For all the movies I can list that feature stoner culture, the dangers of heroin/crack/meth, disgusting drunks, and even how bad huffing is, the drug movie genre has been sadly deprived of one important family member. What about the pills?
Imagine if every day, 10 people were violently murdered by a serial killer in the state of Florida. The same guy was running around and killing 10 people every day. I can tell you exactly what would happen. There would be a run on the gun stores and someone would be quickly voted out of office. We might even risk voting another monster like Reagan into office. Anyway, the point of this hypothetical exercise is that 10 people are being killed every day by the same psychopath: prescription drug overdose. Now, you know this isn’t antibiotics or heart disease medicine people are overdosing on. The killers are oxycontin, fentanyl, alprazolam, whatever. No matter how many people die from these drugs, nobody in charge seems to be paying attention or at least challenging their denial.
This “Man Who is Supposed to Know” can’t even get his stereotype straight. Every time I walk into a doctor’s office I’m immediately treated with suspicion if I complain of pain. All I have to do is mention the word pain and a doctor immediately treats me like a frothing drug addict. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I’m a clean, conservatively dressed, well-spoken person. I don’t have tattoos or piercings. I’m polite. The doctor, however, sees red flags all around me. I’m hustled out of the office with a direction to “take some Advil”. Like I didn’t already know that. I don’t wander into doctor’s offices with mysterious back or joint pain, I walk in because I got in a motorcycle accident last night or need a refill for my dry socket. When actually prescribed these medications, the quantity is so low you can barely buy 10 hours without pain. Chances are: by the time I’ve come to see you, I’ve already been chugging Advil for a few days.
What victims of prescription drug addiction look like
Anyway, if someone my age wants to get high on opiates, we do it the smarter, cheaper way. We order poppy pods online or we steal from our parents. After all, I only know a handful of Americans over the age of 40 without a prescription for scheduled medication. Not only that, but they are allowed tons of refills. After a while you notice that Mom or Dad’s probably healed up from that skiing last year, so why are they still taking regular pain medication?
With the lack of discussion about this in the media, we can assume the addicts who glean their supply from doctors are at the age where they make policy decisions. That is to say, 40 and up. So a large enough percentage of our adult population is addicted to pain medication now! Why do I say that? Well, ten of them are dying every day in Florida from it! If little Jimmy doesn’t sneak in there with his pals and gobble them all down himself, it’s your run of the mill “took too many pills, drank too much booze” case.
Yet, even with these staggering numbers, we allow places like pill mills and pain clinics to do business. Why? Because we’re addicted. This makes a bad case for across-the-board drug legislation. Even when it’s regulated and prescribed by doctors, it’s still being abused to the tune of thousands of deaths a year. Perhaps a more important step could be to study the American mentality a little closer and ask ourselves why we allow things like this to happen in the first place, why everyone over 40 seems to need something for a panic attack or neck cramp. Maybe it’s living a hollow existence 16 hours a day in the office, or pushing the mop all night at Walmart. Maybe it’s the glare from your TV, cell phone, or computer screen. Perhaps there is something wrong with the American soul. Either way, we need to seriously ask ourselves why this is happening. Is it too late for someone to drag us to NA? Let’s hope not.