Casualties of War

Prohibition II, The “War on Drugs”, whatever you want to call it, is an abomination.  It’s the driving force behind multiple assaults on the Constitution.  There’s far more violence and bloodshed caused by drugs being illegal than by the drugs themselves.

The cure is very much worse than the disease.

Among the casualties of late are people suffering from severe pain, especially chronic pain.  Among the very best medicines to alleviate the suffering of those people are opioids.  The problem is that they have a loose family relationship with illegal Opium (thus “opioids”) derivatives like heroin.  Yes, if abused they are addictive and care needs to be taken in ceasing their use when one has made heavy use of them (more on that later).

People in Washington, including President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are talking about an Opioid Crisis and pushing for every more restrictions on the use of these medicines.

The problem is, they don’t offer even a plan for a good substitute.  Jeff Sessions “suggestion” for dealing with the “Opioid epidemic” which is being blamed on prescription drug use is “People should say no to drug use.”

Have screaming pain so bad you can’t even see straight? “No thanks on the Vicodin. I’m just saying ‘no’ like Jeff Sessions suggested.”

Well fuck you, Jeff Sessions.

I don’t usually use that kind of language on this blog, but…

Look, I have friends who have serious pain issues that nothing else will touch.  I’ve been in “can’t do anything but curl up in the corner and whimper” pain.  But go and try to get one of than handful of medicines that actually put a dent in that pain, not make it go away but just cut it back enough so you can…mostly…function and you find yourself facing the inquisition for “drug seeking behavior” (yeah, I’m having cluster migraines just so I can get some drugs here).

And it’s truly ironic that they call it a “war on drugs”, considering that some of our nations defenders are among its casualties.

One example:

Late one summer night in 2014, Kevin Keller broke into his best friend’s home. Keller was a U.S. Navy vet wracked with constant pain, and because his right arm had been crippled by a stroke, he had to use his left hand to scrawl a note of apology to his buddy: “Marty, Sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain! FU VA!!! Can’t take it anymore.” He then drove to his nearby Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Wytheville, Virginia, and pounded on the locked doors of the medical office, probably out of frustration or as a final protest, since the facility had been closed for hours. Keller then put the barrel of his friend’s 9 mm pistol to his head and shot himself.

Grieving friends told The Roanoke Times that Keller couldn’t handle how the VA was weaning him off painkillers. His doctors had told him cutting back would extend his life, but Marty Austin, whose gun Keller stole that night, told the paper, “He did not want a longer life if he was going to be miserable and couldn’t do anything because of the pain.”

Cutting back on his pain medication was going to extend his life?  Yeah, how did that work out exactly?

Another:

Zach Williams came home to Minnesota with two Purple Hearts for his military service in Iraq. He also carried other lasting war wounds.

Back pain made it hard for him to stand. A brain injury from the explosions he endured made his moods erratic.

Williams eased the chronic pain with the help of narcotics prescribed for years by the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. Then the VA made a stark and sudden shift: Instead of doling out pills to thousands of veterans like him — a policy facing mounting criticism — they began cutting dosages or canceling prescriptions, and, instead, began referring many vets to alternative therapies such as acupuncture and yoga.

On Sept. 20, 2013, police were called to Williams’ Apple Valley home, donated to him by a veterans group grateful for his sacrifice. Williams, 35, lay dead in an upstairs bedroom. He had overdosed on a cocktail of pills obtained from a variety of doctors.

Authorities ruled his death an accident, officially “mixed drug toxicity.”

In desperation to relieve the chronic pain, and probably dealing with withdrawal from what he has previously been prescribed, he goes to multiple doctors to get relief resulting in “mixed drug toxity”–which could have been avoided had one doctor been able to prescribe medication adequate to relieving his pain.

And look at those suggested alternatives.  Acupunture?  Yoga?  Yoga might have some benefit in certain cases but is worthless for a large number of others.  And acupuncture?  Basically a placebo.  There may be a slight counter-irritant effect that helps in some cases (the “chi-meridian” stuff is pure nonsense).

People are dying, accidentally or deliberately by their own hand, because they cannot get adequate relief from pain.  That’s the price of this “drug war.”

It needs to stop.

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