Harvard Study: Big Pharma, US Gov. Behind Opioid Epidemic

Harvard study confirms big pharma and government behind opioid epidemic

A new Harvard study reveals how Big Pharma and federal government have colluded to allow the current opioid epidemic in the United States. 

The study, entitled The Opioid Epidemic: Fixing a Broken Pharmaceutical Market, describes how the American public have been duped by the elites for more than 20 years.

“In this article, we argue that non-rigorous patenting standards and ineffectual policing of both fraudulent marketing and anticompetitive actions played an important role in launching and prolonging the opioid epidemic. We further show that these regulatory issues are not unique to prescription opioids but rather are reflective of the wider pharmaceutical market.”

Thefreethoughtproject.com reports: Researchers follow with a primer on the rise of opioid prescriptions and how pain became “the fifth vital sign.” By the 1990s, doctors realized that chronic pain was often ignored, and pain management became a hot topic. Physicians were urged to make greater use of opioids, with experts in the field downplaying the potential for misuse and addiction – a view largely based on experience with morphine.

But this was before OxyContin came along.

Purdue Pharma, recognizing that this newfound view of the medical establishment could be exploited, worked to develop an improved synthetic opioid. Their golden ticket was found with the extended-release oxycodone pill known as OxyContin, patented and approved by the FDA in 1995.

However, Purdue’s exclusive patent was based on corporate fraud and government ignorance.

“Purdue was able to patent extended-release oxycodone in the United States despite the fact that its constituent elements—the active ingredient oxycodone and the controlled-release system Contin—had been developed decades earlier…Oxycodone was used in clinical practice in Germany as early as 1917, and was first introduced in the United States in 1939.”

Purdue’s angle was to develop a controlled-release version of oxycodone, banking on its success with the patented MS Contin for morphine. Here’s where the feds stepped in to help.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) initially rejected Purdue’s patent request for extended-release oxycodone, citing the combination as “obvious.” But Purdue responded with a statistical falsehood – which the company knew was false – and the patent office made an about-face, granting the 20 year patent for OxyContin.

Since then, the cozy relationship between Big Pharma and government has grown, with the pharma industry spending almost a billion dollars in ten years on lobbying federal and state governments and campaign contributions.

As the Harvard study notes, “low patenting standards” and “a history of tepid enforcement” provided incentive for Purdue to embark on a massive, fraudulent marketing campaign. With the guarantee of no competition provided by government, Purdue spent obscene amounts of money getting American hooked on their newly-patented product.

“Between 1996 and 2000, the company more than doubled its U.S. marketing team…In 2001, Purdue paid forty million dollars in bonuses tied to extended-release oxycodone…Purdue also invested heavily in analytics, developing a database to identify high-volume prescribers and pharmacies to help focus their marketing resources…Patients were offered starter coupons for a free initial supply of extended-release oxycodone, 34,000 of which were redeemed by 2001…Finally, Purdue hosted forty all-expenses-paid pain management and speaker training conferences at lavish resorts. Over five thousand clinicians attended, receiving toys, fishing hats, and compact discs while listening to sales representatives tout the alleged benefits of extended-release oxycodone…Purdue elevated the stakes, spending an estimated six to twelve times more promoting extended-release oxycodone than its competitor Janssen spent marketing a rival opioid…

Purdue’s efforts paid off. Between 1996 and 2001, extended-release oxycodone generated $2.8 billion in sales. From 2008 to 2014, annual sales exceeded $2 billion.”

It gets even worse.

As the patent expiration for OxyContin approached, Purdue developed an “abuse-deterrent formulation” of the drug, for which FDA granted a patent in 2010. Not satisfied with a simple new patent, Purdue filed a “citizen petition asking the FDA to refuse to accept generic versions of the original extended-release oxycodone formulation on safety grounds.” Incredibly, FDA also granted this to Purdue, “effectively preventing the marketing of low-cost, therapeutically equivalent products that might undercut Purdue’s incentive to continue to widely promote its new abuse-deterrent formulation.”

By the way, the “abuse-deterrent” OxyContin doesn’t really deter addicts, and it has fueled the explosive heroin epidemic as addicts seek out cheaper, black market alternatives. But Purdue is content making its billions off the patented drug.

While thousands of Americans die under a campaign of deception and greed, official Washington pretends to care with the occasional fine levied against pharma companies, including for false marketing by Purdue.

But no one ever goes to jail; no one in top management is ever held to account. The persons in “personhood” conveniently disappear when corporations get in trouble. And the fines? Mere pocket change compared to the revenues already made from the drugs involved.

“Rather than deterring fraudulent marketing, the penalties simply became a cost of doing business.”

The Harvard study provides much more insight into the fraudulent marketing practices of Big Pharma, the patent schemes enabled by federal government, how generic drugs are routinely stifled, and possible ways to address the injustice.

Some of the more sinister effects of the system include “hard switches” which force patients to go from one costly patented drug to another instead of generics. The use of “citizen petitions” by pharma corporations to slow generic drugs and keep prices high is a particularly insidious scheme.

The study notes that today, “Over four million Americans misuse opioids each month” at a societal cost of $80 billion annually. 300 million prescriptions were written in 2015 in the U.S., which has a population of 323 million. This is reflected in the fact that 80 percent of the world’s opioids are consumed in the U.S., which has 5 percent of the world’s population.

The misuse of opioids is a not a simple issue, and personal choice is of course involved. But the above numbers point to something much bigger going on.

As the Harvard study confirms, Big Pharma has exploited the enormous addiction potential of opioids to prey upon the American populace for decades — made possible by a federal government with blatant disregard for the well-being of citizens.

  • Natalie Melendez Abbas

    Well it is about time that someone talks about the elephant in the room. Everyone wants to hold big Pharma responsible, except for the State and Federal Government. I want the rules to change to get all of those incarcerated individuals back out and into treatment. I want my daughter to have her children and her life back. She had a life. I am so sorry to those who have lost loved ones. Awful. A mothers Voice.

    • Dash Riprock

      Absolutely!!!

  • Pharmaciststeve

    The dollars that Purdue and other manufacturers have generate is a “drop in the bucket” to what the Feds/States have spent since the Controlled Substance Act was signed into law in 1970.. > ONE TRILLION and we continue to drop another 81 BILLION/yr in fighting the war on drugs.. all – or nearly all – goes to the various parts of our Judicial system and Congress is proposed another 4.5 billion/yr being added and that is before AG Session and Chris Christie requests for MORE MONEY for the judicial system to wage war on drugs. All trying to stop the Cartels from selling an estimated 100 BILLION/yr in illegal substances. The deaths from opiates are dwarfed by the 550,000/yr deaths from the use/abuse of the two drugs ALCOHOL & NICOTINE.. Those annual deaths are greater than all the USA soldiers that died IN ALL THE YEARS of WW II, Korean, Vietnam wars TOGETHER.. apparently those deaths from abusing some potentially addicting drugs… have become socially acceptable ?

    • Mags King

      The WAR ON DRUGS!@! What a joke.

  • Terri

    I really do understand the tragic problem with opioids. However, I am suffering from legitimate chroinc pain in my back. My only salvation is opioids at this point. Yes, I have been through all methods of alternatives prior to opioids. This includes physical therapy and spinal injections that did not work. I then underwent radiofrenquency ablation, that didn’t work either. My point is , their are people out their that will be lost in the hysterical drive to reduce opioid prescriptions. We are the ones that truely need help. Who will be fighting for us? How do we not get lost in the current “fad of the day”? Please, while you are are pleading for a very worthy cause DO NOT FORGET those of us that truely need these prescriptions and use them responsibly!

    • Victor_Vicious

      Hey Terri, I feel your pain. Move to a State that allows Medical Marihuana, we will find out what form of cannabis helps you, with out the side effects, unless you think feeling euphoric is bad. VV

      • gamegetter II

        Marijuana in whatever form does not work for everyone, just as various prescription meds do not work for everyone.
        It does not relieve pain for me- other than muscle spasms/ pain. It does nothing for the disc problems and residual pain from battling osteomyelitis for 30 years and the 60 or so surgeries it took to get rid of the bone infection.
        I have been a pain mgt patient since 2006.
        I tried every alternative to opioid pain meds prior to that with no success.
        Pain medication is the only thing that helps. The war on opioids is hurting those of us with legitimate chronic pain that is never going to go away.

        • Jessica herron

          Terri have u tried any natural options cannabis is a great one. Edibles r great for body pain. Also I’ve found kratom and California poppy to be life savers as I have chronic pain too along wit a lot of other health issues.. If u ever would like to try natural options u can always contact me.. I’m now 76month clean off of pks all thanks to kratom and California poppy herbs kratom put pretty Mich stopped the withdrawals and is amazing for pain and energy anxiety sleep. It can do so many things if u find the right strains for u! Good luck love I hope u find things that help

          • Carol

            What chronic pain pain condition do you have?

        • http://www.cathilocatico.com/ Cathi Locati

          It doesn’t sound like you’ve tried the right combination of cannabis. Are you working work someone who can help you adjust your product and dosage? A qualified trained consultant not a conventional Dr with zero training in the field? It works wonders when you find the right mix, naturally.

      • Kae Kelley-Ottobre

        As much as you would like to believe it, marijuana is not a miracle cure. While it can be helpful for some people and some conditions, it won’t help everything under the sun.

        • BJR1961

          What they have mainly noticed with pot in regards to pain is that it BOOSTS the opiate, requiring less of a dose. It is not necessarily for pain by itself.

    • AKLads

      I am right with you. I think people take a problem and lump into some huge ball. Every case is different and should dealt with accordingly. Opioids work for me, it’s a fact and I get weary trying to explain it to people. I tried holistic remedies, I tried marijuana for my chronic pain and it did absolutely nothing. I’ve tried diet change, and every stinking treatment that was out there and nothing works but the Percocet. I take 1.5 a day with some Motrin in-between and it allows me to function at work. I’m sorry you’re dealing with chronic pain, it’s not a fun thing to deal with!

    • Wayne Filkins
      • Tim Mantyla

        What are whiter abbither bals??

        • http://franksmithsigns.com Frank Smith

          Do you mean whiter ab bit her bals?

    • http://www.cathilocatico.com/ Cathi Locati

      Cannabis is the answer to chronic pain. Use Cannabidiol or CBD with a little THC and never touch a pharmaceutical again. All the info is available now, read, learn, live. You do not have to smoke CBD and you do not get stoned from it. It is THEE alternative. It’s why states and nations across the planet are legalizing it.

      • Denise Comeau Mirto

        edible oil or tincture

      • John Peterson

        Cannabis is a very useful medicine to many people. But it isn’t for everyone; some people will get anxious or uncomfortable from THC, and some people will use CBD but find it isn’t enough.

        People in severe and chronic pain need opioids as an option. I had an abscessed tooth and it was the worst pain of my life. Ibuprofen didn’t make a dent. Kratom barely took the edge off. I had an opioid prescription for a few days until I could see a dentist, and I needed that. The pain from my tooth abscess was terrible, but it was only a week of my life. There are people who struggle with chronic pain every single day.

        Opiate overprescribing is a problem, but it’s not humane to “crack down” so much that actual pain patients are left without their only relief.

        • mark seidel

          That’s the problem we are all weak. A little bit of pain run to opiets. When an antibiotic will take care of that pain. Knowledge is the key to opiets the government and big pharma want you to run to opiets. They want your brain chemistry to change so you can fuel the disfuntional machine in our country. It’s propaganda at the government level for the sheeple. When we wake up and stop listening to all the lies that are ” normal ” we can only then start to grow. Stop the brain washing

          • Allen Washburn

            I have muscle damage, Acute Spasmodic torticulis, that no antibiotic will touch because it’s not an infection. I get cramps in my neck 20-30 times a day. The cramps are charlie horse cramps, the ones that wake you from sleep. I have a medical marijuanna card but Maryland has yet to open any dispensaries and now I found out that with me getting that card I waive my second amendment right. How twisted is that?

          • theyak47

            Those were the beliefs in Illinois, MMj card and you lose your Firearms Owner ID. That turned out to be false in Illinois, you might want to look that up. It was likely started prior to any state referenda to legalize marijuana.

          • Marianne Bays

            You do not waive your second amendment rights by becoming an enrolled patient in a state legal medicinal marijuana program. Whoever told you that?

          • Kae Kelley-Ottobre

            I don’t think you understand how medications work. Antibiotics are not analgesics, they are pills meant to inhibit the growth of microorganisms (bacteria). Analgesics help to relieve pain, and opiates are meant to be prescribed for moderate to SEVERE pain — the type of pain that would be unaffected by the use of such things as asprin, acetaminophen, NSAIDs, etc.

          • Matthew Ray

            Good words!

          • Chaosfeminist

            Antibiotics do not treat pain

          • BJR1961

            May you never get the chronic pain that my husband suffered through for 30 years. But if you do, may you remember and eat your own words.

          • Matthew Ray

            Lets remember to tell his doctor he is allergic to opiates if he gets brain cancer or breaks his femur!

          • BJR1961

            He died of his autoimmune disease. But he was, indeed “allergic” to many opiates, they made him sick, dizzy, and afraid he’d throw up. He finally got Dilaudid, a very potent pain pill, and was able to function. He worked until the day he died — ONLY because of his pain pills. Ultimately, he still died from his issues of long-term immobility — and threw a clot to his lungs. He had been on warfarin, a “blood thinner” for Deep Vein Thrombosis, and before his clots were discovered, he had been on Plavix, a drug to prevent clots… I am so glad there are so many on this thread who don’t understand a thing about comorbidities but think they understand everything else… 🙁

          • Eric Vermillion

            Mark Seidel your statement of weakness doesn’t account for the millions that suffer from the inescapable effects of disease & injury, which make even the strongest human body unable to function anywhere close to “normal”. If you find yourself in this unfortunate group, finding any brief relief can allow us to be more functional. But realize “functional” at this level can often be defined as being able to breathe,stand,walk,shower,etc… Things most take for granted every minute of every day, but age often changes everyone’s perspectives as their bodies change.
            As an expedition whitewater kayaker my pain tolerance was FAR higher than the average person. Pain becomes a motivator to those regularly pushing the limits of the human body/sport. But no human body escapes the effects of disease no matter how strong or tough you are, even you could be in this category through no fault of your own . In my case Diffuse Scleroderma (labeled incurable with no known cause or treatment) quickly changed every aspect of life you can possibly imagine.
            Currently the war on opiates has reduced the number of pain specialists almost overnight, leaving legitimate chronic pain patients to see doctors that will not prescribe the pain medications that they require. Which is not a treatment that works for chronically ill patients with long term debilitating diseases in severe pain, causing several patients to the streets for opioids.
            Now just getting in the door to see a pain specialist has a 6-8 month wait IF YOU’RE LUCKY enough to find a pain specialist AT ALL. Obviously even the current crackdown has failed our society, my case is living proof.

          • Matthew Ray

            OK antibiotics only will help pain in the long term for bacterial or fungal infections. It does absolutely nothing for the short term acute pain or post-operative pain. Or pain due to malignant(cancerous ) that could involve any organ, tissue, etc to even name. Opiates are “ABSOLUTE NECCESSARY” in the world and has been used for thousands of years. Alexander the Great used opium to conquer the world! He gave it to his army, and if your army can fight or March longer cause they can’t feel their feet hurt than you have a more effective army. Roman gladiators used it to fight fearlessly and die in painless peace. Pain can cause ireversable damage to your central nervous system. Opiates control digestion, breathing, and body temperature. Everyone has endogenous opiates in their brains and GI tract. I couldn’t imagine the world without opiates. Oxycontin has only been around since 1995, but the actual drug oxycodone has been used since 1917. Even if you say that somebody’s pain is only in their mind. Well, all pain is in the mind. That is where pain signals originate. Pain is a very subjective disease, and when somebody says they are in pain then they are in pain, PERIOD!

          • Grace

            Mark, I am just going to refer you to Jesus. Antibiotics impact pain caused by inflammation due to infections. Compassion is in order here. People do have varying thresholds for pain. Calling people weak is not helpful and shows how little you known about the issue. If you can, help someone go through recovery from addiction versus criticize or tout conspiracy theories.

      • db

        Advil and other NSAIs of that class are great for joint and connective tissue pain. They lessen the swelling first to stop the reason for the pain, then they mask pain similar to those opioids. Nsais aren’t as good for some types of pain, and opioids are also good for persistent and non-useful coughing. They also put you to sleep so they are good at night with OTC remedies
        used during the day.

        I can’t understand why people use opioids for fun. Do they like being constipated till they shit a cantaloupe and having phantom itching?

        • Allen Washburn

          For real.

        • theyak47

          Because when you look at the side effects of long term NSAIs opiates do not seem so bad.

        • Cheryl

          Actually db, opioids are not good for non-useful coughing as they depress the cough center in the brain and combining opioids with OTC can lead to death as they potentiate opioids. NSAID’s do treat inflammation, which can relieve pain caused by inflammation,but they do not mask pain. You might want to brush up on your pharmacology before posting.

        • db

          Cheryl;
          1) My MD says that ibuprofen does mask pain. He has recommended that i take 2 for foot pain, three times per day because he says two reduce swelling but don’t hide the pain. He’s German. They like pain.

          2) My Osteopath also recommends low dose ibuprofen for another problem so as to eliminate the swelling which can lessen blood flow. A low dose will will also not make me pain free so I think I’m bulletproof. She likes me to hurt.

          3) My Herbalist sees nothing wrong in using NSAIDs, for pain. She even gave it to her dog for his joint pain. I did ask her about that one, giving human meds to dogs. She said: “We both evolved on Earth and we’re both mammals. Most things that work for one work the same way in others, and this does”. For the majority of things, like keeping blood thin for instance, she’ll have clients drink a measured plant tea or an extract. In that example it would be one of the many which contains aspirin.

          And then there’s you Cheryl. You think you personally know it all.

      • mark seidel

        That’s absolutely true. Opiets have done so much damage to my body, liver,kidneys and not to mention it never addressed the problem creating the pain. It only masked it making it worse. Then the withdrawals made the pain unbearable. Cannabus helps so much with my pain especially when my liver gets inflamed it brings the swelling down relieving all the pain. Also giving me an appetite

        • Chaosfeminist

          Opiates do not cause kidney or liver damage

        • Gerry Garlinghouse

          it’s not the opiates that destroy your liver it’s the acetaminophen that they mix with it that will destroy not only your liver but also your gut flora just like antibiotics which incidentally aren’t all that great for your body for a number of reasons and on top of that there are natural remedies that outperform antibiotics without destroying your natural defenses against dis-ease, simple crushed garlic in fermented honey is 10x more effective than penicillin, and can be made for a few dollars. pure opiates are a substance that like cannabis we have natural receptors for and our bodies make a substance that is very similar. my point is that we are not designed to use petro chemicals as medicine and all they do is mask just about any problem. big pharma isn’t going anywhere and the fda is just a branch of the fraud called big pharma, we’ve been lied to and conned and our entire medical system is a bigger problem than any dis-ease ever could be. get good rest and eat natural live food and we will put them out of business but that would first take people actually researching what works and that’s not even hard to do but we are lazy. the first question any doctor should ask a patent is what is your diet like? but our medical schools are owned by the makers of these poisons and they also set the protocols that doctors must follow or risk the lose of their license. i may be rambling a bit but everything that i’ve said is the truth. it’s not complicated like they teach us it is, in fact it’s common sense which isn’t very common anymore.lol rant over peace and love……….

      • Angela Marie Morris

        Cannabis is not the answer., Most people,who have a drug problem started with a joint. I mean think,about it. If this was the musical end all pain and cancer and every other thing in the world with no side effects and all natural treatment. The government would have legalized it decades ago and put a Patten on it and made their money by regulating it. But they have not. Why because there are things that are bad about it that , I mean tobacco is legal and regulated by the government and their are health issues so.if they will not pass the law a cross the board there,is a reason . and why the he’ll would anyone want to inhail something that makes you act like that. I have cronic pain and I would suffer be for ever smoking pot. And,yes I do know someone who died because they were high on pot. Nothing else. It may make you feel like you can,float above the world but reality as my friend found out is walking off a 10 story building because he felt he was floating is a side effect that took,his life when he fell to his death. So,no thank,you it’s patients resonsability to be responsive,with their treatment . pain meds are ment to help tollerate pain not make it go away .if people,keep that in mind and not take enough to make them,numb addiction will be cut down.

        • Joe

          Angela Marie… a fool you are. Unfortunate for your friend, but if I were you I would get a toxicology report from his autopsy if one were available. I’m sure you’ll find more than you expect. Educate yourself then you don’t sound so ridiculous. And I hope you never experience chronic pain because I promise you your convictions will dissipate as rapidly as your pain and your need for relief elevate.

          • Mags King

            The “pot” must have had an unknown ingredient (“bath salts” or whatever else used today) that made yr loved one walk off a bldg. I started pot in 1967 and NEVER saw ANYONE that high. That is an hallucinogenic or some awful chemical. And no, pot doesn’t help all of us. 1 out of 4 seniors are having their pain treated well. I am not one….so 90%

        • Kathy

          Hunny child you are sorely uninformed. If your friend walked off a building. It was more than pot. NO ONE EVER has died from it.

          • Angela Marie Morris

            Honey child darling dear , I don’t think I am uninformed considering I know the person and you don’t and of course so,eone whom smokes pot may think this way . not every death is public and it is a subsatance that impares . so just because u have your oppenion of your drug of choice don’t tell me I don’t k,ow what was listed as cause of death unless you know the family you don’t fucking k,ow anything normal pot head thinks nothing is wrong with what you do .common sense must have already been burnt up in your brain . if nothing bad ever happens because of pot why is it not legal in all 50 states .and why can you get fired from a job of its in your system and why can you get arrested if you have it or grow it. Keep thinking you know it all .one day maybe if all your brain,cells have not been,completely destroyed you will realize No drug is safe .None.

          • http://www.ohiorightsgroup.org/ Victoria Khan

            look its simple to look it up… pubmed.gov/

          • Cheryl

            No Angela, you really are uniformed when it comes to cannabis. How would it be possible to know what your friend was really thinking when he walked off a 10 story building. If he was with friends or family at the time, why didn’t anyone stop him. Maybe he was just suicidal. I would think that if anyone really knew what he was thinking and was with him, they might have done something to stop him from stepping off the 10th floor of a building.

            I’m not trying to be insensitive to the loss of your friend, but it sounds like his family and friends are looking for something to blame.

            Maybe you should put just as much energy into why a fifth of whiskey or a 12 pack of beer is sold in the grocery store and in every convenience store in the US, and is not a schedule I drug as cannabis is. How many deaths are attributed to alcohol? It’s not a substance of interest at this point, but I’m sure you must have learned about prohibition at one point in your life. How much money is spent on healthcare every year to treat illnesses and injuries caused by alcohol? Hundreds of millions each year and I would guess even more than that. But yet you focus on cannabis as the evil drug.

            As they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”

          • Mags King

            Sounds like the weed was adulterated with “bath salts” or whatever they’re calling it now. NOONE in my 64 yrs EVER got that stupid, just won’t happen. Amazing ppl are still so uneducated about Cannabis AND opiates.
            I’ve cut down to 3 10mgs hydros, been on that dose 5 yrs and the DEA is so aggressive that docs and pharmacists are folding . I had to go to 4 pharmacies this month to find my meds….
            witch hunt, and many suffer in silence. I’m taking CBD and it helps.

          • Michael Thomas

            Please learn how to spell!

          • fredtaylor

            Kathy, obviously marijuana is much less dangrou, however I know pot can cause emotional problems, and psycosis

        • larushka1

          The government DO have a patent on it. Do your research. They won’t legalize it because the pharma companies would lose too much $$$.

          • Angela Marie Morris

            The wonder drug . yea well there are down,falls no matter what potheads cry about. How can any one have a patent on something that is natural does this mean I can Patten air or the sun. Come on . pull up a legal document showing its a govermwnt patent from the US patent office with official seals . or find something to regenerate your braincells , oh sry that can’t be so,e

        • http://www.ohiorightsgroup.org/ Victoria Khan

          totally ignorant and ridiculous statement in 1st 2 sentences.. no need to read further… good grief.

        • http://www.ohiorightsgroup.org/ Victoria Khan

          they did put a patent on it… look it up

        • Cheryl

          Angela, there has never been one death associated with the use of marijuana alone. While not everyone enjoys the effects of cannabis, this is usually due to THC a major component of cannabis, which can cause anxiety and excitability in some people.There has been an increase in research and evidence to show that the use of Cannabidiole, another major component in cannabis can decrease pain, relax muscles, decrease anxiety, treat seizures, and even decrease inflammation.
          The endocannabinoid system in humans are receptors in the body that are found in the central and peripheral nervous syste. Meaning our bodies are designed perfectly for cannabis. Do some real research on gateway drugs. Nicotine and alcohol are truly the gateway drugs. How many parents smoke and drink, which make it relatively easy for kids to access and use. I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, but I would imagine he was using other substances, such as hallucinogenics that may have caused him to feel like he could walk out of a 10 story building.

          While many people who have died as a result of intoxication, substances such as alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, and other illicit drugs are the cause. Even at extremely high doses of both THC and cannabinoids.

          How many people die each year from alcohol use? More than opiates and other drugs combined, but lobbyists and other interest groups who benefit financially from the use of alcohol keep it on the shelves.

          Walk into an AA meeting and meet the millions of people who are there because they were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or it became the drug of choice for them and took over their lives. What about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent on medical care for alcohol related illness and injury?

          Of course no one wants to talk.

          And while it is the patients responsibility to be involved or “responsive” in their medical care and treatment, most physicians who prescribe opiates are not trained to prescribe them or provide adequate treatment protocols.

          The number of people who are prescribed pain medication and abuse them are actually quite low. Most patients take them as prescribed.

          Sure their is a tolerance to opiates and some patients do require increased doses to treat their pain adequately. And while opiates are not meant to make pain go away, it’s the doctors responsibility to find out what is causing the pain, how it can be treated, and what the best plan of action is for long term chronic pain.

          I worked in healthcare when Oxycontin became available and doctors were given incentives to push it on patients by BIg Pharma. That is what the article is about. You think pharmaceutical companies really want to doctors to stop prescribing opiates to patients with pain, whether acute or chronic. NO! I’m sure they will soon release another opiate that they claim has less potential for abuse, cannot be altered, and is a much safer option.

          Right now drugs such as Gabapentin and Lyrica are replacing opiates as the only option to treat pain, but they can cause severe withdrawals, have been shown to cause dementia with long term use, and can lead to nerve damage. What will happen when those drugs are pulled from the shelves. Both Lyrica and Gabapentin are fast becoming recreational drugs and drugs of misuse and abuse. They are surpassing even the use of NSAID’s and are given regardless to the cause of pain. What will happen to the millions of patients who will lose even those drugs when the CDC, DOJ, and drug stores like CVS start limiting dosages.

          If you want to suffer in pain when there are no options left for you, that’s your choice. I myself don’t want to suffer because my pain is no longer a concern of my healthcare providers and government.

        • Marianne Bays

          The US government does have a patent; on the neuroprotective properties of cannabis! But there’s no money for politicians in that. They turn to Big Pharma for that.

      • Philip Daniels

        You don’t understand, for some people their injury was so great, they can’t get along with just cannabis. But not so fast, you can reduce the amount of oxycodone you take using cannabis. It makes oxycodone work better, last longer so you use less pills, believe me I’ve tried getting off narcotic pain meds a few times, for years at a time and all I did was suffer with my condition. I know the brain can get used to things, it never got used to the chronic pain I have …

    • Joey Figaro

      Kratom is also a great alternative to cannabis and synthetics/manufactured stuff. It’s effectively an opiate, but isn’t as devastatingly addictive.

      • Susan Jones

        I have tried Kratom. It had no effect whatsoever.

        • Joey Figaro

          That’s a bummer! I had a few duds from headshops when I first tried it; turned out to be fakes. What dose and strain let you down?

    • Denise Comeau Mirto

      except-they do stop working after a while-I’ve been in pain management since 1995 and have finally weaned myself off of those meds with the help of cannabis-Pain meds are not a long term answer-your body just gets used to them

      • Eric Vermillion

        With responsible treatment this is also disproven daily by patients like myself. By using cannabis AND opiates medication levels can stabilize with a responsible patient, my case consistently disproves that they stop working, or are less effective requiring higher dosages. Fact is they are finding a high CBD & THC combination with opioids can minimize opioid intake consistently. When you live in pain responsible opioid treatment is the only thing that works when all the others fail, and until there is a better replacement opioids still are needed.

        • http://www.ohiorightsgroup.org/ Victoria Khan

          truth^^^^

    • Dash Riprock

      Wow!!! I have the same problem and I had the radio frequency ablation
      but on my abdomen, I was injured front and back and it felt like a
      gunshot wound that wouldn’t heal. Fortunately for me the ablation worked
      although it had to be done twice, I had it done in my back as well and like
      you it was unsuccessful, so opoids it is. I’m in constant pain and
      constant worry that I could be cut off {I was last year}, and will have to suffer in
      agony. Good luck Terri.

    • Fennario

      I don’t hear anyone saying “ban all opioids.” Of course there are legitimate and responsible uses for them – and it’s my opinion that any opioid prescription should be managed by pain management specialists that are scrutinized. Most doctors that write a prescription for them are not trained in how to get people off the – and that’s part of the problem. They can give you months of an addictive drug and then you’re on your own to figure out how to stop them. And Cannabis isn’t the answer to all pain – no one medicine is as there also isn’t only one type of person or one type of pain. I’m a medical cannabis patient in a legal state, so I thoroughly believe in it for certain things – but it’s not a pain cure all. It IS worthy of a fair evaluation though

    • Bugz

      Opium, opiates derived from opium and opioids derived from secondary derivatives / synthetics mixed with the previous or alone absolutely have utility and a place. The danger is when raw resources are controlled by markets that are not free capital markets and staunchly targeting consumers, as well as prohibiting any competition, either directly by other farmers / producers of raw supply, or indirectly by other natural sources (e.g., cannabis, kratom, or the like). At this point, we no longer have a healthy market, we have totalitarianism, unjust enrichment, dictatorship forces, cartels, or an otherwise unbalanced market that is both colluding with a government strong arm and actually creating an underground intentionally as either the cost of business, control thereof or both. Capital free markets are the only checks and balances to large concentrations of power in the economy, as well as democracy in the various branches of government also keeping one another in check. Once an area of the economy or political system is no longer adhering to these principles, regardless of where it may be found, the pillars of the New World called the United States of America is already collapsing, falling prey to the same forces of empires of long ago and only talked about today.

      Addiction is not the evil, addiction is a natural response to isolation! The opposite of addiction is integration! We have been brainwashed into thinking the opposite to feed the artificial profits of a hidden empire, the Opium Empire and protect it from any competition for the sake of artificially skyrocket prices!

  • Terri

    Sorry, I can’t seem to spell “there” correctly, lol!!

    • Tren

      Controlled substance act began before Prohibition, figure that amount out….

    • Dash Riprock

      “thar” lol

  • Jeanne deWard

    “A new Harvard study” – can we have a specific citation, please? What journal published it? Who were the authors?

    • Joshua Barrett

      the pdf is linked in the article….

    • Brand Strong

      Uh… ya. You can, just go up and click the link. The study is actually pretty easy for even a layman to understand but this summary article is very well written and stays on the main points that matter in the study.

  • MikeParent
  • George

    Why isn’t Purdue being held liable for the addiction problem?

  • BarleySinger

    US patent law is so loose, you basically file a patent on *anything* and then it is up to *you* to enfore it, with whatever financial & legal resoures you have available. In the old days, patent clerks had the job of not letting you patent thing that were impossible, or that were already patented, or that could *not* legally be patented due to the limits of the patent system. The US lets its genetics companies, patent the actual genes that exist in naturally evolved organisms. You are only supposed to be able to patent unique inventions and processes. You don’t get to patent a discovery (like a bene, or a chemical element) no matter how accuratly you descibe it.

    But now days, they just let anyone file very vague patents on anything. You can patent a hand gesture (its been done). Huge companies use the patent system as a way to stop competition. They battle each other in court, and use patent law as a way to prevent their competition from being first to market (you can’t sell THAT phone, because it’s look & feel violates our patent on the use of body parts as an organic interface for controlling equipment).

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/United-States-Kratom-United/1033017630043331?ref=bookmarks Kelly Devine

    I wasn’t even trying to stop my pain meds but after drinking kratom tea I was off 13 in 10 months. I no longer feel like I’m in a fog and I am able to function so much better. To learn more join this group #Kratom #TeamKratom #TeamBEA
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/KratomUnited/

    • Lisa Lovely

      Kelly, nothing you say is even true! Remember when you requested information from The Truth About Kratom and they offered an exchange of information? Why did you delete your comment and run off? This was your chance to show that you are infact a woman of your word. You lie like a dirty used up rug.

  • SHERI

    Same scenerio for kids on Adderall and anti-depressants. Our federal government colluded with big pharma in allowing public schools to force kids on meds! Now we have candy flavored adderall for children as young as 2 years old. Big pharma pushes adderall (same as meth) and Ritalin (same as cocaine) like it is candy and our federal government condones it. Federal and state prisons are filled with the aftermath of those that even live through these drugs! There is no greater reason than this, for citizens to “RIOT IN OUR STREETS”!

  • SHERI

    Same scenario for kids on ADD/ADHD meds and Anti-depressants. Our federal government colluded with Big Pharma in allowing our public schools to force kids on meds. We now have candy flavored Adderall for kids as young as 2 years old Adderall (same as meth) Ritalin (same as cocaine). Our federal and state prisons are overflowing with those ,that even, live through the aftermath of of these prescribed drugs. There is no greater reason that citizens should be “RIOTING IN OUR STREETS”. The drugging of America is a crime against our people and it will continue as long as WE THE PEOPLE allow it!

  • JUst Sayin

    This is exactly why they tried to stop Kratom…

  • Charlie Payne

    If this is the so called cause for the opioid epidemic, then, by these standards all manufacturers of alcoholic beverages will be responsible for every alcoholic death and alcoholic in the United States! In other words this is (Horse Shit) reasoning! It makes all Americans for responsible for the actions of another person! That is, in my opinion, another method of totalitarian thinking to remove individual rights and responsibility. We will all soon be responsible by proxy for the actions of another person by bypassing the Constitution! Harvard can kiss my ass!

  • The Real Farmer

    This is a load of horse scheit The problem is that America has to many junkies. Now the lefties at Harvard are looking for someone to blame. Take a look at Obama’s lax policies encouraging folks to flood over the border. Weed is another subject that can help people.

    • Kae Kelley-Ottobre

      Are you kidding me?

      • The Real Farmer

        Oh, do we not have a a bunch of junkies in America?

        • Terasa Barker

          And it’s been this way since the 60’s during the Vietnam war. Many came home junkies.

  • Dash Riprock

    And you thought they really cared…….BWAAAA HAA HA Ha

  • Dash Riprock

    What nobody is talking about is the fact that people that are in severe chronic pain turn to alcohol when their pain medication is either cut back or cut off, this little fact alone is killing Americans by the thousands, but it’s a slow process and the government and the media don’t want to draw attention to the mess they created so we won’t hear about it. Cheers!

  • http://www.itzallwayzconnected.com/ BRENDA ebonitia NERO

    IT IS WHAT IT IS because itzallconnected.

    KNOW THY SELF was carved into stone by the Ancient Egyptians as both a lesson, and a reminder. While the Greeks made the tiny, pink, penis a work of art, they stole enough understanding to plagiarize those three little words.
    As you fan the flow of the wind beneath (y)our wings, question EveryThing about how to study up on which way is up. There is no escaping (y)ourSelf. Every blind-dead, war-like, violent, community [society] that refuses to balance the scales of justice while “decriminalizing injustice” must fade to black while being “whited-out,” or ostracized.

    Capitalism is as evil as spelling live backwards. Obviously, there must be a WHITE ONLY sign on the gates of every hole-in-hole. The “original sin” is still a belief that any One, or any thing, can “act-U-ally” be made separated from The All-of-it; Creation–itzSelf. The belief in “white [male] supremacy” has reduced the majority of pale-skinned [white and imitation white] people to living lies who have chosen to die in The Lie. Taking a knee is not about patriotism; it is about integrity. Integrity is what holds (y)our mind, (y)our health, (y)our life/legacy, and every kind of community [society] together.

  • Jason Strickland

    Kind of a shit article. Points to how bad this opioid epidemic is but also slams Purdue for keeping cheap generics from being made. The title is even worse. Click bait garbage that’s far from a whole truth. I expect better from you Sean. This story deserves more than hype spin and half facts. Stop selling out for clicks Sean.

  • Tom McCann

    Why don’t they mention the part where the government over-prescribed pain medication to operation Iraqi freedom & operation enduring Freedom veterans coming home with pain & other injuries. Then start overprescribing pills to people who can easily self-medicate! Nobody talks about the VA Healthcare System doing that but I keep hearing story after story after story from fellow veterans!

  • Terasa Barker

    Opiate do play an important role in our society. Addicts will ABUSE anything. Let’s not stereotype everyone and demonize those pills, many have used them responsibly….including myself

    • Mags King

      I know! Pharmacists look at me (65) like I am a crackhead, MDs overregulated. DEA is a bully.
      American soldiers guarding poppy fields in middle east, like the coca mills in SA, OUR WAR ON DRUGS!!!!

  • Jonathan M Zmuda

    This makes legalization of Cannabis seem like simple common sense for even the most the intelligence challenged person. Every human being is an addict of some sort. Learning to use things in moderation and not giving in to getting high, which requires education and self control, would cure all addictions. Opioids have their definite uses, and advantages. But as weak minded people crave religion, liberal retards crave their not so realistic causes, so do addicts of drugs to the high.

  • Pam Ruigh

    Can you give us a link to the actual Harvard Study and who was involved in publishing the study? Without this verifying information, any Tom, Dick or Harry can call anything “a Harvard Study” and it means absolutely nothing…or fake news.

  • klang100

    I have no pain and I am so much healthier than I was 30 years ago. I contribute it to alternative medicine and what I have learned from it. For years now my doctor has been Mercola.com. I have found that building up my immune system and keeping it built up eliminates pain.

  • Shoshieq

    This is total rubbish! The opioid epidemic was dreamed up by the DEA because it needed a new drug to continue the war on drug. People are dying out there because no one is telling them the truth, do not mix drugs especially with alcohol. How many people must die and suffer because of the general public’s stupidity and vulnerability. Yes the opioid crisis in the new McCarthyism of the 21 century.

  • Shoshieq

    You call yourselves academics…..This article is nothing but hype and conjecture…..Your study is causing nothing but harm

  • Shoshieq

    I have joined this discussion and you refuse to print any thing I’ve written…. Is it because I disagree with your ridiculous theories. Is it because attitudes like this are destroying lives?

  • Dadler

    But the feds still can’t do anything about the massive criminality at the heart of the Big Finance? At the heart of the entire bogus “economy?” Really?? Sigh.

    • Mags King

      yeah, go bully some pain patients, we’re the enemy!
      Asswipes.