The following is the opinion of this radio show host and does not reflect the opinion of the Wall Street Journal or Thomas Catan who was on a team who recently wrote “Prescription for Addiction” and was published in the Saturday Essay section on October 5th. http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10000872396390444223104578036933277566700-lMyQjAxMTAyMDAwNjAwODY3Wj.html?mod=wsj_valetleft_email
Thomas Catan from the Wall Street Journal was the radio guest Tuesday night. The article Prescription for Addiction chronicled a beautiful 23 year old woman who we lost to a drug overdose. The article was a milestone for the American public. Past articles in other publications on overdose deaths have focused on the individual who should have made better decisions before they died. The loved ones express their feelings openly to a reporter and cameraman with the hope they can save at least one family from the loss and turmoil they feel. The ultimate responsibility for the death becomes the one who died.
Thomas Catan, Devlin Barrett, and Timothy W. Martin delved much deeper into the young lady’s death. Thomas, Devlin and Timothy tracked down the dealer of the drugs. The suppliers and sellers of the drugs were respectable drug manufacturers, licensed doctors, large pharmaceutical wholesalers and multi-billion dollar chain drug stores. The Wall Street Journal broadened the reflection of responsibility. How could a 23 year old person obtain narcotics legally that killed her without having to deal with a street corner dealer who’s supply chain came from Mexico or another country?
From the radio show’s perspective, identifying the new drug dealer on the block is secondary to the Wall Street Journal’s revelations. The supply chain from the doctor’s offices and pill mills to the corner drug store has previously been written about without much connection by the American public on the individual, family and economic destruction being brought to our communities.
It appears that Thomas Catan and the Wall Street Journal has insightfully begun to understand the “hoax of OxyContin”.
Starting in late 1995, with Purdue Pharma creating the impetus, the opium plant was repackaged and sold as a pain reliever. Over 100 years ago it took America about 14 years to understand the “hoax of heroin” for coughing. But, in recent times the massive infusion of support from the opioid industry and silence from the FDA has allowed a “safe as prescribed” mentality as tens of thousands have suffered from severe withdrawal, addiction and ultimately death.
A legitimate patient remains legitimate as long as they remain alive, refrain from stealing, and don’t seek help for treatment. We lost a young life because she wavered from the definition of legitimate that is used to hide the slow physical and mental decline of tens of thousands while their loved ones remain helpless.
The financial health of the opioid industry is like the business of the heroin dealer. It is necessary to get a person to try it at least once.
It is my hope that Thomas Catan and the Wall Street Journal have the resources and time to delve into what the historians are going to be viewing with wonderment. How did the 5000 year old opium plant get a rebirth that has ultimately killed thousands and has affected tens of thousands more?
Amazingly, the accomplices are respected business people and a health care industry that have taken an oath “to do no harm”.