America, we are told, is in the midst of an opiate crisis. But the word crisis implies a condition of instability and danger that has been walked into accidently due to inadvertent ignorance or negligence – not malice.
The FDA were promoting new opioids to Americans and allowing the pharmaceutical companies to claim that they were not addictive even when it was already known that OxyContin is ten times more addictive than its predecessor, Hydrocodone. It claimed 200,000 lives between 1999 and 2016. Has the situation improved since then? Well, overdose deaths we reported to have surged to a record 93,000 in 2020. No new human safety studies were done on it before it was approved, and it was not even advocated because it was safer or more effective or cheaper than existing forms of pain relief, but simply to make more money for drug companies because Hydrocodone, it’s predecessor, was out of patent.
Originally, OxyContin was meant for patients who terminally ill with cancer and in severe pain, or others in the upper echelon on the pain threshold. But the drug reps have to hit sales targets, and this is usually accomplished by convincing doctors to write scripts for ever more people. And that’s what they accomplished with OxyContin. Before long they were promoting it for simple migraines. According to WebMD, OxyContin is highly addictive and is prone to substance abuse by patients who have a history of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, mood swings, diarrhoea, and nausea are also associated with the drug.
Three major drug distributors (Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson) and the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson “agreed” to a $26 billion settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits over the country’s opioid crisis in 2021. No one went to jail, of course. They never do in Pharma scandals. They just accept the fine, which pales in comparison to profits accrued, as a routine cost of operation.
“This was a person-made crisis,” Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro said at a press conference announcing the settlement, “This epidemic was manufactured by an army of pharmaceutical executives.” I would add, with the collusion of the FDA and other public health authorities. Perhaps we should stop calling it the opiate crisis and refer to it as what it actually is – “the opiate freaking genocide.”