Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Addiction Conspiracy. . . by Dr. Mercola

      This article has some very interesting and concerning information about oxycontin and other opioid drugs.  If you are taking one, or are considering taking one, you might want to read it first.
      My mother was on an opioid drug at the end of her life for painful sores that had developed on her legs.  As I look back on the last few weeks of her life, I wonder if this drug hastened her death.

The Addiction Conspiracy: How Government and Big Pharma Created an Epidemic

By Dr. Mercola
While most drugs come with a long list of potentially devastating side effects, painkillers — courtesy of their addictive nature — tend to be among the most lethal. Prescriptions for opioid painkillers have risen by 300 percent over the past 10 years,1and Americans use 80 percent of the world's opioids.2
In Alabama, which has the highest opioid prescription rate in the U.S., 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.3 A result of this trend is that overdose deaths from painkillers now far surpass those from illicit street drugs.
In 2013, about 23,000 Americans died from overdosing on prescription drugs, and painkillers accounted for about 16,000 of those deaths.4

Drug Industry Is Responsible for Mass Addiction

Many believe the drug companies that create and sell these drugs need to be held accountable for this dangerous trend, especially since several have been caught lying about the benefits and risks of their drugs. 
As noted by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA),5 the drug industry has "fostered the opioid addiction epidemic" in several ways, by:
• Introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which prior to reformulation in 2010 could be snorted or shot. Many addicts claimed the high from OxyContin was better than heroin.
In fact, from a chemical standpoint, OxyContin is nearly identical to heroin, and has been identified as a major gateway drug to heroin 
• Changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for lower back pain and other pain conditions that previously did not qualify for these types of drugs.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has had a hand in this problem, although it restricted its promotion of narcotic painkillers to cancer patients6
• Promoting long-term use of opioids, even though there's no evidence that using these drugs long term is safe and effective 
• Downplaying and misinforming doctors and patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs. OxyContin, for example, became a blockbuster drug mainly through misleading claims, which Purdue Pharma knew were false from the start. 
The basic promise was that it provided pain relief for a full 12 hours, twice as long as generic drugs, giving patients "smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night."
However, for many the effects don't last anywhere near 12 hours, and once the drug wears off, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, including body aches, nausea and anxiety. These symptoms, in addition to the return of the original pain, quickly begin to feed the cycle of addiction.7
A 2015 article8 in The Week does a great job revealing the promotional strategy developed by Purdue, and backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that has led to such enormous personal tragedy. As noted in this article, 
"The time-release conceit even worked on the FDA, which stated that 'Delayed absorption, as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.'" 

New Hampshire Suing Over Deceptive Marketing 

Several states are indeed trying to hold drug makers accountable for the epidemic of addiction.9
One of them is New Hampshire, where the state attorney general's office has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of deceptive marketing, saying it misrepresented the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use for chronic pain.
But while the attorney general's legal team consists of three people, Purdue has 19 lawyers on the case. As reported by Concord Monitor:10
"One year after the state attorney general's office filed subpoenas against five large drug companies to discover how addictive painkillers have been marketed in the state, the pharmaceutical giants have handed over nothing more than legal briefs ... 
The current legal fight is whether the attorney general's office can hire outside help. 
All of the drug companies have refused to turn over any internal documents, as long as the attorney general's office works with hired counsel — Cohen Milstein — a firm that has litigated similar cases against the pharmaceutical industry.
Lawyers representing the drug companies have argued Cohen Milstein has an inherent bias against them because it will only get paid if the state takes future legal action against the drug companies. 
A Merrimack County Superior Court judge recently sided with the state, but the drug companies are refusing to budge ... 'They don't want us to know, that's for sure,' Boffetti said. 'We can have no resources; they'll do everything they can to prevent us from seeing the documents.'" 

OxyContin — The $30 Billion 'Widow Maker'

Since its approval in 1996, Purdue has raked in more than $31 billion from the sale of OxyContin. Sales remained unaffected even after Purdue and three of its executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to criminal charges of misleading regulators, doctors and patients about the drug's addiction and abuse risk. 
The company paid $600 million in fines and payments. The three executives, which included Purdue's president and one of its lawyers, agreed to pay another $34.5 million in fines after pleading guilty of misbranding.11
As early as 2003, the FDA ordered Purdue to pull its printed advertisements for OxyContin, saying the ads "grossly misrepresent" the drug's safety profile.12
Despite such obvious warning signs that opioids were being misrepresented and misbranded, little was done to rein in their use. More than 194,000 people have died from overdoses involving opioids, including OxyContin, since 1999. During this time, the death rate from overdoses among women has risen by 450 percent. 
Addiction among younger adults has also dramatically risen. As noted by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), many get caught in a cycle of addiction after being prescribed an opioid drug for a sports injury or wisdom tooth extraction.13
But the elderly are the most vulnerable group. Not only are they prescribed opioids more often than younger people, they also have the highest addiction and death rate.

Beware: Opiates Are Potent Immunosuppressive Drugs

Earlier this month, I interviewed Dr. Thomas Cowan, a family physician and founding... 
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