Big Pharma Promotes Legal Drug Addiction
Many of us believe that Big Pharma must be held accountable for this dangerous opioid trend, especially since several have been caught lying about the benefits and risks of their drugs.
As noted by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), the drug industry has “fostered the opioid addiction epidemic” in several ways, by:
- Introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which prior to reformulation in 2010 could be snorted or shot. Many addicts claimed the high from OxyContin was better than heroin. In fact, from a chemical standpoint, OxyContin is nearly identical to heroin, and has been identified as a major gateway drug to heroin.
- Changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for lower back and other pain conditions that previously did not qualify for these types of drugs. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has had a hand in this problem, although it restricted its promotion of narcotic painkillers to cancer patients.
- Promoting long-term use of opioids, even though there’s no evidence that using these drugs long term is safe and effective
- Downplaying and misinforming doctors and patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs. OxyContin, for example, became a blockbuster drug mainly through misleading claims, which Purdue Pharma knew were false from the start. The basic promise was that it provided pain relief for a full 12 hours, twice as long as generic drugs, giving patients “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.”However, for many the effects do not last anywhere near 12 hours, and once the drug wears off, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, including body aches, nausea and anxiety. These symptoms, in addition to the return of the original pain, quickly begin to feed the cycle of addiction.7
A 2015 article in The Week does a great job revealing the promotional strategy developed by Purdue, and backed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that has led to such enormous personal tragedy.
As noted in this article: “The time-release conceit even worked on the FDA, which stated that ‘Delayed absorption, as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.'”
Other recent research has found that medical marijuana lowers prescription drug use.
The Big Q: Could that be why it hasn’t been rescheduled?
There are no other truly compelling reasons why addictive narcotics like OxyContin are legal, while marijuana, which is extremely unlikely to kill even if one take very high amounts is not.
The video above features W. David Bradford, PhD, whose study was published in the journal Health Affairs in July 2016.
As reported by The Washington Post:“Researchers at the University of Georgia scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law.
The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.”
According to Dr. Bradford, the Medicare program could save $468-M per year if marijuana was legalized in all US states.
Already, $165-M was saved in Y 2013 in the 18 states where medical marijuana was legal that year.
A Y 2015 working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) states that: “If marijuana is used as a substitute for powerful and addictive pain relievers in medical marijuana states, a potential overlooked positive impact of medical marijuana laws may be a reduction in harms associated with opioid pain relievers, a far more addictive and potentially deadly substance.”
Not only did the NBER find that access to state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries resulted in a significant decrease in Rx painkiller overdose deaths, it also led to a 15 to 35% drop in substance abuse admissions.
So, it would seem medical marijuana could actually save thousands of lives that would otherwise be destroyed by painkiller addiction and its lethal consequences.
It is travesty that while the US Senate refuses to release its opioid report, they continue to shell out taxpayer money to Big Pharma, both for addictive painkillers and the drugs to treat addiction.
With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, it is Key to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs.
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