[lbo-talk] Worst Epidemic in U.S. History? Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause of Death for Americans Under 50

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Wed Jun 7 11:54:38 PDT 2017


This is another cruel no-brainer, all over again, and here Amy Goodman doesn't even begin to ask the right questions about opioid use. We may know what follows, but just as a reminder, when we read about this problem: go to the roots, inquire of those affected about their lifestyles and especially the life chances of people taking on and then becoming addicted to opioids. Expose the hollow, onerous, alienated economic and social conditions in which so many strive to exist. Pursue why these epidemics have been predominantly in poor areas, why the so-called war on drugs was a monstrous hoax and diversion, why so many poor generally and non-whites in particular are in prison over the years on drug-related charges, why in an increasingly insecure and hopeless-seeming world opioid use recurs with a vengeance, beyond the ghetto and into the so-called middle class and among the aged, why so many over 50 that I see in my local Kroger affiliate can barely walk, are obese, in pain and look like death incarnate, what kind of bad working and empty living situations they've sustained over their active years, why pointing to the wrong conclusions exacerbates the problem in that it once more diverts badly needed attention from what is really going on in the world. Why restriction simply leads to the prohibitively expensive black market, where the problem worsens.

The doctor interviewed by Amy repeatedly ascribes the epidemic to over-prescription by doctors.senselessly blaming supply for demand; but more appositely, possibly the doctors know something about what people are going through that Amy and friend don't go near. That's certainly true of my very humane primary care physician.

My life partner has intense pain, almost constantly, from multiple sclerosis. They are now, through abuse of the regulatory system incrementally restricting availability of opioids over the coming year for people like her by refusing to allow prescription or insure medication beyond a restricted period. She is affected, in that her condition though unbearable does not constitute a terminal illness for which they will allow extended opioid use, and she's likely to struggle in agony through a normal life expectancy - all in another failed, mindless reaction to a problem with obvious but verboten remedies. We don't know what we"re going to do for her when that happens.

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