MedShadow, a nonprofit that informs the public about the side effects, risks and benefits of medicine offers the following statement on Prince’s Fentanyl Overdose and public misconceptions about opioids.
“There’s a straight line between the overprescribing of opioids, the public’s misconceptions about these drugs and the rapidly rising number of accidental deaths from opioid addiction,” says Suzanne Robotti, founder and president, MedShadow Foundation, a nonprofit that informs the public about the side effects, risks and benefits of medicine. Robotti cites 3 attitudinal shifts that are affecting the current epidemic in accidental deaths from opioid use. They are:
Pretending that opioids are not addictive
Remember reading about opioid dens in Victorian novels? Stories abounded of souls lost in a haze of poppy-based opium. Opioids are essentially the same thing. That’s why throughout medical history, opium and morphine were only given to the dying. In 1986 a medical research paper claimed that opioid drugs could be used for pain relief in patients without cancer, stating, “there is a growing literature showing that these drugs can be used for a long time, with few side effects and that addiction and abuse are not a problem.” As a result, pharmaceutical companies released OxyContin, an extended release version of oxycodone.
“Walk it off” changed to “why be in pain?”
Pain is an important indicator of health and tells the body when and where something is wrong. It naturally encourages the body to rest and focus on healing. By the late 1990s, doctors and the general public alike embraced the near complete pain relief. The American Pain Foundation and the American Pain Society pushed to establish pain as “the fifth vital sign,” along with blood pressure, temperature, heartbeat and breathing. In 2001, hospitals introduced a 10-point pain scale, asking patients to describe their amount of pain to their healthcare providers.
Cheap heroin is the same high as expensive opioids
Pharmaceutical opioids work by making more dopamine — a neurotransmitter that brings intense feelings of pleasure — in the brain. And this is where heroin comes in. This street drug does the same thing, far more cheaply and without a doctor’s approval, or prescription pad.
More coverage from MedShadow on opioids below:
New Opioid Dependence Implant Gets Under Your Skin
3 Steps From Pain to Heroin Addiction
Is Morphine Being Overprescribed?
Drug Withdrawal Among Babies Rising “Due to Prescriptions of Opioids to Mothers”