(Natural News) The opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing the United States is unquestionably one of the most serious issues in the country today, taking the lives of thousands of Americans each and every year. In fact, according to PBS Frontline, the opioid epidemic is now responsible for the deaths of more than 27,000 people... [...]
(Natural News) A study conducted by behavioral neuroscience experts at the University of Guelph in Canada has shown that excessive sugar intake may render people more susceptible to drug abuse. The scientists carried out experiments on laboratory rats in order to determine the connection between high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) intake and the likelihood of suffering opioid... [...]
(NaturalNews) Well, it only took two decades for Pfizer to admit that opioids are indeed addictive, even when they are used as prescribed. There is also no evidence that opioids are effective for long-term treatment of chronic pain, in spite of the clever and misleading marketing... [...]
(NaturalNews) It seems like Big Pharma is about to have it both ways in the current opioid painkiller epidemic.After years of supplying the very opioids that have addicted millions of Americans, Big Pharma is now about to market a vaccine, of all things, that is supposed to help... [...]
How Federal Policies Have Spawned a Heroin Epidemic
Heroin addiction is becoming a serious problem in the U.S., and far from being an inner-city problem, heroin addicts abound in the suburbs of America.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 lethal heroin overdoses nearly quadrupled between 2000 and 2013 in the U.S., escalating from 0.7 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 during this timeframe.
In 2013, more than 46,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, with prescription drugs and heroin topping the list.2 Half, or about 23,000, of these lethal overdoses were due to prescription drugs, with painkillers accounting for about 16,000 deaths.3 About 8,000 deaths were due to heroin.
As discussed in the featured 60 Minutes segment, "Heroin in the Heartland,"4,5 heroin addiction is fueled by legal drug addiction to opioid painkillers which, from a chemical standpoint, are nearly identical to heroin.
Excessive Use of Painkillers Have Created a Nation of Drug Addicts
Between 2013 and 2014, heroin use in the U.S. rose by 51 percent,6 and the reason for this resurgence is in large part due to it being less expensive than its prescription counterparts.7
Many painkiller addicts also end up using heroin when their tolerance level surpasses their allotted prescription dosage, or when they are no longer allowed to refill their prescription.
According to a report8 issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in April 2015:
"Controlled prescription drug abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences, but also because of availability and the reformulation of OxyContin."
As noted by Forbes,9 the drug industry has a lot to answer for, as drug makers have repeatedly downplayed the addictive nature of their wares while aggressively promoting their use.
Purdue Pharma is just one example. In 2007, the company pled guilty to charges of misbranding, and was fined $600 million for misleading the public about Oxycontin's addictive qualities.
There's also the issue of increased supply.
Dr. Meryl Nass,10 has pointed out that opium production in Afghanistan has doubled since the U.S. military entered the region in 2001, and heroin-related deaths started to climb in 2002. She believes this is the real story behind the rise in heroin availability across the U.S..
Heroin Addiction Flourishes in US Suburbs
Wherever it's coming from, one thing is sure — heroin has become readily available even in rural and suburban areas. As noted by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine,11 whom 60 Minutes interviewed for this segment:
"Heroin has lost its stigma as a poisonous, back-alley drug. There's no psychological barrier anymore that stops a young person or an older person from taking heroin. There's no typical [heroin user]. It has permeated every segment of society in Ohio."
60 Minutes interviews a number of people about how and why they, or their loved one, started using heroin and painkillers — either stolen from a family member o [...]
“She told me medical marijuana could be used for pain reduction and I said, 'Hey, sign me up,' ” Lobel said, adding that he had been trying to manage his pain with over-the-counter meds after committing to no longer taking opioids. “I wanted to at ... [...]
(Natick,MA 10/03/15) Natick resident and interview subject Bob Lobel displays two bottles of cannabis CBD on Saturday, October 03, 2015 at The Natick Town Green. Staff photo by Patrick Whittemore. [...]
At this point, marijuana is legal for medical use in nearly half of the country. But David Casarett, MD, author of the recently-released Stoned: A Doctor's Case For Medical Marijuana, wants to clear a few things up. Initially skeptical of marijuana's ... [...]
“OxyContin: Time Bomb” tells the story of how this painkiller became the most widely prescribed, abused, and profitable narcotic in history
Purdue Pharma ran an unprecedentedly aggressive marketing campaign to brainwash physicians that OxyContin was the new “miracle pill”
In 2007, Purdue pled guilty to deceptive marketing and was fined $600 million, but six years later, FDA allowed them to release a new version of the drug
OxyContin is a gateway drug to heroin, leading millions down the path of heroin addiction, methadone dependence, overdose, and death [...]
Certain food products, notably the refined and processed “hyperpalatable” sugary, fatty and salty food combinations, hijack the reward center in your brain, causing brain changes identical to those in drug addicts and alcoholics.
Addiction also affects your frontal cortex, impairing your ability to control impulsivity, irritability, impatience, and other states associated with withdrawal and addiction.
Abuse, neglect, and other self-perceived trauma during the formative years of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, can profoundly affect your frontal cortex and epigenetically influence your genetic expression, thereby making you more susceptible to addiction. [...]
That's one of the powerful messages that comes from Johann Hari's excellent new book “Chasing the Scream” (see my review earlier this week). Everything we've done to address the issues of addiction within the context of the drug war has been all wrong. [...]