I recently came across an article by an NPR reporter about the Opioid crisis in Ohio. The state has filed suit against five major pharmaceutical companies for over selling these drugs. The state estimates they currently have about 200,000 cases of people who have Opioid dependencies, which is equivalent to the entire city of Akron, Ohio. I also became aware of the fact that the state of Mississippi filed a similar claim earlier in the year.
This recent information really made me stop to wonder why benzos weren't getting the amount of press that Opioids were in the media. I had to ask myself if the Opioid crisis was really worse than what was going on with the benzos, or if there was just that much less awareness about what was actually going on with the benzo problem.
I had also recalled seeing a number of posts in online support groups from people who had withdrawn from both medications, and most of them said that benzos were far worse to come off of. One possibility I came up with is that it seems many of the stories in the media about Opioids involved a lot of athletes of all kinds, who had been given Opioids due to pain that involved an injury.
This is just my opinion, but I think that as a culture most all of us have experienced physical pain at one time or the other, where anxiety and insomnia are perhaps not as common and relatable to as many people as pain. This might make us less understanding about anxiety than we would be about pain. So, maybe we are just more tolerant of addictions to pain pills than we would be for medications for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety. I think there also maybe a lot more awareness of pain pills being addictive because of the sales job we have received about psychiatric medications.
I'm not saying that one is more important than the other, or that the sales campaign for one is more over the top than it is for the other. I think we have been oversold on all medications in this culture, and we're an easy target due to our need to have a quick fix for many things.
I appears that the prescription pill tsuami is really just beginning to hit, and that the benzos are going to take a quick second seat to the Opioids when the wave finally crashes. In fact, I suspect it might even surpass the Opioid problem once the momentum gets going, because of information on the potential for more long term damage appears to be surfacing in the media about benzos.
Perhaps I'm just a little bias because of my own experience with the benzos. I can't say what it's like for most people coming off Opioids, other than what I have read and heard about from others who have experienced withdrawal from these kind of drugs.
One thing is very clear from these law suits that are surfacing, and that is that we have a huge problem with all drugs. There doesn't appear to be a real speedy end in sight either given the statistics that we are seeing about the number of prescriptions being written for all of these drugs.
Anyway, after giving some thought to this, I contacted the Attorney General's Office in Ohio. They were very tongue and cheek about releasing any information and kept asking me why I wanted information. They refused to give any monetary number on the case or where the funds would be going. I don't know if any other information has been released about the amount of damages the state has incurred or what programs have been badly impacted by this crisis. I do know how the benzo crisis is impacting our disability system, and I suspect that Opioids are only adding to that heap of money that it's costing tax payers. This is not just an Opioid crisis. It's an ethical nationwide problem that is severely impacting not only the physical well being of our country, but also our
social and economic circumstances.
I also contacted the reporter for NPR that wrote the story, and so far I have not received any response regarding my email inquiry. Another reason why I wonder if the media just doesn't care as much about the benzo situation. I suspect there maybe some politics involved. I mean politics are always involved with most things, so there might be more pressure on state politicians to press the issue with Opioids, especially because this was such a huge issue when Obama was in office.
Whatever the case may be regarding any of it, we need solutions to help the people being impacted by it on so many levels. I think I have said it before, but we really aren't prepared for this kind of crisis. All the programs we currently have are set up to help people get on the drugs and not get off of them or to help them get their lives back. At least not something substantial that isn't just a band aid we're trying to apply, when we really need a tunicate.