never realistically afford.
Without jobs, without money, and surrounded by cheap heroin, it’s no surprise to me what happened next…
. . . .
It makes for a grand conspiracy: Ban the cure for opioid addiction, wantonly write prescriptions to anyone and everyone for addictive narcotics, sink the economy, take everyone’s money and property, flood the streets with cheap heroin and market a solution to heroin addiction where you just stay on other opioids for the rest of your life….
The for-profit prison system loved it, because of all the people being incarcerated.
The CIA loved it, because of all the illegal heroin revenue they were getting.
Big Pharma loved it, because they profited off both the getting people addicted in the first place and then later “treating” these addicts by making them regular lifelong customers.
. . . .
But why do we place so much blame on Purdue Pharma?
They just make the shit, it’s not their responsibility how people use it, or to estimate the dangers of it.
The FDA approved these OxyContin pills. Seems to me that maybe the Food and Drug Administration should have been studying them to assess the risk they may have on the public.
Why is no one blaming the FDA???
Doctors are the ones who were prescribing the pills. Why is no one blaming the doctors?
People are the ones taking the pills. You don’t have to do everything your doctor suggests. You can ask for a 2nd opinion. You can do research on your own.
And I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the whole “I didn’t know it would be a problem” thing. If you didn’t think staying high as a motherfucking kite on addictive drugs every day for years wasn’t going to be a problem, there is something wrong with your basic education.
And I know, I know.. not everyone had internet in the 90s.
There were still libraries.
William S Burroughs wrote in the 50s already that it doesn’t matter which opioid you use or by which route you take it: Needle or pill, heroin or hydrocodone, regular usage of high doses will cause withdrawal symptoms.
Even if you’re fucking illiterate, idk, go ask the old toothless hillbilly who lives in the junkyard and makes moonshine in a secret location outside of town what a lifetime of drinking codeine cough syrup is all about.
It’s not like people didn’t know.
Oxycodone was first invented in 1917…
. . . .
Purdue Pharma does deserve a little blame for their role in all this, but certainly not as much as they’ve been getting.
I would like to see figures, if this could be quantified somehow, but I believe the zero-tolerance negative lashback against ever prescribing opioids to anyone is causing just as much harm to society today as the over-prescribing of them has caused in the past.
The kicker is that all of this is so easily preventable.
If you want to blame Purdue Pharma for anything, blame them for aggressively lobbying to keep Ibogaine illegal. Blame them for lobbying to keep Ayahuasca and Cannabis illegal as well.
Some patients can effectively treat their pain with Cannabis and never need to be on opioids at all.
Many Ibogaine clinics have begun using Ayahuasca for their less severe patients and having great success with it.
It is unfortunate that Ibogaine is still illegal in the U.S., but at the same time I would ask “if you’re willing to break the law and risk your life buying heroin to get high or maintain your addiction and keep from getting sick, why would you not be willing to break the law and risk your life in order to end your addiction?”
. . . .
Read up on “Rat Park Revisited”.
A big part of the anti-Purdue sentiment comes from the fact that they based their propaganda off a single flawed study where a bunch of cancer patients who were using high doses of opioids beat their cancer and many of them got clean and had no problems with addiction.
Okay, well, a big part of our entire paradigm of how addiction works is also based on a single flawed study where they got rats addicted to hard drugs and found these rats were so addicted they kept self-administering drugs in preference of food, not even caring about being shocked by electricity.
In this study, they kept the addicted rats in isolation in cages with nothing to do.
Put any social mammal in a situation of boredom and isolation and they will do fucked up things.
“Rat Park Revisited” decided to repeat the study, except these rats were with their families and friends, in an environment where they had tons of fun stuff to play with and do whatever it is rats like to do.
They took some rats out of that environment, got them addicted to a bunch of hard drugs, and then put the rats back into the park with their friends and families.
An overwhelming majority of the rats immediately lost all interest in the hard drugs and went back to happily doing rat things.
. . . .
Humans are the same. If someone’s life sucks and you give them a bunch of addictive drugs, yeah, they’re probably going to keep seeking the addictive drugs.
A happy, healthy person who has all their needs met – not only financially but socially and emotionally as well – has a very small chance of winding up with an addiction they can’t shake.
Big Pharma does not deserve the amount of blame they’ve been getting over this.
They are a minor player.
If you need someone to blame for the heroin epidemic, blame the bankers and stock brokers who sunk our economy.
Blame the politicians – from both parties – who wrote and signed NAFTA. Be weary of the TPP and vote out any politician who supports it.
If you don’t like your representative, fire them.
Blame the politicians who invaded Afghanistan.
Blame the CIA for making deals with opium farmers in Afghanistan and Cartels in Mexico.
Do blame Big Pharma for lobbying against Ibogaine, and blame the politicians who went along with it.
These are the reasons we have a heroin epidemic. The notions that responsible use of opioid therapy for patients who live in a free country with a strong economy is what is causing the heroin epidemic is preposterous as all the other “gateway drug” theories.
Prohibition is once again hurting more than it is helping.
We are better than this America!