Imagine a World Without Opiates
It’s easy if you try.
No hell to live in.
So fewer people die…
OK, so John Lennon didn’t sing about it, but imagine a world without opiates. At first the thought may seem a bit foreign but let’s really think about what that would look like.
1. Less people dying from heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil overdoses
2. Less people addicted to opiates
3. Less societal cost relative to the epidemic
4. Less financial costs relative to the epidemic
5. Less time and money spent tracking prescribing habits of physicals
6. A reduction in cost of Narcan to our communities
7. A reduction in the argument about using Narcan (OK, had to add that)
8. Less influence in Washington by the big Pharma Companies
OK, where is the bad in all of this? Is this starting to make sense? So is someone else. That sound of feet running away is the sound of big Pharma scrambling for their check books to make sure this thought doesn’t make it past this page.
BUT WHAT ABOUT PAIN?
Good question, and we are certainly sympathetic to the plight of those dealing with chronic pain. Let’s talk about that.
1. Before the late 90’s, opiates were not used widespread to treat pain, and yet, we survived. Pain is our bodies warning sign that something is not right. It is important relative to our health that we feel pain so we know when something is not right. Yes, chronic pain is different, but we will hit that down the list.
2. How often have you actually received a prescription for pain meds? When you did get a prescription, how often did you actually use the whole thing? OK, I get it, but if we need it….
3. Evidence is showing that a cocktail of ibuprofen and acetaminophen are actually MORE EFFECTIVE in treating pain than are opioids; WHAT?? Yes, please re-read this point.
4. We are, and will continue to develop, different methods of dealing with pain like homeopathic and technological products (OK, go ahead and make your CBD comment)
5. Nobody is blinking at the fact that we are reducing prescriptions and doses for pain right now.
6. Only 3% of those with chronic pain ever actually get better while on opiates. SO WHY THEN USE THEM? It is probably not the pill, but the regimen in place creating this impact.
Prior to the widespread use of opiates, the medical community recommended a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management. The Insurance industry didn’t like this because it was more expensive that that little pill. Do the math. Would not the money we have spent on this epidemic been better served by putting it toward a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management than the multi-faceted cost of the epidemic?
99% of the world’s Vicodin supply and 70% of the world’s pharmaceutical expense lies right here in the United States. Are we doing it right or just maybe, is there a better way? Yet we would rather talk of legalizing heroin, not using Narcan and spending billions more on treatment than considering a different option.
Ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness have been the hallmark of the human race since our inception. Go to any point in time and ask the question; can you imagine a world…
• Where the horseless carriage would not exist
• Where man would fly
• Where we would have trans-Atlantic travel
• Where we would walk on the moon…OK, for you conspiracy theorists, where we went to space
Human history has been defined by our ability to invent in the face of necessity. Why would, why should this be different? Today, as this is being written, big Pharma is still trying to develop slow release, less addictive, non-addictive medications. Are they doing it for the sake of humanity or the value of their stock? Is there not a bolder answer to the issue?
So look at the facts. Ask yourself, can I imagine a world without opiates? No wait, ask yourself, what would a world without opiates look like?
You hear that? That is another big check being written to make sure this question is never asked….