The OTHER Drug Problem

The real drug problems rarely make headlines – those caused by pharmaceuticals designed to be addictive. We recently discovered that opioid painkillers claim the lives of 312 Americans every week, compared to 285 lost to murder. Since 2000 these drugs have killed three times as many Americans as were killed in Vietnam. A further 160 die each week from overdosing on heroin, most having become addicted via prescribed opioids. Yet nobody is fighting a war against them, while Big Pharma pockets big profits and markets them freely. Competition to Big Pharma is suppressed by law enforcement agencies spending vast sums of taxpayers’ money in the War on Drugs. Sometimes major drug enforcement agencies work with drug cartels, enforcing monopolies and suppressing free enterprise in the unlicensed drugs trade. For more on opioid painkiller killers, here’s the Forbes coverage.

FOR insight on the drugs problem, here’s a paragraph from “The Drugs Problem,” a chapter in The State Is Out of Date, We Can Do It Better

Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator.

The most successful, and profitable, pharmaceutical drugs are those which do not cure, but instead create a lifelong habit for the user…”

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How pharmaceuticals infect NHS policy

The Independent sheds light on the means by which pharmaceutical companies shape government health policy to their own bottom line. It seems like most patient’s lobby groups are funded, managed, and represented by agents of the pharmaceutical industry. The industry says it is all above board because if you look into the small print you can discover this. But it’s rarely mentioned in the newspaper headlines when hand-picked desperate sufferers are crying out for the NHS to spend more money on wonder drugs. Nor is it mentioned when new laws are proposed to restrict herbal and alternative treatments. Full story from the Independent here.

I have a few words to say about Big Pharma in The State Is Out Of Date. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 28, The Drugs Problem
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator. To rephrase that, there are 535 elected representatives shaping law and regulation in the capital of the United States, attended to by 1,724 paid persuaders from the pharmaceutical drug barons alone (as well as some 9,750 lobbyists from other interest groups in 2011).
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Murdoch madness…who gives a damn?

This whole Murdoch business is such a trivial drama. Sure, he’s an excellent candidate for thMurdocke “Most Hated Magnate” prize but should we really give a flying fu*k about phone hacking by newspapers? It’s primarily prompted by OUR insatiable appetite for bullshit, whether it’s about the private lives of personalities or that of famous victims like Millie, the murdered schoolgirl. And now it will stop (in the private sector, at least) and it hasn’t exactly scarred the progress of civilization. Nice to see the Murdochs sweating though, it must be said.

Meanwhile: The baseless concocted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan proceed with little public or media concern beyond reporting every death of ‘one of ours.’ The Afghans had nothing to do with the Twin Towers and Saddam Hussein was an enemy of Al-Qaeda. Recent calculation show that drone strikes in Pakistan kill over 100 civilians for every targeted Drone
combatant. In WWI one civilian died for every ten soldiers. In WWII it was one to one. Vietnam was seven to three. In Iraq it is ten of us killed for every one soldier. This is not good. And why is it that targeted domestic homes are always called “compounds?” Depleted uranium weapons are at use in Libya, as they were in Iraq, where the consequence is a 10-15 fold increase in birth defects and a growing cancer rate from soil that will remain contaminated for over 100,000 years. Occupying an entire nation on false premises represents quite a high level of bad behaviour. European and American economies are imploding as a result of borrowing by states that stake our future productivity as collateral against the loans. US Debt is 15 trillion dollars. Amongst much else, that borrowing provides funds for fighting unnecessary wars in foreign countries.Thousand of us are dying every year as a result of continued inclusion of trans fats (hydrogenated oils) in our foodstuffs. It is acknowledged that there is no safe dose of these dangerous additives but they are still legally in use, and widely.

Three nuclear reactors are in an uncontained meltdown in Japan, continuing tFukuo release radioactive materials into the environment. They may stop the releases in ten years or so, maybe never. Much of northern Japan will remain uninhabitable for generations. Many millions throughout the world will suffer cancer for generations to come as a result of this catastrophe.

We are being denied the right to take responsibility for our own health by the suppression of our right to freely choose what route we take to healing.

The American Contradiction – perfectly depressed

Perhaps it is common knowledge, but I was still surprised when I read, in the 29 Sept issue of New Scientist, that antidepressants are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the USA. Considering that American spends more money by far on pharmaceutical dPaxiLexaProzacrugs than any other nation on Earth, this adds up to one hell of a lot of antidepressants. This is the real drug war the one that America lost decades ago. Whilst they hysterically seek to stamp out the smoking of herbs and psychedelic drug use, vast numbers of the population have drifted into long-term addiction to mind-altering drugs known to have damaging side effects associated with long-term use.

This just raises so many questions I don’t know where to start. For a start, I wonder what the implication are for the rest of the world, aside from the obvious disadvantage of having so much weaponry in the hands of such unhappy people? America has always set the bar for living standards throughout the world. They may not have had the best food or the finest clothes or the most brilliant design, but they had the highest disposable income, the biggest houses, the most food, most cars and roads, the best movies, the most doctors and lawyers and so forth, holding themselves up as the shining zenith of freedom and liberty and hard work. And now we find that America is, it would appear, the most depressed nation on earth; with the unhappiest people on the planet. I bet the people who run those pharmaceutical companies are not the least bit depressed about this state of affairs.

Meanwhile, it increasingly seems as if the “American Model” is that to which all nations of the world aspire. Worldwide dispersal of television has created a global desire for the American way of life, with access to clean water and plumbing, power and appliances, health care and medication, education and employment, transportation and housing, communications and computers, all now regarded as the natural birthright of anybody lucky enough to have been born a human being. We have only to go back a few generations to find few of these assumptions existing in a society that was perhaps, less depressed. Whilst I am not suggesting that any of these facilities create depression, it is quite obvious that they are not, of themselves, raising the enjoyment level of our existence. And we increasingly suspect that growing implementation of all the above is stretching our planet’s facilities past breaking point.

And if we should choose to do without all of the above, to live a simple life in harmony with the planet that hosts us, we would probably end up in jail, as I put forward in the chapter titled “Birthright Denied” in my first book, Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date.