The Addictions Coach: Is Big Pharma Behind America’s Opioid Epidemic?
Chronic pain is a very real problem for millions of Americans. An even bigger problem is the number of addictions and deaths from these prescription pain medicines that are supposed to be helping people.
Not only do these opioid medications create an addiction for many, but they can lead to a heroin addiction, when the person can no acquire or afford the pain pills. Read on for an excerpt from Vox.com regarding big pharma and opioid medications.
If you or a loved one is suffering with an opioid addiction, we can help! Call 1.800.706.0318 or visit www.theaddictionscoach.com
How big pharma got people hooked on opioids — and made tons of money off it
How did America get to a point where legal opioid painkillers, marketed as medicine, killed nearly 19,000 people in 2014?
One alarming explanation is that the drug companies behind these opioids wanted more people to buy their product, so they led a misleading campaign to get doctors to prescribe their drugs.
Let’s back up. The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s when doctors prescribed a tremendous amount of opioid painkillers to help treat pain — a serious problem, given that chronic pain alone afflicts about 100 million Americans.
But one reason doctors were so willing to prescribe these painkillers, despite the clear risks of addiction and overdose, is heavy marketing from the pharmaceutical industry.
Often, these campaigns propagated highly misleading claims — including assertions that OxyContin and other new opioid painkillers were safer than other medications on the market.
The claims were so misleading, in fact, that Purdue Pharma eventually paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for them.
But in the midst of the misinformation campaigns, doctors prescribed hundreds of millions of prescriptions for opioids — in 2012, enough to give a bottle of pills to every adult in the country. And as people became addicted to opioid painkillers, they also began turning to a cheaper, more potent opioid — heroin — to satiate their cravings.
The result: In 2014, there were a record 47,000 drug overdose deaths in the US, nearly two-thirds of which were opioid-related, according to federal data. And all along the way, drug companies made a lot of money.