Cities unite to address opioid addiction

On February 27, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

State-funded Prevention Collaborative between Somerville, Cambridge, Everett and Watertown reports on needs and next steps, including prevention initiatives and NARCAN use

somervillelogoStrategies to expand efforts to prevent heroin and opioid use and overdoses, including the use of the opioid overdose antidote nasal NARCAN, are now being developed by a four-city Massachusetts Opioid Addiction and Prevention Collaborative (MOAPC) that includes Somerville, Cambridge, Everett and Watertown. Funded by a $100,000 Massachusetts Department of Public Health MOAPC grant awarded in July 2013, the Collaborative conducted an in-depth needs assessment and presented its findings on Feb. 10 to Somerville’s new Substance Use and Mental Health community stakeholder group, which unites community stakeholders working on suicide prevention, jail diversion and substance use.

The assessment’s review of hospital and 911 call data confirmed that the primary at-risk population in Somerville is young adults aged 20 to 29, primarily males. The rate of overdoses in Somerville is slightly lower than in the state, but data from stakeholder interviews indicates that in all four communities, there is growing concern about overdoses and misuse of prescription drugs. With the resources and supports of the current grant, the Collaborative has identified the following goals to work toward prevention:

1. Disseminate information to address the misconceptions around prescription drug use.

2. Provide education on the proper disposal of prescription drugs including via the kiosk available 24/7 at the Public Safety Building, 220 Washington St, no questions asked. (Did you know that most youth have identified that they access prescription medication most commonly from their or a loved ones’ medicine cabinet?)

3. Raise awareness about supports for the recovery community including:

  • Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline: 1-800-327-5050
  • Families Anonymous @ 121 Washington St., Medford. Meets Tuesday 7 p.m.  781-727-1803
  • Learn 2 Cope @ Spaulding Hospital, 1575 Cambridge St., Cambridge. Meets Monday 7 p.m. 508-738-5148. Use main entrance and follow signs to the 3rd Floor Chapel.  If you have questions, stop at the reception desk. Free visitor parking at Lot E on Hovey Avenue.

“We recognize this is just a start and we also recognize the need to gain further input from many perspectives including those in recovery as well as family members, faith groups and providers,” said Trauma Response Network Manager and Clinical Youth Specialist Patricia Contente. “This is a problem that we need to solve together as a community—and across communities—and we thank the State for their support of our efforts.”

Building on Past Prevention Efforts and Expanding NARCAN Access

The Collaborative builds on the ongoing, long-term prevention efforts by the City’s Somerville Office of PreventionSomerville Cares About Prevention, and the Somerville Trauma Response Network, including their “How to Save a Life” program established in 2011 in response to an increase in fatal overdoses that year. In 2011, the city had 23 nonfatal overdoses and 3 fatal overdoses of individuals between the age of 26 and 34. In response, the Somerville Health Department in collaboration with Police, Fire, Teen Empowerment, Cambridge Health Alliance and a host of other community providers offered the “How to Save a Life” program, which included training in NARCAN and the distribution of NARCAN to targeted community members. NARCAN is an antidote for overdoses caused by opioid class drugs, which include heroin. It is important to understand that NARCAN is not effective on overdoses caused by other substances such as cocaine or alcohol.

“Through the Collaborative, we have been working once again to train local providers in the use of NARCAN, and in Somerville we are fortunate that Cataldo ambulance services carry this antidote and that Police and Fire have been moving quickly to get their members trained to carry in response to the increase in fatal overdoses in the region in the past few months,” said Cory Mashburn, the Director of the Somerville Office of Prevention. “At the same time, it’s important to remember that we must also focus on prevention efforts long before we ever get close to the risk of an overdose.”

“When we faced this crisis nine years ago, we went through a lot of healing. We learned a lot. And one thing we learned is that addiction charges us to be vigilant. We must take a comprehensive approach to opioid use and overdose prevention,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “That’s why we are making sure that our first responders get the training they need and will have NARCAN on hand, so that if we can save a life, we will. But it’s also why our prevention efforts cannot let up. We know from experience that when the community comes together to educate, provide services, talk to our youth, and provide trauma response it can prevent tragedy. The work of saving a life begins much earlier than the moment someone dials 911.”

The Somerville Fire Department reached out to the Cambridge Health Alliance earlier this year to establish NARCAN training for Somerville firefighters, which they expect to begin soon, and the Somerville Police will begin NARCAN training as part of their CPR program in March.

“Heroin and prescription drug addiction can affect any family, and we need to make sure that the resources needed to support those struggling with addiction or the addiction of a family member are not just available, but also that they address this problem from start to finish, from drug prevention to overdose rescue,” said Ward 1 Alderman Matt McLaughlin. “This is not just an individual or isolated issue that some should battle alone. Unaddressed addiction impacts the whole community and puts others, especially our younger residents, at risk of being drawn into this destructive cycle.”

The next stakeholder meeting on Substance Use and Mental Health will be held on April 14 from 12-2:30 p.m. at the Somerville Public Safety Building. The Office of Prevention is also in the process of scheduling “How to Save A Life” on April 8 and a promotion highlighting National Take Back Day on April 26.

For more information or to participate in upcoming programs please contact Patty Contente at 617-625-6600 ext. 4325 or pcontente@somervillema.gov or Cory Mashburn at 617-625-6600 ext. 2570  or cmashburn@somervillema.gov. Also look for announcements on the city calendar and our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SomervilleCares.

 

35 Responses to “Cities unite to address opioid addiction”

  1. Me says:

    How many unserviced Opioid users are there in Somerville that $100,000 needs to be taken from tax payers?

  2. Matt C says:

    This is a huge regional issue in mass. While 100k is no where near enough to solve the problem it is a step in the right direction.

  3. Concerned Parent says:

    This article is maddening. To think that we need to collaborate with other towns, and spend $100,000.00 to learn what 3 city offices are already paid to do: Somerville Office of Prevention, Somerville Cares About Prevention, and the Somerville Trauma Response Network. As part of a Somerville family which has dealt with addiction for many years, I am aware of only a handful of events held by Somerville Cares About Prevention, and have no clue what the other offices do or have done. Where were these groups when the DPH held hearings regarding CHA’s plan to shut down the only detox unit in the city of Somerville? I don’t recall seeing them there, but of course, since CHA is basically funded by the city why would they speak out against them? I did see loads of parents, patients, former patients, and a few politicians at the hearing. And surprise, they closed the detox unit.
    As for the points this task force hopes to address:
    #1 and #2 are more than useless. #3, Families Anonymous and Learn2Cope are not part of the recovery community. They are both support groups for family members of those battling addiction.
    Then the task force will gather input from family members, etc. SCAP held a forum 2 years ago which was very well-attended, and they promised to have them regularly. As far as I know there has never been another.
    I attended one Narcan training in the city which I believe was hosted by Teen Empowerment. I have never heard of the ‘Save a Life’ Program. If our city offices who deal with substance abuse are doing their job, why did the Fire Dept. have to contact CHA to arrange NARCAN training for their staff?
    I would suggest that an office of prevention would better serve the city if it included people who were actually invested in the addiction/recovery system and knew firsthand the obstacles they need to overcome.

  4. Derek says:

    Matt C, We have 3 groups in the city of Somerville, paid by the city, that have been around for 10 years. Suddenly they can get something done if they have $100K and work with other cities? Let’s find out what they have been doing the last 10 years. They are jumping on the bandwagon suddenly because 2 famous actors died and everyone suddenly noticed how many addicts we have, and too many of them are dying? I’d rather see that $100K go into funding treatment programs, that’s what is needed most.

  5. Matt C says:

    Derek, thanks for the additional information.

  6. ritepride says:

    I worked at places with “treatment programs”. A constant revolving door because the time required to be in the program is never enough time to solve the problem. The state contracts out treatment programs and the operators of the programs want to move clients in & out as quickly as possible to reap big $$$$. The owners show once or twice a month in their fancy BMW, Lexus to check the books.

  7. amen says:

    concerned parent/Derek get it right. the city has people who are supposed to be doing this. how about a complete accounting of where their money went before they get this newest funding? they didn’t follow through on their original agenda, now they want more? I agree it’s because famous people have made this a hot issue. our teens have been dying for years and nobody has done a damn thing.

  8. ritepride says:

    “Concerned Parent has it correct. All these city programs end up hiring friends/relatives of elected officials. Look at when aldermen step down from office and jobs appear overnight at city hall as has recently taken place.

    There should be an ordinance in place that when an elected official ends their term of office or steps down before the end of the term their employment, their employment in municipal government is over..no more feeding at the public trough. The reason they do it now is because these guys could not survive in the real job market as they have had it so easy sucking off of the taxpayers all these years.

    If funding is available it should be up to the concerned parents to decide where the funding should go so it is used wisely.

  9. cambridgeyuppie says:

    Concerned Parent is correct. Nobody wants to do a damn. And even if they wanted, they are too incompetent to do anything meaningful. So, just keep getting your juicy salary + perks and try to push your work onto someone else’s desk.

  10. nobrainer says:

    rite pride you are 100% correct. This just paid for the next unemployed Alderman to be hired in a few weeks, making it three of them in less than one year. If they are so qualified, why are no other candidates even interviewed?

  11. my point says:

    the city has a responsibility here, but I want to be clear that the city isn’t to blame for anyone using drugs. It’s a family’s responsibility to keep their kids off drugs. It’s been very difficult, in my experience, to interest families in learning the warning signs here. and also to act quickly when they see things. Too many parent dismiss the joint they find, or the shape the kid comes home in. Thinking, they’re all going to try stuff. That’s when you need to grab the kid and change things. How do you convince young parents to read and learn from others who have been through this? That’s where the city could provide a service.

  12. Bubbles says:

    First of all, $100,000 is not that much divided between four cities. It’s even less when you consider it’s state funding, so that money is divided amongst millions of people.
    I’m personally happy the Commonwealth is taking measures to institute life saving measures. Anyone who grew up in this state knows how serious opiate addiction is. If you grew up losing friends and family, you would find that $100,000 to save the lives of your loved ones is a drop in the pan. We all need to be doing more: the community, the state, city organizations, families, etc. Its time to stop passing responsibility to someone else.

  13. my point says:

    Bubbles, nobody is opposed to the funding. I think the point being made is public money gets thrown at it and nothing effective comes of it. it’s a big issue right now, so the response is to announce a bunch of money. doesn’t work that way. but it makes people feel good

  14. Townie says:

    The 3 points this $100,000 is supposed to pay for could, and should, already be getting done by our current Health Department, and their sub-committees on addiction and substance abuse. We don’t need more money for them to do something they should have been doing all along. Face facts, no city can effectively change this epidemic. The federal government needs to stop guarding the poppy fields in Afghanistan, and allowing Heroin and other drugs to come across the border. They also need to acknowledge that pot is also a mind-altering drug and should be treated as such. While not usually as deadly as heroin, it can be deadly and can lead to more dangerous drugs. Then the state needs to take the issue seriously with treatment options. Changing the type of treatment as well as adding many more facilities. They will pay for themselves over time. Most people are unaware of the cost of drug addiction to society. The medical community needs to be more outspoken, and also learn how to treat addiction and how to handle addicts. Poster above is right. Go to the source. Talk to the families and friends, get your hands dirty and find out what is really going on.

  15. Bubbles says:

    If your main concern is over $100,000, which boils down to $25,000 per community and $ .015 cents per person, your concerns are misplaced. If your main concern is that this is all a show that will change nothing, then guess what we’ll need to affect change? More money. If you care about the issue but do not want to see money spent, what is the solution? Blame the parents? Not exactly a sound government strategy.

  16. Tina says:

    Concerned Parent – The “Save a Life” forum was presented by the Somerville Office of Prevention, SCAP, and the Somerville Health Department. That was the Narcan Training that happened in 2011. And to you point, “Families Anonymous and Learn2Cope are not part of the recovery community. They are both support groups for family members of those battling addiction.” – People they are going through recovery need a stable household and Learn 2 Cope and Families Anonymous make that happen.

    The Somerville Office of Prevention, SCAP, and the Trauma Response Network have been working on this issue for a decade now. Drug use is going down in the city since then. Youth alcohol use has gone down by 33%, Youth Marijuana has gone down by 25%, and Youth Oxycontin use has gone down by 66%. SCAP has done several event talking about youth drug use over the past 2 years. I have been to some of them and they give great information for youth, parents, and residents.

    If anyone would like to be trained or learn more about NARCAN, everyone can contact:

    Cambridge Needle Exchange/AIDS Action Committee
    359 Green St. (Central Square)
    617-599-0246
    http://www.aac.org/about/our-work/needle-exchange.html

  17. bubbles??& Tina says:

    bubbles, why don’t you get this? the concern is not spending money. it’s that the money has already been spent, just not well. people who were supposed to be working on it are not. more money is a knee-jerk reaction that makes people feel good and walk away.
    Tina-where do you get those statistics, because I’ve been to too many funerals lately to believe that. seriously, how did you compile those? If SCAP & Trauma Response have been doing events, why doesn’t Concerned Parent know? WHy didn’t I know? if your target audience isn’t aware, what good is it? I pay attention and watch for these things.
    P.S. Oxy use is down cuz they’re all onto heroin. and it didn’t cost me $100k to find out. So, when and where were all these events?

  18. cambridgeyuppie says:

    What’s wrong with opioids? Look at Rush, he’s doing just fine, no? :)

  19. therealdeal says:

    Tina is writing from the Needle Exchange Program which is aimed at preventing AIDS in drug users. That, and the law allowing anyone with an ID to buy a package of needles for a few bucks (also to prevent AIDS), are two of the reasons we now have so many intravenous heroin users. We are preventing AIDS but in the process creating heroin addicts who often suffer fatal overdoses. Great plan, glad that SCAP can take credit for it.
    I’d like to know when the Trauma Response Network will be reaching out to the families I know who have lost children to drugs? Or to their friends? Because I don’t know one person they have contacted after they suffered the trauma of losing a son/sister/brother/friend.

  20. yuppie says:

    interesting you throw out Rush Limbaugh as an opiod addict (recovering). could have thrown out Bobby Kennedy Jr., David Kennedy, Marion Barry, etc. But no, throw out a conservative. much better headline.

  21. Next says:

    You bet it’s a better headline when a mean, hypocritical blowhard like that gets taken down. Next.

  22. fed up says:

    Where is this collaborative effort (MOAPC)? Where is the Somerville Office for Prevention? Where is the Trauma Response Network? Where is the Mayor? We have now lost several young men recently to opiate overdose and there is not even a mention of it, or of the organizations allegedly working to prevent it. Did anyone from any of these organizations attend the vigils held by the peers of these young men? Reach out to their friends and family? Do anything at all?

  23. mara says:

    fed up you are very right. We have today lost another young man. Yet no word from the Mayor, the Office for Prevention, the Trauma Response Network, or the $100,000 dollar multi-city taxpayer funded boondoggle called MA Opiod Addiction and Prevention Collaborative. I have to say when I look at the goals they have laid out I don’t see any of them having much, if any, of an impact.

  24. I don’t understand why the war against drugs continues–why aren’t our elected officials getting to the root of the problem and stopping the ongoing corruption and people at the top of the chain? I believe if they really wanted to stop drugs, they would.

    In the meantime, we have millions of peoples lives ruined, families ruined and struggling to help love ones who are hooked on drugs.

    We should be using money for good facilities with trained personnel–competent and caring doctors, nurses and psychologists who can help people with addition problems. Think of the many lives that could be saved and healed if we only had a system that worked to help families in need.

    Instead, they just keep throwing more bad money at programs that fail, people who are either unqualified, or by way of patronage, even worse, those who are merely drawing a paycheck and don’t care about the patients.

    It’s the same with the courts and our youth–they don’t address it until someone commits a crime and then they get tossed in jail instead of getting the help they need.

    If we created preventative programs in schools that worked, we would see much lower numbers of people with addiction problems. The key is education and starting it early. Kid need to build self-esteem which helps to avoid such pitfalls in life. Addictive behavior is an illness–drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.

    We spend billions on this issue and yet what has truly been accomplished?

  25. sad times says:

    sad times here, for sure. I agree there should be educational/preventive programs provided by the city. I think it’s wrong to put the whole thing on school and the city. This is a family issue, and families have to learn about it and protect their own children. Even with the amount of addiction and loss of young, I say if you ran a training to learn all the warning signs and ways to address this, you’d be in an almost empty room. “not my kid’, ‘sure I found a joint, no big deal’, ‘it’s his/her friends, not him’. I’ve heard it all. Until families get real and face this in the early stages, the losses will continue.

  26. I worked in healthcare for 8 years. The medical community should be more involved in policing this issue because it is at times, prescription drugs like oxy and other pain killers, anti-depressants that get a person hooked on street drugs.

    The parents should not be blamed, that’s the easy way out. Sure, it’s important to nurture and discipline your child, but as addicting drugs become more powerful, coupled with the fact we have a billion dollar pharmaceutical industry which is not helping to get people off drugs, this problem is extremely difficult to fix.

    We need to start as early as 5 years old, teaching our children the serious dangers of drugs. My children lost friends due to tragedies caused by drugs and alcohol. These problems can happen to anybody, that’s what greater society fails to recognize. The real estate community does not want the public at large to know about a town’s drug problems because it’s bad for home sales and rentals. I knew a cop from a local seaside tourist community who admitted being screamed at by a town selectman for telling a reporter of the opiate rise in their community which had risen to 8 fatalities. So, that’s the back story they don’t want you to know–it’s bad for business and home values.

    It’s also a class issue because one drug is considered glamorous and the other dirty. The rich house their kids away and pay enormous fees for treatment programs while telling their friends they are studying abroad.

    Ritepride, Townie and Derek make valid points–the money needs to be used for long-term treatment programs with qualified and dedicated professionals. It only becomes overwhelming tragic when it happens to Hollywood. These are our children and we should be doing everything in our power to help them get over drug addiction, but also alcohol as well and online gambling. They are all life suckers.

    Teens need positive reinforcement and self-esteem builders. Unemployment is a major contributing factor as to why our youth turns to drugs, they lack direction and skills to make their life better. Education, a trade, seeing one’s own success build, that can help a great deal of getting people away from harmful addictions.

    We should also be adding this to the Police Chief survey–we need a chief who can address this problem in a way that helps the person addicted. Yes, drugs are a crime, we get that, but saving a life should be their first priority.

    Matt –thank you for your continued efforts in helping our kids. See you at the next meeting.

  27. mara says:

    If you look at the kids and families affected in this city it is kids from good, intact families, with involved parents. The pharmaceutical industry started this problem with oxycodone, telling physicians it was not addictive. They finally made some changes making oxycodone harder to abuse, but now are set to come out with a new drug which is much more powerful than oxycodone. They must have a very powerful lobby in Washington.

  28. agree/disagree says:

    good, intact families doesn’t prevent this, obviously. that doesn’t mean you’re not sheltered from reality or have a mental illness or learning disability that gets ignored. this leads to much of the abuses. and parent’s can’[t be blamed/? true to a point, but almost every parent who wants to be honest will admit they looked the other way when the kid first started getting into trouble. ask teachers, youth workers, etc. Mom/Dad fights the kids battles, does the work for them. When you get pushed out into reality, it’s scary and frustrating. The self-esteem stuff is part of the problem. you don’t invite kids in and buy them self-esteem. They get a job, play a sport, volunteer, build a life, and they get self esteem. we’re blaming pharma, city, state, economy, everything but the people who are in charge of their development, their families.

  29. Heroin on the rise

    “According to the state Department of Public Health….. Opioid-related deaths almost doubled from 2000 to 2011 (the most recent year available) – from 363 to 642 in the Bay State.

    “….police have dealt with an alarming number of overdoses for an upper middle-class town with a median annual family income close to $100,000.

    “It’s a concern when the EMS are on another call and our officers are the first responders,” he said. “(Narcan) would be a valuable tool for our officers to have.”

    There have been at least 58 confirmed heroin overdoses in town since Jan. 1, 2012. He said since most overdose calls are logged as medical calls, it is hard to determine exactly how many overdoses actually occurred – as is the case with most police departments.

    According to other police departments closer to Boston reporting an even bigger problem with the drug, such as Chelsea, Everett and Revere, today’s heroin is stronger. In Quincy, all police officers, who always respond to medical calls, carry Narcan, said Lt. Patrick Glynn.

    The DPH-funded pilot program, which began in October 2010, has helped to reverse 223 overdoses out of 234 administered doses of Narcan in that span, reducing the death rate in overdose patients by 66 percent.

    “There’s definitely a connection between heroin and pill abuse,” Robideau said. “The pills become not enough. … It’s a very common story here.”

    http://m.wickedlocal.com/article/20140223/News/140228580
    (btw, no surprise who the manufacturer is of oxy, go-wiki)

  30. Pixie Pocahontas says:

    agree/disagree ,

    Certainly families need to be involved and aware, but many are single parents raising more than one child, working 1-2 jobs.
    “It takes a village”, teamwork by teachers and parents. But the drug epidemic must also encompass a wide variety of administrators who run out schools, police, EMT, health dept., doctors and legislators. If one support system falls short, it can create a negative impact on weather that teen or young adult can recover.

    The FDA should also be kicking back and denying pharma from selling to over 150 million people (see oxy on wiki) when the know the dangers of their product. Pfizer has been sued 100 times over for various violations. Check out what they did to children of Nigeria, then tried to set up their leader for blowing the whistle on them. They are a multi-billion dollar operation with too much power in DC. Something greater must be done on a national and international level to combat drug abuse by pharma and drug addiction by millions of innocent kids who don’t understand the hidden dangers. Everyday I am more horrified by the sheer apathy of these corporations who care only of their profit margin on the market. Is this what life has been reduced to?

  31. FC says:

    Wow. Agree/Disagree I hope you never have to deal with something as heart wrenching and as difficult to understand as addiction. You seem to have everything tied up in a neat little package. You sound like the typical ‘not my kid’, because you have done all the right things. As a parent, if you have never dealt with addiction before and are suddenly faced with it, there is usually some denial, however, once you move past that, what do you do? You don’t just bring the kid to your primary care doctor, because chances are he/she would not know what to do any more than you do. It takes years to learn how to navigate the system, searching for answers along with treatment, and there is noone out there to help you. Since you seem to realize that mental health or learning disabilities contribute to the problem, why do you think ‘self-esteem’ can be created by joining various activities? The pharmaceutical companies deserve blame for promoting oxycontin, a much stronger pain reliever than is needed for many patients, and telling doctors it is not addictive. They finally made some changes that make it harder to be abused. But guess, what? They are about to introduce a new, even stronger pain reliever without those adjustments. One that every single person on the FDA panel agreed should not be produced. Yet, it is coming, so look out.

  32. “His lawsuit contended….offered doctors free trips to “pain management” seminars where the firm pitched the drug as safe and effective for treating minor pain–without mentioning the drug was supposed to be used only for severe pain and easily abused…also alleged…. had told “pharmacists that they can get in trouble if they do not fill prescriptions, even if they believe someone may be an abuser of the drug.”More important, this settlement helped keep the lid on the firm’s criminal activities. There would be no trial–and no public release of documents or testimony about the company’s actions, which were already being investigated by federal prosecutors. In late 2002, the feds had begun an investigation….with the first of what would be nearly 600 subpoenas for corporate records related to the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of OxyContin.

    In May 2007, the company and its three top executives pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraudulently marketing OxyContin by claiming it was less addictive, less subject to abuse, and less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms….three execs agreed to pay fines of $634.5 million*.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/01/why-eric-holder-represents-whats-wrong-washington
    _________

    “Imagine you were a manufacturer of powerful opioid painkillers and your sales representatives discover suspicious activities at the offices of some physicians who prescribed your product. These activities include patients lining up to pay cash for prescription opioids, drug deals going down in the parking lot, people falling asleep from opioid intoxication in the waiting room and physicians being visibly intoxicated themselves. In response would you:

    http://www.samefacts.com/2013/09/drug-policy/painkiller-pill-mills-and-corporate-responsibility/

  33. FC?? says:

    FC, I deal with addiction on a daily basis in my personal and professional life. Judge not. Different opinion=Ignorance, I guess? you have moved completely around my point in a circle, refusing to absorb it. BTW, there are folks who desperately need the pain relief oxys were intended for. Blaming the co. who created it is rather like blaming a liquor store for my alcoholic parents, no? That’s what inspired my career choices. because I (partly) disagree with you, doesn’t mean I’m ignorant

  34. Pixie Pocahontas says:

    As difficult as it is to accept, the industries, medical, pharma and judicial, are not working towards the benefit of the patient. When profits over ride the system shifting priority from ethical and legal responsibilities, we have no choice but to educate ourselves against the hidden dangers of drug abuse, whether it be on the street or provided by a medical professional.

    I personally experienced this working in healthcare. The drug reps were pounding on my office door on a daily basis. They offered free breakfasts, surgical equipment and seminars, probably trips and other incentives staff did not know. They also hired Barbie and Ken’s, attractive sales reps to close the deal, one doc had been rumored to have been also dating. I use to think doctors had to believe in the drug they were prescribing. That turned out to be another rude awakening like how I thought judges and police were all decent and protected us from the boogeyman.

    Working for the medical field taught me a great deal about how it’s become just another corp business like so many more. Just another trade on ws for the chosen ones.

    After a simple procedure at the ER, I was given a drug I didn’t recognize. As a young adult, I knew only of Percocet for pain after surgery and morphine for extensive in hospital treatments. After taking one tablet of the new drug, I found out it was oxy. The doctor I once worked with never told me what it was. Although the dispensed amount was 10 pills, I realized it would be enough to get someone hooked. Percocet had a negative side effect and generally pain killers can upset your stomach in varied ways, no initial side effects from oxy, until much later I’m guessing.

    So, I don’t believe the medical profession is strict about pain killers. It would be very easy to acquire them. I also worked in an ortho clinic where the line was out the door. Some cases were legit, guys with back injuries from construction. But the majority were not. It was like a candy store for those who got hooked. Very sad situation and first experience for me on the pharma/doc relationship.

    Also, dealt with it when elderly family members entered nursing homes and hospitals. More battles were waged against unnecessary testing and lethal drugs. But as someone without credentials, I had to use my intuition based on what I learned working in healthcare and listening to dependent family members trapped in a system that just doesn’t care.

    Educate yourselves to the dangers of pharma. Don’t become an experiment.
    We only get one chance at life, pay attention to your body and if something isn’t right, walk away. Doctors are only human and make mistakes like everyone else.

  35. sharon says:

    The pharmaceutical companies lied about the potency of oxycontin, and convineced (bribed?) doctors to prescribe it for minor pain when it was intended for severe, chronic pain. I have witnessed family members in the hospital recently, when they asked for a tylenol for their discomfort they were questioned repeatedly, ‘don’t you want a percocet?’, despite being told ‘no, thanks, tylenol is fine’.

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