Let's Hold The Media, Our Systems & Ourselves Accountable By Asking "WHY," Not Just WHAT"
A recent People magazine cover story focused on 135 faces of opioid epidemic victims. We appreciate the magazine’s coverage of this national crisis.
However, have you noticed the news is always reporting WHAT, WHAT, WHAT AND rarely WHY, WHY, WHY?
Why is the opioid crisis happening?Here are several major trends to consider.
- Opioids were not marketed to treat chronic pain until the late 1990’s.
- Opioids (general medical accepted practice) were used for acute pain and only intended for a short duration. There is no scientific evidence that opioids are effective for chronic pain, but there is ample evidence that opioids are addictive.
- People believe opioids are safe “because their doctor gave them the medicine.” We trust our doctors and don’t recognize that Doctors have received mixed messages from the manufacturers of these medicines through their educational system financed by big PHARMA.
- Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, or advertising medicine on TV didn’t exist fully until 1995. Beginning in the late 1990’s, opioids were marketed on TV for chronic pain, producing the perfect storm for the Opioid Crisis. We assume opioid are safe because they are being advertised.
Our brains and beliefs are funny things…we base most of our decisions on perception and not facts.
Many people believe the opioid crisis is someone else’s problem. “It can’t happen to me or my child.” “This has nothing to do with me.”
Why are our defense mechanisms set up to deny or to blame others? We need to accept the reality that we are all connected and the opioid problem facing our society is caused by and impacts all of us.
Why do people use drugs? Answer: To change how they feel. Are there other ways to change how we feel without taking a drug? Certainly, but those answers don’t have multimillion dollar manufacturing budgets dedicated to educating Doctors and the public to believe otherwise.
What can we, as parents and concerned citizens, do to prevent this?
- Take medication, only as prescribed by our own doctor, but first talk to our doctor about the potential for the medicine they are prescribing to become addictive. Research the medicine and see what else people are saying about the drug.
- Secure our medication to ensure that no one is accessing it.
- Take regular inventory to be sure nothing is missing.
- Safely dispose of expired or unused medication.
- Spread the message to family and friends.
Ending the opioid crisis requires focusing on WHY, not WHAT.