Issue of Profit in the Opioid Epidemic

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

For the past two decades thousands upon thousands of lives have been claimed. This is not due to a long war or incurable disease, but to an epidemic. Over one hundred and fifty people a day are dying to one of the most damaging drug epidemics this country has ever faced: opioids. What was designed to help ease the pain of its users, has caused much more harm than good. Many have been asking how or why the FDA as well as its fellow federal agencies have failed to stop this epidemic from happening.

Though with more and more corporate and big business influence of the policies of these federal companies, it starts to become clear. Those involved with with this dangerous epidemic, whether they be doctors or journalists, believe it is because of one word: profit. And I couldn’t agree more. Though designed to help this country, due to corporate interference, I believe these companies no longer have our best interests in mind. Because at the end of the day, all they truly have in mind is the silver dollar.

In the beginning, many medical experts thought opioids to be one of the greatest medical advancements in recent years, if not ever. A prominent figure that emerged in the midst of the epidemic is Dr. Russell Portenoy. “As Portenoy saw it, opiates were effective painkillers through most of recorded history and it was only outdated fears about addiction that prevented the drugs from playing that role.” Up until that point the original epidemic that occurred due to this drug happened all the way back when Theodore Roosevelt was the president of the United States.

The original epidemic even drove President Roosevelt to appointing the first ever opium commissioner to help ease the issue, Dr. Hamilton Wright. This was in 1908, back then Dr. Wright stated that Americans were “the greatest drug fiends in the world.” He also stated that the opioid drug was a “national curse.” Portenoy and his fellow doctors said this to be a just a bad stigma for what could be quite the valuable medicine for those in need. Though he might have had good intentions, he was soon going to be proven wrong. After the epidemic began to unfold and the deaths caused by it rose to the hundreds of thousands, Dr. Portenoy began to speak about the drug once again. “In essence, this was education to destigmatize and because the primary goal was to destigmatize, we often left evidence behind.”

This information was used by other doctors such as Jane Ballantyne. She thought this drug to be great for her patients from the teachings she had received, though she did not yet know the truth. This then had a ripple effect. “We were teaching that we shouldn’t withhold opiates from the people suffering from chronic pain and that the risks of addiction were pretty low because that was the teaching we’d received,”Ballantyne stated. “You had never seen people in such agony as these people on high doses of opiates” Ballantyne also said. She even discussed with the relatives of certain patients just how much the drug had been affecting them. In the end, what supposed to better those in need of help, made it much worse.

You’d think at this point and with all this knowledge and proof that something would be done about this problem. Nope. Companies like The Federation of State Medical Boards gained about two million from the drug industry during this time and OxyContin profits grew more than one billion dollars a year in 2000. “Three years later they were twice that. Other opioid makers were pulling in huge profits to,.” Chris McGreal stated, in the article The Making of an Opioid Epidemic. The drugs were and still are designed to make people more dependent on them.

When doctors began to take matters into their own hands, they discovered this too. I think it is ridiculous and strange when doctors who actually prescribe or work with this medicine are the same people who also claim that the drug is a serious problem. But most likely due to not wanting to endanger their position or job in the medical business only a few have spoken out about it. Dr. Charles Lucas is another great example of one who is actually telling the truth about the drug. He has been a surgeon for three decades. After refusing to give one of his patients the painkillers. “….there was a a price for resisting the pressure to prescribe ever higher doses of pain relief” according to McGreal. Dr. Ledgerwood was forced to report to the ethics committee of the hostpital he works at, after he was reported by a nurse “….for failing to provide adequate pain treatment” says McGreal.

Dr. Ledgerwood also described the drug to McGreal as something that was killing more and more patients causing him to begin to collect his own data. He, with the help of a fellow doctor, did this by traveling to places such as trauma centres to help collect information and data. Within the commision they learned that different policies regarding the drug in the industry made it so that the “excess administration of pain medicines” rose to 3.6%. Before the policies designed to promote opioids, it was at 0.7%. This was all collected just from patients at trauma centers alone. Lucas then said, “It’s about money. Money has influence, and it influenced the joint commision.” And cleary, he was not wrong.

Cite this paper

Issue of Profit in the Opioid Epidemic. (2021, Nov 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/issue-of-profit-in-the-opioid-epidemic/

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out