I Know it’s Old Shit, Man…

– people dying from prescribed opiate overdoses. Shit happens all’a the time, right? Why get the panties all bunched up? Why whine about 16,600 dead people way back in 2010?

Because I don’t feel like editing a book I’m working on – yet feel like writing a little something – that’s why. I do hope the dead folks don’t mind.

I was strolling through the living room just a day or two ago. My Ol’ Woman had the news going on the TV. The whole dead people segment lasted a whole of ten feet. The living room’s only 24 long. The TV a 52 inch. “Epidemic” I heard the anchor quote. “Up from…” Yeah, I’m hip. Every year the death toll rises.

Old shit, man.

Back in 1999 4,030 deaths were opiate related. Today, more people die from prescription drugs then from coke and junk combined.

If we pretended we cared we might wonder about that. Let’s do that okay? If not pretend we care, then maybe just take a look at the thing, huh? Pick it up, give it a sniff, feel the texture… We can always toss it right back where we found it – in the sea of statistics.

Why?

I don’t mean why fuck around with it. I done tol’ ya I’m merely lollygagging here. I mean, why are those people dead? Why did they take enough drug to take their life? Why a phenomenal increase in 11 years.

Of those deaths in 2010 the data tells us 82% were an oops.

Back when I was in highschool I recall when a particularly pure heroin came to town. No, I wasn’t doing junk. Some of my friends were. Some of my friends nearly died (one did). China White was the shit, man!

But a prescribed drug is same-same every time, right? 5, 10, 25 mg, whatever -same-same. How the hell could someone screw that up?

Oh, geez…. where to start?

How about at the source?

In 2010 pharmacies dispensed 69 tons of oxycodone and 42 of hydrocodone. And the shit is fucking addicting.

Well, let’s get semantic; for abusers it’s addiction, for chronic pain patients it’s dependence. I’ve an opioid dependence. The medical profession says so.

And then it gets kind of weird.

Doctors are getting reamed for prescribing too much of the shit. Doctors are getting reamed for being inhumane assholes because they don’t prescribe enough. You hear of folks using prescribed opiates, and getting kicked off of narcotics programs, going to the streets for heroin… or knocking over pharmacies for oxy.

Oh, and trying to stay within the whole statistics meme (we do love our numbers); male deaths doubled and women’s’ tripled between ’99 and ’07.  The age group (in ’07)  with the most deaths was between 45 and 54.

Somewhere, I read a lot of the dead where simply folk attempting to calm their pain, and possibly thinking more is better… I suppose it got better when they quit breathing? Liver damage from the acetaminophen in many of the opioids? Sorry, my web search abilities have proven inadequate here. Feel free to provide your own statistics.

Numbers! We need numbers!

Screw the numbers. Let’s look at this like any rational 8th grader would. I mean, it’s like problem solving 101, right?

Problem: People dying from ‘scribed painkillers.
Solution: Don’t manufacture painkillers.

Okay, that doesn’t work, for obvious reasons.

Same problem, but now we’ll take another tact.
Solution: Manufacture a nonlethal painkiller.

Okay, that doesn’t work either. Not today, anyway.

Problem: Dead people,  opioids…
Solution: Add a nonlethal component into the pharmacology. A component that would add a synergistic boost right at the synapse. A component that used in conjunction with the opioid could reduce the dose by 50%, or more.

So then 69 tons of oxycodone becomes 34?
It’s not “raining” opiate painkillers anymore?
Fewer people die?

“Solution,” it appears, isn’t all that simple.

I’m reminded of back when I worked in chemical process safety. It was taught that anytime a corrosive chemical came into contact with the skin, “Dilution is the solution.” And that doesn’t have a damned thing to do with the subject at hand. I was just reminded… that’s all.

Dope kills… old shit, man… just look at the statistics.

I don’t know. I was going to try to tie in cannabis as an adjutant to opioids and use a bunch of statistics to show how lives could be saved. That was my intent. The Vicodin’s kicking in though. I’m thinking I’ll go lie down a while… soon as I finish this beer.

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1 Comment

  1. capndrift said,

    March 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    In the above post I use “opioid” and “opiate” interchangeably. They aren’t. I screwed up. Writing this telling you I know I screwed up is easier than fixing it. Pretty sure…


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