Opioid addiction is the most recent medical condition that pharmaceutical companies have created and now claim they want to try to cure. Americans use the most opioids of any nation; in 2013, 16,000 Americans died from overdosing on narcotic painkillers. Two years later in 2015, more than 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds of which were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and Fentanyl.
The drug industry created the opioid addiction epidemic by introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin and changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for many types of chronic pain. Then the drug industry started to promote the long-term use of narcotics, despite any scientific data on whether the use is safe and effective, while soft-peddling the risk of addiction. Now the US government has approved opioid legislation that generates more profits right back to the drug companies by focusing on medication-based treatment of painkiller addiction and medication-based drugs to counter side effects of the addiction itself. Even our POTUS has claimed he created a commission to study the issue.
What is so ironic and sad, the US is one of only 2 countries that allow prescription drug advertising, and they are dominating TV. Pharmaceutical advertising exceeded $6 billion last year. Interestingly enough, state with medical marijuana programs are experiencing substantially lower rates of opioid addiction and overdoses. Researchers looked at medical marijuana laws and death certificate data over a ten-year period from 1999-2010. There was an approximately 25% lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average in states who put in place medical marijuana laws. Currently, almost half the states have passed some type of medical marijuana use law.
Let’s hope that “grows like a weed.”
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.