Virtually anything and everything written about the various "epidemics" of heroin and opiates or opioids treats the policy as if it were written in stone by God.
Regular use of such can not be tolerated.
People must be gotten off opiates, or rather off of their regular opiates and onto something longer lasting and stronger and more physically addictive.
From what one would gather, this is because the regular use of their regular opiates must be associated with various sorts of diseases and/or ill effects upon health. That staying on say pain pills or heroin is intolerable because such invariably harms health. Perhaps as that with the excessive use of alcohol causing cirrhosis of the liver. Or that of the regular use of Tobacco, particularly the type bred for cigarettes and especially so when so adulterated for such, causing lung cancer and other diseases.
Given the degree on non questioning to that line of thought and policy, one must assume that the more potent opiate substitutes were somehow less harmful. All of this never-mind the relative safety of pharmaceutically produced consistent measured dose pain pills with buffers to facilitate and regulate the absorption taken orally, versus that of contraband 'heroin' of vastly inconsistent varying potency from the degree that it is cut with adulterants that are inert, as well as those that are not as the far more potent synthetic opiate fentanyl.
Policy is so fixated upon "getting people off of their regular opiates" that it dictates physicians to discontinue patient's prescriptions to the relatively safe measured dose pills meant for oral use, thus driving some to the far more dangerous unregulated "heroin". Indeed, this policy is so fixated that it lumps together the over-does fatalities of the regulated pills and the unregulated heroin- all in an appeal to emotion designed to protect and strengthen the markets in the latter.
Even factors about the policy of prescribing pain pills appears to be designed to make this worse, by denying such to patients with an occasional need for such, by limiting them to those for chronic -- all the time -- use. As after all, patients can avoid physical dependence by not using them too frequently, say daily for more than 3 weeks, or only when needed, skipping days of little or no pain, and not escalating the dose, or if so, only moderately. More recent prescription policies to ensure regular use, complete with drug testing requiring a dirty result for a refill, along with admonishments to not skip days, all serve to increase the likelihood of physical dependency- never-mind the lip service given to combating such. hence, a great many people are unjustly denied needed pain medications, while others are shoehorned into patterns of use designed to foster addiction. Ah, a medical profession that does not look out for patients, except for the sake of creating new ones for overly priced drug addiction treatment that would not even be needed if people could simply chose to maintain their dependencies, step away via stepping down their consumption, all with predictable, inexpensive pharmaceuticals, or better yet, preparations based more upon natural Opium, or break their dependencies with legal Ibogaine.
Though policy can't allow people their safe regulated supplies of Opium, hydrocodone, or even heroin, as it will not tolerate physical addiction, it must insist upon making such a situation arguably worse via its reliance upon programs of maintenance based upon versions of opiates that are even more physically addictive, as methadone and more recently Buprenorphine.
Of course the idea is for people to be on something that is longer lasting for the sake of being something with a stable effect so they can lead more or less normal lives, rather than say the peaks and valleys of say injecting heroin.
Never-mind, that at least with the pills, people are capable of that, and with such they could take smaller doses to advert withdrawal while not getting super-high.
Indeed, when opiates were legal, many people lived more or less normal lives even as physical addicts to opiates, and especially so when their use of such was by some oral preparation, or perhaps even the smoking of whole Opium, rather than something hardcore as heroin by injection. Small amounts of say an oral preparation would avoid withdrawal while not providing such a strong effect as to incapacitate, and the stuff was inexpensive, thus avoiding the situation under prohibition of the price being so horribly inflated to compel people to rob or burglarize to fund their consumption.
Prohibition of opiates, indeed of "Opium, Coca leaves and their derivatives" seriously affects drug use. It eliminates the dilute more natural forms and preparations of such substances, shifting their market availability to ultra refined concentrates, which are infinitely more potentially problematic. It removes any regulation of consistency of potency. It tremendously drives up the prices, so what would otherwise be pennies is now pricier per weight than gold. And it promotes more intensified modes of dosing for the greater bang for the buck as that of injection- all things that conspire together to create greater addictiveness and likelihood of a lethal overdose.
Nonetheless, this is a policy supported on both sides of the political spectrum, for the supposed sake of fighting drug abuse, even sadly enough by Bernie Saunders. And thus is a policy supported even by a great many people who otherwise do see through the fraud of the prohibition of Cannabis, who correctly note that Cannabis is neither physically addictive nor toxic, yet who fail to grasp to the degree that prohibition actively makes matters far far worse for other such substances as opiates- or Coca/cocaine- itself a stimulant that is non physically addictive, but in concentrated form can invite overuse with toxic-mania. Though cocaine is in fact only problematic in ultra concentrated forms, regarding actual matters of drug abuse, it was banned in all forms, in the U.S. via a political campaign at the national level coordinated through the USDA and the AMA-APhA starting cir 1904-1905 that primarily targeted its availability in the relatively safe dilute forms as soft drinks similar to the original Coca-Cola (1-3 mg cocaine per fluid ounce) and Vin Mariani (6 mg cocaine per fluid ounce), never-mind the real problems of abuse with the cocaine containing sniffing powders sold as catarrh cures, and the horrors of cocaine injections in anesthesiology.
The savage early 20th century demonification of both Opium and Coca without regard to matter of potency, healthiness, toxicity nor abuse potential, worked hand in glove with the simultaneous demonification of the idea of dilute medicinal preparations based upon herbs (via the muckraker slur term "nostrums" through the infamous Colliers Magazine "The Great American Fraud" disfo campaign), along with the simultaneous free pass given to Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco cigarettes.
Ridding pharmacies and supermarkets of dilute Opium and Coca leaf retail products would not only reduce the amount of such drug consumers, while shifting the reduced consuming population towards the infinitely more problematic concentrated 'hard' forms of these drugs, but it would shift people in general away from dilute preparations based on herbs in general and towards the now freed from the competition product of the Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco cigarettes- "Virginia Bright Leaf" being a variety initially bred a few decades earlier as a reduced nicotine variety designed to be smoother smoke for deeper inhalation, with the introduction of mass machine produced cigarettes cir 1884 enjoying relatively modest sales growth for more than two decades, until their initial two major spurts in sales respectively in 1907 and 1915- notably the years immediately following the U.S. 1906 Food and Drugs Act and the 1914 Harrison 'Narcotics' Act.
The 1906 Act would empower the USDA to ban from interstate commerce as "adulterated" food products containing ingredients that it decreed as deleterious to human health. Never-mind that the Act included cocaine and opiates as ingredients that had to be labeled and thus were presumably legal; the labeling requirement was questionable and could serve as a suicide list insofar that it would be presented as limited to things 'bad" enough to be required to be labeled, whereas for instance caffeine and nicotine where not included; and the USDA powder to declare a substance "deleterious" required no scientific showing. Notably, the USDA-AMA was especially concerned about the use of dilute cocaine; first by going after soft-drink manufacturers, whether those cowed into "mis-branding" for failing to label the cocaine content, even if labeled as Coca, or for so-called "adulteration"; subsequently with campaigning to amend the 1906 Act with federal bans upon such products even sold as medicines outside of a non-refillable prescription; and by 1910 with a blatant admission within an infamous USDA Farmer's Bulletin article "Habit Forming Agents- Their Sale and Use a Menace to the Public Welfare" of their particular "concern"- Coca being sold and used as a "Tobacco Habit Cure"! But of course as Coca and Tobacco are both stimulants with overlapping uses, with Coca a foreign tropical plant that the USDA would confirm in 1904 required hothouses to be grown in the USA, while Tobacco was long established, especially throughout the southeast where there was all of this newspaper reported concern over Blacks on cocaine.
The 1914 Harrison Act would go further by denying the over the counter sale of any product containing any amount of cocaine alkaloid without a physician's prescription that was non-refillable, and likewise for those containing anything more than a small amount of opiates, with the sneaky inclusion of a requirement that such prescriptions be within the course of professional medical practice only, with the authority to define such given to the U.S. Department of Treasury- again without any requirement of any scientific basis. Subsequently, the U.S Department of Treasury would issue regulations prohibiting maintenance doses for opiates, which would be upheld in the courts, both the D.C. Superior Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Likewise, subsequent policies would eliminate the availability of OTC preparations that contained small amounts of opiates initially allowed under the 1914 Harrison Act, thus eliminating the options of people maintaining or stepping down their opiate doses inexpensively and relatively safely. But of course, as the whole market in medicines was being shifted generally away from herbs and dilute medicinal preparations and towards synthetics and concentrated preparations as pills, given that herbs could not be patented, whereas synthetics could, while concentrated preparations meant greater monetary value per shelf space, with required physician visits all conspiring to vastly drive up costs and profits.
Such a pharmaceutical-Tobacco political alliance, further evidenced by the multitude of 20th century medical journal cigarette advertisements with the medical profession's virtual endorsement of such, as those facilitated by AMA President and self-proclaimed 'quack-buster' Morris Fishbein, had nothing to do with actually serving matters of the public's health, and everything with controlling markets in violation of basic human rights for the sake of maximizing profits, with negative ramifications extending throughout the field of health care through the popularization of more profitably and toxic synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Thus, with so many people failing to question our drug polices beyond the general issue of recreational and medicinal Cannabis (Marijuana), virtually everything being echoed in the mass media since about the other substances targeted by the continuing Inquisition of the drug war, is the same old, same old- to wit, that which is now being parroted about "Opioids" - the new name for Opiates.
- We have a new epidemic of heroin
- It is to be blamed upon the availability of newer opiate pain pills placed on the market during the 1990s.
Components of this are:
- blurring together OD deaths from the pills and the contraband "heroin"
- the assumption that the increase in heroin use is from people who started on pain pills
- sloganeering claims that pain pills are being prescribed- handed out "like candies" when in fact many doctors are afraid of prescribing them owing to intimidation by the government in place since 1915 with the abusive practices started via the U.S. Department of Treasury.
- a disregard that most people on pain pills don't go on to intensified abuse- as if we must make vodka prescription only because of its abuse by a subset of alcohol consumers.
Never-mind that ODs are generally from users not knowing the actual potency, and from not being educated about how tolerances to opiates go down during times of abstinence. As pain pills represent predictable fixed doses, it is strange that suicides are generally not mentioned as the motive in at least some fatal ODs via the pills.
Never-mind that the oral use of pain pills and the popular use of heroin by injection are two radically different things.
Never-mind that only a small percentage of persons prescribed pain pills go on to heroin, by sniffing let along by injection.
Never-mind that it would be helpful to provide a breakdown among those that do, of what doses they were prescribed, and if they had a pre-history of excessive pain pill use or heroin use.
So if so many are to accept the drug war approach to opiates, then how how doing so with, say nicotine?
Nicotine addiction, it could be said, leads to about 500,000 premature deaths annually within the U.S., and over 6 million annually worldwide, through the mass consumption of cigarettes.
Now it can also be said that nicotine addiction can be separated from that of Tobacco, particularly cigarettes.
That we can maintain people on nicotine without conventional cigarettes. E cigarettes can deliver nicotine via a relatively non toxic vapor- asides from the issue of whatever is contained in the flavoring.
Nicotine can be delivered alternatively by patch.
And by chewing gum.
And even by beverage.
All of these are currently OTC, except for the form of the beverage which the U.S. FDA moved to stop about 10 years ago regarding a product "Nica-Water" which contained 2 mg for a 12 ounce serving.
These all use the nicotine alkaloid which occurs naturally in Tobacco, presenting it in an appropriately dilute form, and do not present toxicity when used as directed.
Of course they can be toxic if abused, say with the simultaneous application of multiple patches and/or sticks of gum. But so can caffeine pills, also OTC. Let alone alcoholic beverages, particularly and especially distilled spirits, also all OTC. We hear little about such abuses of nicotine and caffeine- instances of fatal ODs on say caffeine powder are sufficiently newsworthy to be occasionally reported, whereas those with alcohol are sufficiently common to go unreported.
Now it is said that we tried alcohol prohibition and that it was a failure for making things worse.
But almost no one it seems, says that about the policies of the drug war for say opiates, while of course we never tried such a policy nationally for Tobacco/nicotine.
So, if we are to have such policies towards opioids, then how about for Tobacco/nicotine?
Ban cigarettes. Not simply the production, promotion, advertising, manufacturer and sale, but also the private possession, even on private property.
Ban Tobacco seeds and plants. Ban private cultivation.
Also ban all nicotine containing products. No more e cigarette liquids that contain nicotine. No more nicotine patches. Or chewing gums. At the very least enact all of these bans outside of the confines of a non refillable prescription. But better yet go further, as there may be hidden dangers in the continual availability of such products, whether perhaps the additives within the e cig liquid flavoring agents, or perhaps the food dyes in the gums, or something perhaps with the long term use of patches upon the skin. Don't bother allowing such products without flavorings or dyes, as what follows is our true goal.
Establish a vast new empire of nicotine addiction treatment facilities!
Refer all nicotine addicts to a "methadone" model clinic system. Create vast new amounts of openings in employment in the drug treatment industry and bill the general public through tax and or insurance premium increases.
Develop longer lasting analogs of nicotine to satisfy the withdrawal/cravings, never-mind that such substances may be more physically addictive than nicotine itself.
If people are to continually believe that this is such a great policy towards opiates, than why then not apply it to nicotine?
Or better yet, have them see that such suggestions for nicotine would be about as insane as our prohibitionist-medicalized policies towards opiates, including that even of using pills rather than even safer more dilute versions of natural opium.
But that would draw too much attention upon the larger picture of the medical establishment's political rejection of herbs in favor of more expensive and potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.