After 3+ years without anything published here,
I'm watching Painkiller, the Netflix short series that came out on August 10th.
I'm into the third episode.
Watching it brings about PTSD like feelings.
Heck, why do I say "like". . . It is actual Post Traumatic Stress from growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s here in West Virginia watching oxycontin flood this area and leave a level of destruction behind no film can accurately capture.
I don't think I can number people I know who have died, been addicted, recovered from, or been hurt by, that pill.
Beyond that, it's taken over two decades for some muted version of the truth about how planned this was by a part of big pharma, how intentional it all was, and I can remember being 22, with a life already on the cusp of being ravaged because of that pill and what it did to so many I cared about, and already absolutely certain about exactly what was taking place.
There are doctors, pharmacists, legislative members and others in positions of influence in our state, and across the nation, who walk around scot free and played huge roles in the oxycontin epidemic, to say nothing of the creator(s), executives or anyone who profited in any manner.
I talk to teachers and foster parents trying to school large numbers of children born addicted, and they don't know what to do with much success.
The people who were on oxycontin and trying to get off then were moved to suboxone. . .just take the time to read about the maker of that drug and the scandal behind it.
The opioid epidemic has made and continues to make billions and billions of dollars a year:
oxycontin had sales from $1.1 billion in 2000 to $3 billion in 2010; suboxone had sales of 1 billion in 2018. Net sales of vivitrol were $379.5 million in 2022, compared to $343.9 million in 2021. The methadone market is estimated to reach $105.3 million by 2026. The naloxone spray market is valued at 1.05 billion for 2022 and is projected to be 3.74 billion by 2030.
The names of the companies / government officials / doctors and the people they prey on change, but the story, the game remains the same.
They can make 100 more films, sue these corporations 1,000 more times, and that's not likely to change the beast.
I'm not sitting here in Wayne County, West Virginia with an answer of how to change this story.
But I can tell you the drug company executives are still laughing all the way to the bank with their pals with new drugs for their farms of addicts across America, and those we've elected are dancing right behind them to their own banks.
Imagine a system that creates addicts and makes billions, then makes even more by creating more drugs the addicts can't be without, then making billions more, and imagine sitting here watching it feeling pretty powerless.
That's where we are now.