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American Opioid Epidemic – Episode 1

December 24, 2019


Welcome to the first video in a new ongoing
series dealing with issues around the Opioid Epidemic. Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in
the United States in 2015 alone, and 2016 is shaping up to be even worse. Chances are that almost everyone knows someone affected by opioids. This is now the largest epidemic in American history. It dwarfs the heroin epidemic of the 1970’s,
and the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It used to be that an auto accident was the most likely reason a high school student would have to deal with the loss of a friend. Now the most likely cause is from Opioid overdose. Let’s start with a brief overview of Opioids
and the Opioid Epidemic. You may have heard people use both the words opiate and opioid interchangeably. Opiates are all naturally occurring alkaloids found in the opium poppy, such as morphine, codeine, and thebaine. Opioid is the newer term used to describe
all naturally occurring opiates, as well as man made alkaloids like Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Heroin. Only papaver somniferum poppies contain these alkaloids. The “Opioid Epidemic”, or “Opioid Crisis”,
is the name given to the rapid increase in opioid use and overdoses in the United States. In 1999 there were 4,000 overdose deaths from opioids. By 2015 there were over 33,000 overdose deaths from opioids. This is a 725% increase in deaths. In comparison 1999 saw about 42,000 deaths from motor vehicle accidents. By 2015 that number had dropped to about 35,000. That’s a 16% drop over the same time period. This series will cover why the opioid epidemic has become the worst epidemic in American history. We’ll look at what series of factors are
causing more people to become addicted to opioids and overdose from them. Is it really because of doctors over-prescribing opioids, or are there other causes? Starting in 2010 the government started pressuring doctors to restrict prescriptions of opioids to pain patients to try to stop the increase
in overdoses. This resulted in the exact opposite, as overdose rates skyrocketed. When the supply of accurately measured pure pharmaceutical drugs started drying up, both legitimate pain patients and recreational
addicts started getting their opioids from the street. Street drugs are not pure or accurately measured, and they are often cut with cheaper Fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. If these Fentanyl pills are not mixed properly there can be “hot spots” in them, where the fentanyl concentrates into much higher levels than expected. If someone buys one of these “hot pills”
thinking it contains 5mg of oxycodone, but it instead contains .25mg of fentanyl, they
will likely overdose. Things weren’t great when people were diverting pharmaceutical drugs from a doctor, but at least they were getting the drug they thought they were buying in the dose they intended to take. In those days overdoses were caused by miscalculation, not from a more potent drug being misrepresented at heroin. We’ll also cover how cheap synthetic opioids like fentanyl are made in China, and then shipped right to the drug dealer’s house by the US postal service. In addition to the onslaught from China, cheap black tar heroin is entering the country from Mexican drug cartels. These are just some of the reasons why the problem we used to have with opioids has become a crisis. We are going to dig into what we’re currently doing to try to stop the increase in opioid deaths, and why they’re not working. This will include things like the War on Drugs, imprisoning addicts, eradication programs in other countries, restricting medication
to pain patients, and the way we miseducate schoolchildren on drugs. This series will show that many of the same failed policies from today have already been failed policies in the past. Why would the same failed policies from the Opium Wars work today? Like the saying goes the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. In addition to understanding how we got here, and why our current policies don’t work, we’ll dive into what could be done to address the problem, if we look at it with fresh eyes. There are available options that many people won’t even consider because of a lifetime of misinformation. Many of the drug abuse education programs and most religions today only teach a program of abstinence. Many people don’t want those addicted to
opioids to have access to substitution programs like methadone and Suboxone, even with the overwhelming evidence that it helps. Opioid substitution programs are denied to prisoners, even when they are prescribed by a doctor, in violation of their 8th amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment. Even though 68 percent suffer from drug addiction, only 11 percent get any treatment while incarcerated. Half of all people in prison are there for
drug offenses, we waste an opportunity to treat them while they are in prison, and when they get out they go right back to using, stealing, getting arrested, and starting the
cycle all over again. If we implement opioid substitution programs in all prison systems we would dramatically improve the current situation. It is the hope that through learning people will become more open to new ideas and strategies to help deal with the opioid crisis. With proper policies that add treatment to
the equation, we can help stop most of the unnecessary opioid deaths. The next video in this series will cover how opioid addiction is made worse by sending them to prison. We can’t treat addiction with incarceration. More people come out of prison as an addict than went in as one. In the end we can either demonize or help
those addicted to opioids, not both. If you found the content helpful please give this video a thumbs up. If you like what you see and want to see more, please support this channel by selecting the Subscribe button. If you know someone suffering from addiction, or close with someone addicted, please share this video with them to help. If you haven’t watched my videos “How
Does Addiction Work” or “How To Stop Using Opioids Successfully”, you can select them here.

6 Comments

  • Reply BioFeedBack July 7, 2017 at 3:16 am

    I would love to hear suggestions on how to improve this video to make it more helpful and informative. If you have any comments on anything you have seen in this video, or have a personal story about opioid addiction you would like to share, then please let us know about it here in the comments. Your story of addiction could be the one that helps someone else to help end theirs.

  • Reply ⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻⸻ July 7, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    You've really improved the talking speed. Now you don't feel like a child getting things explained. This subject is very important so keep the vids comming.

  • Reply Michael Bacigalupi June 3, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Good to see this bogus report not getting comments. I am a chronic pain patient wondering WTF? Fuck you and your holier than thou attitude. Take the simulated Robo voice off just for starters. I’ve lost at least 50% of my ability to function on a daily basis because I tapered myself down to 1/4 of the medication previously taken and might I ad taken for over ten years! Never ran out. Never lost my meds. Never called in early for refills. I took my medication as prescribed, no more no less and then my confidential doctor/patient relationship was disrupted when the DEA, the CDC, local and state law enforcement and for all I know GOD interfered and violated my doctor/patient relationship and got into my personal business and my doctors business! He had no choice but refer me to a “pain management” practice so that I could keep getting my medicine.
    BTW, until you experience the pain that was visited on me by nerve damage after my second total hip replacement I feel you are not qualified or entitled to sit and judge me and pass judgement on my personal pain. Even if you suffer from a chronic pain condition, and I doubt you do and if you did you 2ould understand that as individuals we all have different experiences of pain, different reactions to pain and everyone is not the same when it comes to their unique pain conditions. Got off track here. So getting back to the referral to pain management practice. First, I could not get an appointment with the doctor for six months. I could see a nurse practitioner, who would have been more than happy to order more tests, physical therapy, injections, acupuncture, chiropractic or god only knows what else and all the while looking for one slip up on my part, be it pill counts, THC present in drug testing (thank god for cannabis it’s the only thing that’s keeping me somewhat out of pain just not as well as
    opioids) kind of makes me ramble on a bit as well! lol. The point is I’m disabled, I really can’t afford another doctor bill living high on the hog like I do with all that disability income. that reminds me, I’ve got to let my pilot know I’m running a bit late for that shopping trip in Paris and I’m not even sure I reminded him to fuel the G-5 not the citation! Yep living large on that government money! What a country! There is no such thing as an opioid “epidemic” and the Center for Disease Control should focus on pandemics and scary shit that really is a health threat to this country
    like the coming revolution that’s going to cause a huge amount of “lead poisoning”. So glad my lifespan is coming to an end soon especially now as my body is aging faster due to the effects of undertreated pain! America has lost what little compassion it had and I don’t recognize the new Amerika

  • Reply Morris Levine December 18, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Im using Dialudid and Fentanyl patch for many yrs for pain due to chrones Disease.ive never abused it. I dont think i should be punished.

  • Reply Morris Levine December 18, 2019 at 1:20 am

    Its the carfentanyl patch that kills people

  • Reply Morris Levine December 18, 2019 at 1:22 am

    Dont resctrict pain paitents the use of opiod pain meds

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