What we’ve seen in the Mille Lacs area in recent years was confirmed recently by data from the Drug Enforcement Administration: Painkiller sales have spiked nationwide over the last 10 years.
In Minnesota, sales of Oxycodone have increased by 230 percent per capita and Hydrocodone by 209 percent.
Unless there’s been a corresponding spike in pain over the same time period, there should be no spike in painkillers.
As it goes with pain meds, so it goes with other drugs: The more cure, the more disease.
If anti-depressants were really the miracle cure they claim to be, we’d see a marked decrease in the incidence of depression since the advent of Prozac.
If Ritalin were the answer to ADHD, we’d see the ADHD problem abating over time.
Instead, it’s gone the other way.
A caveat: I know people with severe depression or anxiety who have been helped immensely by drugs. I also believe in science and medicine when it has a proven effect on a real problem. If I get cancer, I’ll gladly drink the chemo Kool-Aid.
However, I know many people with pretty decent lives who are popping pills for anxiety, depression and pain. The majority, in my admittedly amateur opinion, don’t need them.
Pharmaceuticals should be a last resort, but economics makes them a first resort for doctors, patients, and especially drug companies.
Doctors have played a role in this tragedy by overprescribing painkillers — just as they’ve overprescribed antibiotics and other drugs.
I understand the pressures doctors are under from patients to hand out pills like candy. But it’s their job to just say “no,” like it’s the parents’ job not to hand their kid a lollypop every time they cry.
Patients become the problem when they choose easy cures over more difficult prevention methods: eating right, exercising, and dealing with mental, emotional and spiritual problems the way our ancestors did for thousands of years — through friends and mentors, religion, intellectual growth, or a walk in the woods.
The drug-seeking masses are making health care more expensive for everyone, but the pharmaceutical industry should get most of the blame for our drug-crazed society.
Remember the days when they couldn’t or didn’t advertise prescription drugs on TV? It wasn’t that long ago. Now we’re overwhelmed with advertising meant to addict us to meds the way we’re addicted to soda pop, fast food, electronics, celebrity gossip, sex, fossil fuels, cigarettes and other garbage pushed on us by Mad Men.
We evolved over millions of years to eat natural foods and exercise outdoors. Acting like cave men is the most time-tested cure to our ills.
Sitting on the couch popping pills while poking our plastic rectangles and eating crap is not how God or nature made us to live and to deal with our problems. We’re like lab rats scratching ourselves until we bleed, or the polar bear at the zoo, pacing obsessively in his unnatural habitat.
We’ve been ingesting chemicals for a few decades — not enough time for our species to evolve means to cope with foreign substances in our system.
In a sane world, people wouldn’t create disease in order to cure it. They would just say “no” to phony syndromes and dubious cures.
If the doctors and drug companies won’t do it, it’s up to you and me.
Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.