Heroin is bad for you. Everybody knows it. Even some dude selling it out of his car knows it and he’d never try to tell you otherwise. Who would try to tell you that heroin is helpful?
Doctors, major pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare software manufacturers, that’s who. Here at Scioto County Daily News, we’ve reported this week on the startling news that close to 1 billion MME of morphine in the form of over 48 million pills were shipped to Scioto County over the course of eight years. A county with around 75,000 residents. If you do the math, it comes out to 617 pills per person. Mexican cartels could only hope to be able to move that much product. Turns out our worst nightmare was a drug pusher with an unlimited PR budget.
Of course, cartels can’t get your doctor to bill Medicaid for your baggy of black tar heroin. Why would doctors widely prescribe a known dangerously addictive drug for everything from backaches to headaches? In a word: “marketing.” Now, I’m not talking about pill mill operators. They are greedy, unethical monsters who don’t even deserve to be called doctors. I’m talking about decent physicians who actually care about patients. Many say they were oversold the benefits and mislead about the safety of these “new” extended-release opiates by pharmaceutical reps. I worry about people with medical degrees that think you should believe what salesmen tell you. The other shocking revelation (at least to me) this week was that a major medical software company took money from pharmaceutical companies to place pop-ups in medical records software that reminded doctors to suggest opioids.
The absolute worst thing is that opioids are lousy painkillers. They are great for surgery and post-surgery and a blessing for short-term end-of-life care. But multiple studies show that when it comes to things like severe chronic back pain, they don’t provide any better long-term relief than taking Tylenol or Aleve.
I’m not going to list all the adverse side effects of opioids. In Scioto County, we know them all too well. Oh wait, I lied. Nausea, lung infection, heart infection, muscle pain, falls, breathing difficulties, addiction, and death by overdose. And lets not even touch on the destruction of our society.
God in heaven, the people of this area have suffered beyond measure with the unending side effects of pain relievers that aren’t even that good at relieving pain. We know the government and insurance companies hate to pay for physical therapy but imagine if Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies had been willing to pay for 48 million physical therapy sessions. Or even 48,000.
This is one of the worst cases of mass-poisonings I’ve ever heard of. Good God, we’d have been better off if they’d decided to drop a bomb on us. It would have been easier to dig out of. Murders. F#%!ing murders.
One note. I’m pretty much a Libertarian. I don’t care if you want to drink, smoke, take drugs, or gamble away your life savings. But when companies that are supposed to make medicine, conspire with companies that make software, and with doctors to convince you to a highly addictive drug with horrible side-effects and little therapeutic benefit and it’s paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance funds meant for drugs that help people, it is not only an ethical betrayal, it’s a crime. Like I said, f#%!ing murders.