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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And, Just Where Does It Hurt?


I am very concerned that some are buying into a mixed message about pain clinics (pill mills). Why? Some people evidently believe that the mass distribution of an addictive, deadly substance is fine. For example, since Purdue Pharma, a well-known pharmaceutical company, developed OxyContin; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it; and retail sales of it jumped nearly six-fold between 1997 and 2005; many people believe the drug is adequately regulated and taken only by those in severe pain. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I hear person after person relate their stories of personal tragedy concerning these Rx addiction black holes of no return. As I listen carefully to their descriptions of the terrible destruction of livelihood, family, hope, and life caused by the products prescribed by pill mills, I often feel the terrible heartache of a grieving parent, sibling, spouse or friend. These people have lost hope in a system originally designed to correct such anguish.

Many of the friends of addicts on Rx drugs have taken their loved ones through counseling, rehab, and numerous other programs only to find that the loved one's chance for escaping addiction is very slim and often unsuccessful. So, when asked what can be done, I most often regretfully answer, "I don't know." I hold onto hope and ask them to do the same. Then, as the desperate party walks away, my usual sense of grim reality affirms the horror that death will almost surely follow.


No one deserves to suffer the consequences of the crimes committed by those who willfully distribute the means to acquiring illegal prescription drugs. Damn the entire process that allows the profitable bloodletting to flourish. No rule, regulation or ordinance can stand to uphold the gruesome human consumption of each passing day. For a single person to profit from this intentional poisoning exhibits pure evil. As the community condones everyday operations of these careless operations, its citizens turn their backs to State-sanctioned murder.


A certain judgment of wrongdoing is automatically applied to those who become prescription drug addicts. And, some of these people are definitely thugs and dangerous criminals. However, many victims of drug abuse are people who have made one too many mistakes, and, unfortunately, just one mistake may be enough to snuff out a life. Accidental overdoses, recreational and experimental catastrophes, and legitimate pain relief addiction occur all too frequently. A son here, a cousin there, a mother, a friend -- we all know of the great sacrifices made to monstrous addiction.

I think no mixed message can be accepted for so-called "pain clinics." Their shady methods of operation, ties of ownership to convicted felons, cash-only business dealings, sales to out-of-state customers, and unorthodox hours equate to only one thing -- criminal activity. The law and the enforcement of the law, the public officials and the duty of those elected are safeguards for the common good of the law-abiding citizens. When the citizens demand action and change in the face of a health emergency, an official's neglect is inexcusable. In Southern Ohio, we are already known as the new doormat of prescription drug abuse; soon, the network of Rx corruption will become permanent as the door swings wide open.

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