When I learned of this statistic I sort of did and Exorcist type of thing with my head, for real. I was that twisted over it. Think about it for a second, we represent just under 4% of the world’s
population, yet we ingest 75% of the manufactured narcotic painkillers that are made. I can think of nothing else that spells out how bad this has become with regards to the epidemic destroying lives in our country. This is not a little snowball getting bigger, it’s the avalanche from hell. But let’s not fool ourselves here. Many people think the painkiller epidemic just happened over a few months or maybe a year or two. Yeah, like the elephant in the living room that grew from two pounds to 4 tons overnight. This is not the case at all.
If you do the research, Vicodin and Norco started getting pushed hard in the late 80’s and 90’s, and then of course we had good old Oxycontin hit the eastern seaboard in 1996 it was on like no other, and hit like a grand tsunami. In fact, I am sure I was one of the first one’s to take it here on the west coast as it was being newly rolled out in the late 90’s, it took a while to get here, and when it did, people fell in love…I know I did. Now, I am not going to bash big pharma, I am never going to do that. But what we do here in the good old US of A is we sell shit, and we sell more shit in America than anywhere, although most of the shit we buy is made in China these days, no country buys more consumer bullshit than Americans…and we love every bit of it. And when it comes to relief, no one wants it faster than Americans.
So, how do we as the 4% of the population take 75% of the Rx painkillers manufactured on the entire planet? Is it we have more bad backs or tweaked knees than the rest of the people in the world? No. We market the ever living shit out of the stuff to doctors, and when we Americans are in pain we don’t reach for Advil, we go to the doc and we score drugs. Most people in Europe or Asia probably just relax and throw some ice on it, maybe take some ibuprofen…not us, fuck that. Let’s get some drugs! Not all of us do that, but a lot us do, hell we do it better than anybody…and the marketing machine of America wants us to keep popping these narcotics like Pez candy…they don’t ever wanna see us stop.
And what’s scarier, is that some doctors will prescribe Oxycontin for the mildest of injuries. “Hey Johnny, you have a mild wrist sprain from jerking off?” Here’s some Oxy….now, stop spanking it for six-eight weeks, or use the other arm and I’ll see you in two months…and if it still hurts I may just give you some more, and you may just get hooked. Yeah, this happens all the time. Okay, maybe Johnny didn’t hurt his wrist from spankin’ it, but I think I did back in ’83, but I couldn’t score any Oxy because it hadn’t been invented yet.
So, we are a quick fix people and when we hurt we call on: Captain Vicodin, General Norco or…Satan Oxy and we are good to go….and we may just pray for refills, and so the cycle begins. Now, these little tiny pills (for the addict) become more important than the job, the family, the love of life itself, and we are consuming these things like Skittles…yes we do it all the time and I have to wonder what the people Europe and other countries think of our dilemma, ‘God, those Americans are fucking stupid.” Well, in some ways yes, but for big business we are genius. And the train of big business isn’t going anywhere, those pill machines will keep making, and our people will keep popping, and doctors will keep prescribing, and unfortunately people are going to keep dying.
All of this is true- and we are killing ourselves- and it is happening at the hands of big people in big places, all the while with little solution while the cycle continues. Kids are discovering this shit in their parents medicine cabinets- and they become hooked, and we all know when they can’t find it any more they find either black tar heroin on the west coast or China white heroin in the east. Is it an epidemic? Hell yes it is…in fact, some statistics say that in ten years with the way things are going the opiod epidemic will kill more people than what the HIV/Aids virus did in the 80’s…and that was a lot of people.
There appears to be no relief in sight, with overdoses on the rise, treatment centers are popping up everywhere and along with it the broken hearts of families and countless funeral services. I am lucky to have survived this mess, barely I might add. When I came into recovery in early 2007 I was weeks away from dying, with internal organs on their way out the door. I tore up a prescription of a brand new drug called “Opana” outside the hospital before I nervously walked to make an attempt of saving my life…I’m glad I did, but let’s face it- the odds are stacked against all of us who are addicted. If it was easy, all of us would just stop using and get on with life, but it’s not easy, it’s fuckin’ hard.
I honestly don’t know what’s gonna get us out of this mess. I know now that painkillers are being heavily marketed overseas, but that doesn’t interest me nearly as much as what’s happening here at home. I am tired of friends dying. I am over getting calls from people I start to care for and begin to love in recovery, relapse – and die alone in a shitty hotel room. Yet, I have also learned it’s the nature of this deadly disease…it is so freaking powerful, and amazingly sinister.
We are stuck…and we love the “quick fix.” We are Americans…and I don’t see this being resolved any time soon.
I only wish we would act as quickly with getting involved in prevention programs and treatment, helping those who want it, as we are to manufacture and prescribe and pop the pills that are taking away the very lives we should be living.
Hey, maybe one day big pharma would chip in a few extra of those billion dollars they have got laying around in their fuckin’ petty cash drawers in one of their warehouses and build the largest detox & treatment center the world has ever known, God only knows they can afford to do it. Hell, we could put is smack dab in Texas somewhere, last time I checked they have some land available, and with an estimated 2 plus million addicted that would just about do it.