FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Catastrophe Unmasked: Prescription for Addiction

The “Opium Wars” were fought by the British Government to legalize their control of the opium trade to China in the mid 17th Century. Reports estimated that 25% of the Chinese people were addicted to opium by 1905. That same year in the US, heroin addiction had risen to alarming rates, and the US Congress passed a ban on opium.   Another American heroin epidemic began again in 1967 in Chicago and New York, and then spread widely through the early 1980’s. The son of the US Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, died of a heroin overdose in New York City on April 24, 1984.   Physicians in medical school were taught that opioids were dangerously addicting substances that should be used only for short term severe pain and terminal cancer.

Despite this teaching and the raging Heroin epidemic in America, a letter was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980. The author reported that of the patients in their hospital who were treated with narcotics, less than one percent became addicted. In 1986 the journal Pain,   reported on a study of only 38 patients who were treated with narcotics for several years. The authors concluded that there was little risk of addiction.   There were no other significant addiction studies reported. Shortly after the study in Pain, one of the co-authors went on to head the American Pain Society. This organization was one of several similar nonprofit groups funded by the Pharmaceutical Industry like Purdue Pharma the producers of the narcotic Oxycontin.

These opioid producers also funded medical education programs and advocacy groups. Within a short time the pharmaceutical companies began an aggressive nationwide campaign to market opioids for long term non cancer pains such as back and neck pain. During the 1990’s the incidence of opioid misuse rose markedly, fueled by the number of opioid prescriptions written by many physicians and nurses. Where were the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) and the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) when they were presented with blatant disregard for the truth about opioid addiction? What evidence did they demand before they abandoned 150 years of knowledge about the dangers of opioids? Where were the evidence based studies needed to refute what was known around the world about the risks of opioids?

As of February 2009, Dr Zee, writing in the Journal of Public Health, revealed that “we lack any large…rigorous prospective study addressing the issue of …addiction, during long term opioid use for chronic non cancer pain.”

The medical schools and physician training programs did not publicly denounce this unscientific pharmaceutical propaganda.   Why?   The F.D.A., the organization responsible for ensuring that prescription drug promotion is truthful, continued to authorize more and more forms of opioids over the years. Why? To this day, the F.D.A. and the A.M.A., have refused to demand mandatory education for opioid prescribers. Why?   Furthermore, the Federation of State Medical Boards accepted money from pharmaceutical firms to produce prescribing guidelines.   Why did physicians not sound the alarm to expose the fact that the pharmaceutical industry was establishing treatment guidelines for the medical profession?

Dr David A Kessler, the past commissioner of the F.D.A., from 1990-1997, the very years the epidemic was accelerating, stated in an article in the New York Times on May 7, 2016: “It has proved to be one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine”.   Doctors, regulators and drug makers “missed one fundamental: The more opioids prescribed, the more opioid abuse there will be.”

We beg to differ. This was no mistake.   The reality is that physicians in the leadership of the F.D.A., A.M.A., and The Federation of State Medical Boards,   willfully abandoned their scientific integrity and over 150 years of wisdom regarding the dangers of opioids.   This was simply a catastrophic violation of their duty to “do no harm”.

In their complicity with the Pharmaceutical Companies, many physicians and nurses abandoned their responsibility to their patients by writing prescriptions for addiction. The consequences are now staring us in the face. Well over a hundred thousand people have overdosed and died, and there are now 3 million addicts as the epidemic continues to devastate families across the nation.

Let’s set the record straight.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
The FBI: Another Worry in the National Security State
Rob Urie
Establishment Politics are for the Rich
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: That’s Neoliberalism for You
Paul Street
Midnight Ramble: A Fascist Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Joan Roelofs
The Science of Lethality
Joyce Nelson
Buttigieg and McKinsey
Joseph Natoli
Equally Determined: To Impeach/To Support
Charles Pierson
The National Defense Authorization Act Perpetuates the Destruction of Yemen
REZA FIYOUZAT
An Outrageous Proposal: Peace Boats to Iran
Lee Hall
Donald Trump Jr., Mongolian Sheep Killer
Andrew Levine
A Plague on Both Their Houses, Plus a Dozen Poxes on Trump’s
David Rosen
Mortality Rising: Trump and the Death of the “American Dream”
Dave Lindorff
The Perils of Embedded Journalism: ‘Afghan Papers’ Wouldn’t Be Needed If We Had a Real Independent News Media
Brian Cloughley
Human Rights and Humbug in Washington
Stephen Leas
Hungry for a Livable Planet: Why I Went On Hunger Strike and Occupied Pelosi’s Office
Saad Hafiz
Pakistan Must Face Its Past
Lawrence Davidson
Deteriorating Climates: Home and Abroad
Cal Winslow
The End of the Era: Nineteen Nineteen
Louis Proyect
If Time Magazine Celebrates Greta Thunberg, Why Should We?
Thomas Drake
Kafka Down Under: the Threat to Whistleblowers and Press Freedom in Australia
Thomas Knapp
JEDI Mind Tricks: Amazon Versus the Pentagon and Trump
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s War on the Poor
Michael Welton
Seeing the World Without Shadows: the Enlightenment Dream
Ron Jacobs
The Wind That Shook the Barley: the Politics of the IRA
Rivera Sun
Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis
Binoy Kampmark
The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics
Nick Pemberton
Ideology Shall Have No Resurrection
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
What Trump and the GOP Learned From Obama
Ramzy Baroud
‘Elected by Donors’: the University of Cape Town Fails Palestine, Embraces Israel
Cesar Chelala
Unsuccessful U.S. Policy on Cuba Should End
Harry Blain
The Conservatism of Impeachment
Norman Solomon
Will the Democratic Presidential Nomination Be Bought?
Howard Lisnoff
The One Thing That US Leaders Seem to Do Well is Lie
Jeff Cohen
Warren vs. Buttigieg Clash Offers Contrast with Sanders’ Consistency
Mel Gurtov
The Afghanistan Pentagon Papers
Gaither Stewart
Landslide … to Totalitarianism
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
How Blaming Nader in 2000 Paved the Way for Today’s Neo-Fascism
Steve Early
In Re-Run Election: LA Times Journalist Wins Presidency of NewsGuild 
David Swanson
If You’re Not Busy Plotting Nonviolent Revolution for Peace and Climate, You’re Busy Dying
Nicky Reid
Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit
John Kendall Hawkins
The Terror Report You Weren’t Meant to See
Susan Block
Krampus Trumpus Rumpus
Martin Billheimer
Knight Crawlers
David Yearsley
Kanye in the West
Elliot Sperber
Dollar Store 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail