The Opiate Crisis: An Ethical Dilemma

How dare they. How fucking DARE they. Prepare for the rant of a lifetime.

I know. I know what you’re thinking.

“Didn’t you just post something saying you weren’t going to post on this website anymore?”

And in fact, you would be correct. But this, folks, THIS requires publication on a site that is relevant towards mental health because those of us who are apart of this marginalized community are being targeted once again. And quite ruthlessly. And have been since the beginning of this pathetic scapegoat of a problem called the “Opiate Crisis.”

Let me clarify: the crisis is indeed real. It is authentic and it is terrifying. People are dying. Children are dying. Mothers are dying. Fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, are dying. Fentanyl is being mixed with Heroin. Doctors are standing on the roof tops of their clinics tossing bottles of 60 Oxycodone pills to whoever cares to play catcher.

Why do I call the opiate crisis a pathetic scapegoat? For one reason and one reason only: it’s distracting us from the true perpetrators of the crisis in the first place. Those of you who have followed this website for the past four years, and specifically the last two years, know where this is fucking going.

*Knock knock* Big Pharma? Big Pharma! Hey, it’s me, open up. We have to talk.*Cocks shotgun*

I just finished watching a clip of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (who I think is such a brilliant replacement for Stephan Colbert, who I also loved) where Trevor mentions Trump’s claims that Mexico is to blame for all the drugs and crime coming into America. I didn’t care about Trump’s words, I’m used to him saying unfounded statements. What I cared about was what came next.

Trevor describes a doctor, one Barry Shultz I believe his name was, who managed to dispense 800,000 opiate tablets over a period of 16 months to his patients from the pharmacy in his clinic, some of which were prescribed with 60 Oxycodone a day. He justified this by stating “Sixty a day is a large number, I admit. But, if it’s taken properly–”

The reporter asks how to take 60 Oxycodone a day properly. The doctor replied, “some people need that dose”.

No. Some people don’t need that dose. What YOU need is that check you receive from the pharmaceutical companies for pushing their product.

Then, came the claims I was waiting for. Then, came the pharmaceutical companies which were caught falsifying information and bribing doctors; if these five specific doctors chose to push a specific Fentanyl spray they, combined, were awarded over 800,00 dollars, treated to lavish dinners, and granted access to specialized strip clubs. That was Insys theraputics. Purdue Pharmaceutical was sued by their state under the grounds that they were personally responsible for launching the opiate crisis. I don’t know how truthful that claim can be, but the company did admit (in 2007) that they had purposefully misled doctors and consumers on the truth of their opiate’s addictive properties.

The company chose to create a strategy to get the feds off their back. In an email from 2001, chairman Richard Sackler, stated quaintly: “We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

Well. Look who’s calling the fucking kettle black. “Reckless criminals.” And what the fuck are you, mister former Purdue Pharmaceutical chairman? A saint? A fucking angel? What a sack of shit.

This is a game people, a game of chess, and innocent human lives are the betting agent.

This doesn’t just happen with opiates, it happens with psychiatric medication too–lying about efficacy, pushing doctors to diagnoses specific conditions to prescribe certain medications, insurance companies refusing to pay for therapy unless a client is diagnosed and medicated. I mean, the history of Johnson and Johnson C.E.O Alex Gorsky says it all. I will forever fucking bash his name.

People seem to forget the history of what is slowly becoming the least dangerous of all opiates: heroin. People seem to forget that morphine, derived from an opiate substance, was also once killing people (and still is) on an astronautical level due to its addictive properties. People seem to forget that a chemist then synthesized heroin, a very pure heroin, and a pharmaceutical company pounced on it. That synthesized pure heroin was advertised as an alternative to morphine that was not addictive.

Little did they know, right?

Cocaine in the united state was processed in a similar fashion. Most street drugs that don’t include a plethora of battery acid and other ridiculous chemicals, street drugs that are derived in some form from a plant, were often first in the hand of pharmaceutical giants. That’s how the public got their hands on it. Why do you think the idea of legalized marijuana is terrifying? I’m not sure how someone could fuck up marijuana, but leave it to people like Alex Gorsky and Richard Sackler and I’m sure they’ll find a way.

My point is that the opiate crisis is not the addicts fault. It’s not the drug’s fault. It’s not even the doctor’s who relinquish their will and fall ill to the temptation of strippers and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s the company which lies, which manipulates, and which dictates these disgusting actions.

This isn’t an opiate crisis. It’s an ethical crisis. It’s a philosophical, moral crisis.

Change my mind.

Not Fake News

We need some good stories. Especially these days.

With Trump claiming he got the most electoral votes since Reagan, and then being contradicted immediately by a reporter who listed Obama’s stats, and George Bush’s stats when Trump tried saying “he was talking about republicans”, it’s nice to be able to talk about something much more positive than this moron.

His response to the reporter was “well, I’m just told these things, I don’t actually know”.

200_s

Anyway, enough of that. I watched a video on the YouTube channel VICE news the other day, about a shelter for the “mentally ill” in Mexico, created by a Pastor named Jose Antonio Galvan. I was interested because the title used the word asylum, and I honestly thought they were going to talk about horrible conditions and horrible treatment of the mentally unstable in Mexico. That was my stereotype and assumption.

It was the exact opposite.

Galvan started this shelter in 1995 with the intent to provide home, care, understanding, and compassion for those living on the street who struggle mentally either because of drug induced illness (something like meth psychosis for example) or not. He himself has a history of such things, including an incident which he talks about in the video: seeing hallucinations telling him to attack a preacher on the street who was spewing the word of God. He attacked the preacher with a bottle, cut the preacher’s forehead, and the preacher placed his hand on his head and prayed for him. That was a defining moment for Galvan.

Their government isn’t the most stable. Everyone and their mother knows the country is controlled more so by drug cartels than actual political officials. There’s not a lot of funding or wealth, or solid community structures. Galvan does point out, however, that everyone else gets some kind of care: except those struggling mentally. So he decided to change that. He said only those who had been through such things could understand. He said at Vision En Accion (Vision In Action) the point was to treat humans like humans, to have compassion for those struggling after having been through similar struggle yourself.

Peer support; that’s what he’s doing. Can you imagine how excited I got? You all know me. I found their Facebook page and their website.¬†¬†Click them. It’s good to read stories like these today.

Now, the landscape, the available services, the healthcare, it’s all different over there where Galvan is compared to us here in the U.S, so they still use terms like asylums and they don’t have proper housing for people who are particularly violent. They’re kept in rooms with bars according to the video. That’s not preferable, but this man and his team are doing more for those citizens than anyone else probably ever has. They don’t treat them poorly behind the bars, they at least get good food and can stay clean and get compassionate support mentally . . . they just kinda, you know, gotta stay in a cage. Like I said, not preferable.

But when you think about it, it’s not much different from isolation in hospitals over here. So get off your high horse and let’s not be so quick to judge. Just because we paint our bars a nice pretty white, call it a door, and decorate the halls with “trained and educated professionals” doesn’t mean a thing. Remember, America is notorious for embellishing shit to make it look like blooming roses.

If you have a passion, if you have an idea, don’t worry the idea into extinction about how you’re going to do it, what you need to do it, or if it would even work. Just do it. That’s how organizations get started, that’s how lives are changed. At one point in my life, I would love to volunteer here and include Vision En Accion in the growing spectrum of compassionate healthcare.