I wrote yesterday about the fact that our society would rather have people be profoundly depressed/suicidal than “risk addiction” to opioids. I have gotten not one single response to that post. I’m kind of stunned, and — should I say I wonder what that means? or should I say the obvious implication of the lack of responses is that nobody agrees with me that “risking addiction” is a better alternative than suicide.
I know there are people who believe the same thing about using opioids for physical pain–it’s evil and it must stop. These same people drink alcohol, which is perfectly legal, makes them feel good, and may or may not cause them to become addicted. I ask you, what is the difference? Honestly. I don’t understand it and I want to.
Apparently the vast majority of people in this nation believe that the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol is an acceptable one, but the risk of becoming addicted to any other substance is not. They believe that since alcohol is an over-the-counter substance, it is somehow less evil than prescriptions. If you are in excruciating and/or chronic physical pain, you have three choices: a) learn to live it, b)kill yourself, or 3) use alcohol to try to control it. If you become addicted to alcohol in the process, it’s your own fault and you deserve what you get.
The same is true for emotional pain, only there’s an additional choice (or 400 if you include every pedestrian platitude). If you’re so “weak” that you’re chronically or acutely depressed, you can a) get over it, b) “try being more positive”, c) kill yourself, or d) drink. If you become addicted to alcohol, it’s your own fault and you deserve what you get.
And those are all the choices. Because we simply cannot have people feeling good in this country. It’s evil, and must be stamped out wherever we find it. And if you become addicted by using alcohol to try to feel better, you’re a derelict and deserve to be miserable.
I know many people become addicted to opioids. There are a lot of reasons for this–some are prone to addiction already, some are given too high a dose or simply take more than they’re supposed to, some take them for longer than necessary, and, sometimes, a patient will find a health care professional who is able to understand that a risk of addiction is a better risk than death. And, I know that a large number of irresponsible people will sell their meds trying to get rich quick. That, however is not a healthcare issue. It’s a law enforcement issue.
Who do we sue when someone becomes addicted to alcohol? Nobody. The individual who becomes addicted is at fault. However, the individual is NOT considered to be at fault if addicted to opioids. That, we believe, is the fault of whoever prescribed the meds. Doctors should not be prescribing anything that might prompt addiction, we believe, because helping people feel better is EVIL, and must be punished. And so the doctor is sued. Individual responsibility is abdicated, for some unknown reason. I guess because people are required by law to do whatever their doctors tell them to do (!), and of course, if they take more meds than prescribed or for longer than prescribed, it’s still the doctor’s fault. Because helping people feel better is evil and must be punished. Feeling good is a scourge, a tragedy, a menace. And we must do everything we can to keep people from it.