Monday, February 12, 2018

Addressing the Opioid Crisis - Epidemic or Fear Mongering?

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I wish someone would please explain to me the mindset that causes a person with a sudden drop in income to turn to drugs.

"Oh, wow, I can't afford a new car anymore, or the house I bought or the apartment I am renting. So I guess I'll start taking illegal substances that will take more money from my food and housing funds, will make me unfit for a job, cause me to become a stinky, toothless, homeless person and will inevitably cause my death from overdose."

Put drug dealers to work selling cars and they'll be millionaires, legally. If they can sell a person on using drugs, especially with so much of it on display and in the news, they must be supreme salespersons who could sell snow to Canadians.

Or, could it be that many people are genetically predisposed to opioid addiction as some people are predisposed to alcoholism? Even taking one legal dose can set something in their brain awry and they have to have more. This is extremely rare.

So, with the exception of those very few who take legal doses and become addicts due to body chemistry, addiction is a CHOICE. A sad choice, but a choice. Drugs are already cheap; legalizing them can make them no cheaper. Local sources involved in the epidemic or crisis tell me that heroin in many cases is cheaper than BEER.

Whatever it is in some humans that make them addicts should be studied. Surely there is a common denominator on the biochemistry level? Maybe this is a Darwin test for the species? Those who will not become addicted survive and the rest die to thin the herd?
There was a case in Fayette County not long ago of a mother dropping off her child at school, who then overdosed in the car. Her husband overdosed at home, I believe. I was told it was a middle class family. So, it is not a just sudden income change doing this.

The VA prescribes me opioids as necessary for my service connected injuries and after a surgical procedure. I only take them when I can't sleep due to pain, and as soon as the major pain is gone I turn them over to the prescription drug take-backs. They do not make me high or give me a pleasurable feeling, other than pain reduction, because I take them as prescribed. So I cannot see the attraction. Maybe I'm just immune? Almost all the (now older) people I know have taken opioids, post surgical or post injury, with no ill effects and no addiction. Out of the total population of the US, how many people are addicted to opioids? From what I can find, some 2.1 million have some sort of prescription opioid abuse problem. That's around 1/2 of one percent, isn't it? Over ten times that many have admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol. 

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Maybe we are overestimating the problem; who knows? The report is that some 580 people were murdered because of, or over, narcotics (all narcotics) in 2015, while there were some 10,000 killed in alcohol related car wrecks, alone. So, I am 17 times more likely to be killed by a drunk than by a druggie. Actually far more than that, as I have to use the highways where the drunks are, and I try to avoid the areas where drug addicts frequent.

So is the "epidemic" as serious as people say? Or is it fear-mongering to get funding?


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