Exchange one pain for another; pain killers of the newest medical advances seem to serve the greatest purpose – to improve condition of life, in times of terminal illness, pain due to physical accidents, and any conditions causing physical discomfort. At what expense do we exchange these pains? Who is truly on the “receiving end” of this relief? And who’s filtering what we, the community, know about it.
Let’s first address what pain relief consists of: Prescription narcotics, also known as opioid pain relievers. Used for severe pain, not treatable by non-inflammatory and other minor painkillers. These medications work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, that block the pain response. Oxyacetylene being the most common of these medications, was created in 1916, in Germany, it was among many semi-synthetic opioids. They are made of Opium (lachryma papaveris), the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. The poppy tears, are chemically processed to produce both prescription narcotics and heroin. That is in fact what all of the “legally prescribed pain medications” are, government approved and promoted heroin.
Narcotic pain killers are as heavily addictive as heroin is, only more readily available, socially acceptable, and in a lot of cases encouraged as a suitable “Band-Aid” solution for pain. Consecutive use from as little as few days to a week causes a physical dependency. This occurs because of normal adaptations to chronic exposure to the drug, leaving the necessary dose on a constant upwards climb. This being the beginning of a slippery slope to a deadly addiction. The physical withdrawal to an opioid dependency include: anxiety, sweating, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body ache, cramping and even death. The effects on the body are extensive, and that’s only the body….. The mind and spirit are where the real pain lies. Addiction doesn’t discriminate on age, sex, race, social class, creed, religion, or lack of religion. No one is immune to its grip, it’s fierce in all its forms.
Somewhere along the lines, we have been made to believe from a young age that addiction is a moral deficiency, exercised by weak-minded people. That it’s a personal choice made by born criminals, it’s a very misunderstood illness, that comes with stereotypes and preconceived judgments that often we are unaware that we are making. Addiction is a medically proven disease. Genetic predisposition playing a key role and exposure of course tailing right behind it. Resources for recovery assistance and outreach are slim and awareness even lower. It’s one that comes with a personal cost to the addict greater than any amount of funding could begin to cover, a great deal of damage to themselves, relationships and life style in general is caused in even short lived active addictions. This can’t go without saying that we have made some incredible strides in the past decade, with opening safe injection sites, treatment centers and outreach centers in our communities across Canada, but as far as prescription drugs the numbers have been on the rise and quickly. Every day in North America 150 people die of a prescription narcotic overdose. Very few of the prescription narcotics on the street are coming from anything other than physicians that hand them out. The problem that lies here is that 80% of the prescription for narcotics are handed out by 20% of our physicians.
There was another “Band-Aid” solution brought to the table due to the evident epidemic of abuse in our medical prescription area. The numbers are mind blowing, its estimated 26.4 million and 36 million people worldwide abuse opiate painkillers. Yes, these are the same painkillers that a doctor would prescribe for a serious condition to help with the pain. With our accidental over dose numbers quadrupling since 1999. The methadone program was introduced, yet another legally prescribed narcotic, used primarily for treatment of addiction to heroin and prescription medications but also for chronic pain management. It is 90% stronger then heroin and even more seriously addictive. It lasts 24 hours and in the patients system, and is designed to help them remain clean off of opiates, and the goal is to eventually taper off methadone. A lot of people refer to it as liquid handcuffs, as many never get off of methadone. Designed by Hitler during the holocaust and now handed out as a tool to keep the suffering in line. These methadone clinics aren’t government run, but are personally owned, so every person on the program is a 7$ profit to the owner per injection, need we say more. Why would they want to help people get off prescription narcotics when they are pocketing the profits?
The pessimistic image projected of addicts is about to come full circle, our eyes are more likely to be turned blind to what we think deserves little sympathy – we hand out a medication (expensive and very profitable for pharmaceutical companies) that causes an increasingly debilitating illness. Living in active addiction, spending God knows a remarkable amount of money, and crucifying there emotional and mental stability and well-being, they in turn need treatment, whether that be methadone, rehabilitation, or alternative drugs, lower doses, and new drug brands to assist in withdrawal management. This triggers a life long struggle with substance abuse along with antidepressant, anti-anxiety/ anti-psychotic and other chemical imbalance medications, to assist in all of the imbalances induced by substance abuse which came initially from a prescription “pain killer”. Of course this leaves the pharmaceutical companies with large recurring profits and the initial patient that walked through the physicians door in a world they never imagined.
It’s big business for physicians and the pharmaceutical companies. The patients who came in for “pain relief” are commodities in a hard to break almost never ending cycle of pharmaceutical cocktails. So, if you are ever prescribed painkillers, make sure that you are aware of the possible dangers that you may be getting into. Addiction is a disease and once you are on that road, it’s difficult to get off of it, but it can be done with lots of hard work and support from family, friends and loved ones.