Archive for September 18th, 2017

Opioid addiction terrorizes U.S.

September 18th, 2017

Can you imagine a tragedy equivalent to the number of deaths on 9-11 occurring in this country every three weeks? How would we, as a society, endure the loss of nearly 3000 lives every 21 days due to terrorist attacks? Would we dedicate trillion dollars to addressing this issue?

Now try to imagine that there was no end to these attacks, that they would simply go on and on and on forever. Okay, let’s add a level of complicity to these deaths that did not exist in the 9-11 attacks.  Let’s suppose that trusted members of our communities were literally coerced into participating as somewhat guiltless bystanders by large companies that benefited financially by their complicity.

How about another level of complication? Let’s say that friends and relatives who either through what they perceived to be compassion or through stupidity also contributed significantly to these deaths by participating either knowingly or unknowingly in this involvement.

Now we’re honing in on why this situation exists.  Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants pressed by heavy marketing techniques employed by Pharmaceutical companies and relatives leaving their unused bottles of meds unchecked or knowingly giving these drugs to other relatives have contributed to a massive opioid problem in our country.

Approximately, 140 Americans are dying every day in their homes and on the streets due to this new type of drug terrorism, and this terrorism is opioid addiction.  Each year, we see the equivalent of nearly 20 times 9-11 in the number of Americans dying of drug overdoses.  This does not include the number of drug dealers, police, and bystanders killed by gang activities related to drug sales.

In many cases, the drug addiction emanates from what we have come to describe as chronic pain.  More than 100 million Americans categorize themselves as suffering from chronic pain, that’s approximately 1/3 of the population of the United States. In fact, the citizens of the United States represent 4.6% of the world’s population but consume more than 80% of the world’s available painkilling drugs and 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. That equates to about 110 tons of addictive opiates each year treating chronic pain at an overall cost of $2000 per U.S. citizen.

In the United States, pain is graded by an intensity of pain scale where one denotes very mild pain and ten refers to an unspeakable level of pain.  Back pain is the leading cause of disabling pain among Americans under 45 years of age. Interestingly, only one in seven people complain of chronic pain internationally, down significantly from the one in three in the United States.

What’s contributing to so much pain in the United States?  It could be inactivity, obesity, a lack of appropriate diet, exercise, and stress management as well as a lack of societal attachment, and absence of understanding as to what pain really is in our lives.

For many that prescription of opioid drugs can become an addictive dose, and because heroin and fentanyl are less expensive, the addiction then moves to unregulated street drugs.

The traditional path to treating chronic pain is with surgery, injections, opioids, occupational and physical therapy. It is a rigid adherence to these treatment methodologies that has often proven to be incomplete. World health has always taken a broader approach to pain management by utilizing additional treatments.  Per Circa Interactive, complimentary treatment options include acupuncture, natural products, deep breathing, yoga/Tai Chi/Qi Gong, chiropractic techniques, meditation, massage, special diets, homeopathy, progressive relaxation, and guided imagery.

With over two-thirds of our physicians admitting to inadequate knowledge of pain treatment and opioid dependency management, it is time to focus on both physician and patient education and also on complementary opportunities to address chronic pain. We are being terrorized by a lack of knowledge, greed of big business, and lack of open mindednesses.

If not now? When?

Otherwise, it’s 911 forever.

 

Share