West Virginia Under Siege
I came across this news story about a town close to where I was raised. Over a very short time, a ridiculously high amount of highly addictive pain drugs were shipped to this town … legally. I’m not going to get into the story, as it’s better that you watch the video first. Also, side note: I know we’re a politically divided country right now. However, even if you hate MSNBC, this piece is still perfectly balanced. This same article could be on WSJ easily. So, watch the video and then come back to this post afterwards. I’ll wait.
Oh good, you’re back. So, I’ll start by saying capitalism is an amazing system, but we must be careful when profit is put above health. There are better options to managing and solving pain than taking a pill that can have devastating side effects. The real unfortunate thing is that both patients (who are “overburdened with their busy and demanding lives”) and doctors (who are “overburdened with their busy and demanding work”) take the fast way out and have a pill exchange not very different from buying drugs on the corner. Neither one sees it this way at the time, but it can quickly go that way.
The opiate crisis had roots in WV when doctors overprescribed OxyContin as a “safe” drug. I know this because I knew of people in as early as the late 90s getting hooked on it. This was years before the rest of the country knew about the “oxy” crisis, which has since shifted to the “heroin epidemic”.
So, in a kind of crazy way, the pharmaceutical companies have perverted capitalism to the point where they are the legal “crack dealers” of America. It is completely reasonable for a company to sell their products where there is a high demand, and I completely understand that. Supply and demand, right? However, when you put people’s health and LIVES at great risk and create an epidemic that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago, well that’s infuriating.
Here’s the thing: as a chiropractor, I’m a large believer in looking for the “cause” and not the “symptom”. The cause of this problem may have many roots, but in the end we must determine as a society that we as individuals are going to take control of our health. Individual responsibility is the only thing that can truly rise above this crisis, because even if overprescribing activities reduce, the pharmaceutical industry has inadvertently created the new “drug war” that already has too great a hold on many parts of the country.
This is not a sales pitch in any way, but if you know someone who is on the verge of being placed on dangerously addictive pills to manage back, knee, shoulder, etc pain, please send them to our office first. I will personally waive the first visit fees to see folks who don’t want to turn to addictive pain meds. It’s not a lot, but maybe it’s enough to stop a problem. before it can begin. – Dr P