This book, wow. Talk about a riveting, timely, and crucial read. I learned so much from this about opioids. It’s both a fascinating and jarring book, with much in-depth research. We hear from doctors, read damning remarks from the drug companies, and learn the tragic stories of addicts and their loved ones.
Following finishing this book, if any of my loved ones now were to be prescribed opioids, I would beg them not to take the drug, to find any means possible to instead, endure the pain. The gamble and risk of taking these is just way too high.
Here is some of what I learned via Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy.
- Every single day, more than 130 people die from opioids overdose.
- The Midwestern region – opioid overdoses increased 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017. That’s a 70% increase in one year.
The marketing tact of “Pain as the 5th Vital Sign” is a significant part of why opioid addiction has exploded and spread like wildfire. Purdue Pharma, who created Oxycontin, came up with this branding and tagline. They repeated the mantra to doctors and people alike.
Since then, we’ve come to decide that any degree of pain in one’s body is unacceptable and unnecessary. Thus, just numb it- you need never feel pain.
This thought process is contributing to over-prescribing, as well as a substance abuse mindset. Feel pain? Just take a pill.
Purdue, meanwhile, pushed these drugs (and hard) on doctors via much “free” swag (airline tickets to far-flung locales, cars, extravagant dinners out, ect). Doctors began prescribing them with too much ease and not nearly enough caution. Both, because they were bribed into it, and/or because they weren’t aware of the high-risk factor and addiction potential of the drug.
Eventually, as addiction and deaths began steadily increasing, several angry doctors, as well as loved ones of those who either died from the drugs or who became addicts, pushed back, asking Purdue to reformulate the drug.
Instead, they continued pushing the drug via any means possible. They’ve since been sued many times over.
The risk of addiction developing with opioid use is around 60%. Numerous stories of people who, say, blew out their knee or had surgery on their arm and then were prescribed opioids, addiction is a frequent result.
Following a 1-2 week prescription, many discover the pain of withdrawal when the Rx ends. And thus, addiction is set in motion.
Further, opioid addiction is often a life sentence. More so than alcohol, more so than cocaine or heroin. In fact, opioid addiction frequently leads to heroin use down the road.
People may attempt to get clean around 10-12 times before accruing just 1 year of sobriety.
I highly recommend this informative, well-researched, riveting read.