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[ Opinion ]

You’ve Got to be shitting me!


Why are the pharmaceutical companies promoting and advertising drugs to treat the side effects of long term opioid use. Why make the side effects from taking the drugs that are robbing people of their lives so manageable? Why not just promote non addictive drugs or alternate means of pain management? Call me crazy or just plain pissed, but aren’t we in the midst of the worst opioid epidemic known to man? Aren’t addicts dying in record numbers from legally prescribed opioid overdoses? 

Yet, here we are once again having Big Pharma cashing in on the disease they helped create. Haven’t they made enough money destroying the lives of those now addicted to the poison pills they marketed as safe. Fooling both the prescribing physicians and their patients into thinking the Oxy’s, Percs, and Vicodin were a gift from the pain gods. Pharmaceutical companies have been taking advantage of the American pain problem ever since Perdue Pharma produced the opioid OxyContin.

My question is when will the madness end? When will enough be enough?How many lives have to be lost before Big Pharma calls it a day and disappears into the sunset. Do they not read the studies. Addiction to their magic pills killed 44,000 people in 2015. Yet, they continue to manufacture the poison, doctors continue to prescribe the poison and helpless people continue to die from this poison.

Perdue Pharma is a family business. A very rich family who reportedly earned $14 million dollars pedaling it’s poison pills. According to multiple articles, the Sackler’s built the 16th largest fortune in this country. Their marketing tactics are one of the reasons these drugs are flooding the market for all types of pain. Most of this fortune comes from the OxyContin that they manufacture like M&M’s. Except M&M’s aren’t responsible for the large number of fatal overdoses.

The research is available to everyone. If you Google opioid addiction you with be flooded with more information than your printer can handle. That’s what puzzles me. The truth is out there. The proverbial cat is out of the bag. Perdue Pharma has been called on the carpet for lying about the addictive property of their poison. They paid a fine and skipped away. Yet, they continue to flood the pharmaceutical market with OxyContin. Haven’t enough lives been destroyed, enough families broken apart?

So now we have Salix Pharmaceuticals jumping on the money making bandwagon. Advertising their new wonder drug, Relistor, for of all things, Opioid Induced Constipation. Let me just tell you how shocked I was to see that snail crawling across my screen during the most watched sporting event, The Super Bowl. I wonder just how much that ad cost? Makes me think Salix is banking on Relistor as a major money maker. After all if 38 million people suffer from Opioid Induced Constipation or (OIC) as its fondly becoming known and see the advertising we know opioid users will be flocking to their doctors for scripts to make using their opioids an even more pleasurable experience. So now it’s out there, an expensive new drug to treat one side effect of a killer. Marketed to millions of opioid users.

Let’s not focus on the biggest side effect, death. Let’s not encourage physicians to find alternate means of pain control. Let’s just formulate another drug to make another pharmaceutical company rich. People swallow pills because they trust the doctors who prescribe them. People from all walks of life taking medication only to discover they are now hooked. The original pain long forgotten as the pain from cravings surpass the original need.

At one time this commercial wouldn’t have even caught my attention. At one time, opioids were only prescribed for terminal cancer patients. Now because of the false claims by Perdue Pharma, doctors prescribe these addictive drugs for everything from post op pain to arthritis. Addiction to pain killers surpasses all other chronic diseases in the number of people affected. It also kills more people than gun violence and car accidents. 

I guess some would call me bitter. Just a grieving mother. Why should I have an opinion about opioids, their abuse and side effects. Why should I care that a new drug is being marketed to allow those chronically using opioids to not become so uncomfortable that they might just rethink the harm that is being inflicted on their bodies ability to function normally. Really, just how hard is it to poop? Maybe if what came so natural and easy before would return to being just another trip to the bathroom if their opioid use would cease. Wow, what a thought. Stop using your opioids and get your body and life back. But no, even with all the research showing how damaging these drugs are to the human body and brain, how they cost those using their families, jobs and frequently their lives, the main focus of the pharmaceutical companies are to manufacture and market new drugs to make taking these highly addictive drugs easier.

I guess you can call me bitter. As a nurse and mother of one victim of the overprescribing of opioids, I would think that rather than spending time and money inventing drugs to diminish the uncomfortable side effects of opioid use, the pharmaceutical companies would research and produce new drugs that would curb the cravings providing an escape for those addicted.

Medications that would be available from your personal physician. Medication that is not only affordable but doesn’t require you to line up at the crack of dawn to get your daily dose.

You can bet that whenever I see that snail crawling across my TV screen I will be hitting the change channel button. I will be thinking of the Sacklers and those who will now be making their fortune selling Relistor. I will remember how hard it was for my son, Matt, to find a doctor or clinic that would continue to prescribe meds to curb his cravings and possibly save his life.

So yeah, I’m bitter! Do we have a pill for that?