Death for Profit
The over-prescription of opioids has had major consequences on people’s families, health, and the war on drugs. As reported by the CDC in 2020, a total of 142,816,781 opioid prescriptions were dispensed. This has called Doctors into question on the abundance of opioids being prescribed to patients and if the patient really needs the opioid. Doctors have also run into legal trouble as of late for the over prescribing of opioids; facing the loss of their license, fines, and prison time. Although the Doctors are seemingly doing it for a check; I would like to look at the families destroyed by opioids, the effects of opioids in the drug market, and the health risks of opioids.
Families all over America have been affected in many ways by the overprescription of opioids. Besides the obvious loss of life from overdosing on opioids; families also face the scary realities of addictions. As it is known that addicts who are in need of their drug will do anything possible to get it. This addiction can play a role in domestic abuse, as more than half of domestic abuse cases are connected to drug and alcohol use. The major problem that has been discovered in homes dealing with opioid addiction is communication. In an experiment posted by Wolters Kluwer, “three groups were made to understand family communication and overall well-being of young adults in the context of familial opioid misuse using the family systems framework; group 1 had no familial opioid misuse with high family cohesion, group 2 had familial opioid misuse with moderate family cohesion, and finally group 3 was those with or without familial opioid misuse and low family cohesion. Group 3 had the lowest family communication out of all the groups as well as a lower overall well-being compared to group 1.” Wolters Kluwer wrote, the results showed that higher family cohesion may positively influence young adults to cope with issues related to familial misuse. Families who have been affected by opioid misuse face internal problems, where bad experiences lead to negative family cohesion. With no good emotional bonds to family members, children feel disconnected to family members who use and don’t use. This can cause a separation in the household emotionally for children and spouses/husbands.
For doctors though, they do not have to see this ugly side of opioid abuse. No, for doctors who are immoral they just keep refilling their patients prescriptions. Doctors who go down this immoral path have been coming to light through investigations conducted by law enforcement. Doctors appear to be getting paid on the back end for just prescribing an opioid. As the industries who produce opioids have become very invested in getting doctors to prescribe their opioids for a back end payment. It has been reported now that countless doctors have fallen for the temptation of taking the money at the expense of the public’s health while leaving families devastated.
Doctors over prescribing opioids seem to forget the short and long term effects of opioids on their patients body. If a patient is hooked to opioids they are obviously going to come back to that said doctor to get more until that doctor says no. If the doctor never says no, then the patient feels, why should I stop coming and stop taking these pills that make me feel good. With patients blind to the notion and doctors filling their pockets, patients get stuck in addiction. From this patients could experience experience these short term health risks muscle and bone pain so severe that you will think the medicine did not work so I need to take more, restlessness to the point where you can not sit still, diarrhea, insomnia which triggers stress and anxiety besides not being able to sleep, cold flashes, goosebumps, and vomiting. These are only the short term effects that can make you feel like you’re almost dying. As for the long term effects of opioid use this will include cardiovascular complications (heart problems), increased risk of fractures (your bones become weaker), infections, sleep-disordered breathing (upper airway dysfunction), bowel dysfunction, and overdose which more often than not leads to death. Although these short term and long term effects seem scary, for people who are addicted to opioids there is one last risk known as withdrawal effects. Withdrawal effects for opioids typically start 12 hours from the last dose. These withdrawal effects are common to heroin withdrawals which include shakes, sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, headaches, insomnia, runny nose, yawning, and tearing; and that’s just the physical side effects. Emotional withdrawal effects include being emotional, depression, anxiety, agitation, irritability, and a lack of mental clarity. Although doctors understand these risks including possible addiction, why do doctors still use this drug? It seems doctors use it for their own benefit of financial gain rather than using it for the reasons that were first set out for this drug. At first opioids were specifically used for pain management and after serious surgeries; patients would take the opioids home just in case they felt severe pain. Unfortunately though over time corruption seemed to take root in our medical fields, this root appears to be greed. Now do not get me wrong there are doctors who still prescribe opioids for a good purpose for patients and do not mean to send their patients down an addiction spiral, but other doctors do it for their own personal gain.
As the war on drugs rages on, so does the war on opioids, as its been reported by grandview research, the opioid industries market value has been evaluated at 22.66 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 with a projection in 2022 to be evaluated at 22.77 billion dollars. To make matters worse the revenue forecast for 2030 is expected to be 25.33 billion dollars. If you can not tell there is a lot of money being made off of opioids and the prominent global companies who push the production of opioids includes; Purdue Pharma L.P., Johnson & Johnson Services inc., Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC, Pfizer inc, AbbVie inc., Sanofi, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, and finally Grunenthal. These companies are major forces in the production of opioids and have lead to countless deaths because of addiction. What is not talked about too often is how people make the switch from prescription opioids to street heroin or meth. This is caused by doctors who kept filling their patient’s prescriptions and then stopped suddenly because of the legal measures taken now to stop opioid addiction; or because the doctor is a good doctor and realizes this patient is using these opioids for the wrong reason. Once this happens the addict will do anything to experience the high so they do not suffer from withdrawals. This is when addicts make the transition to street drugs; which is even worse. From there typically it is a rollercoaster ride for the addict and families; as the addict attempts to battle his or her unstoppable addiction. Unfortunately many people have lost their lives to this battle with few survivors walking away from their addictions with good health.
It is unfortunate how one little opioid pill can alter the events in someone’s life for the worse. But what is even worse is the people we trust and who are supposed to keep us healthy give us these pills; our doctors.