Opioids did NOT cause the current increase in heroin use

Posted yesterday on Pharmacist Steve’s website:

The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market OxyContin, Vicodin, and other highly addictive opioid painkillers — drugs that have fueled the epidemic of overdoses and heroin addiction…


This writer, Sam Quinones, put out a book entitled “Dreamland (The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic)” last year. Of course, the book is based on a bunch of drug war theories that mostly apply to rich, white people — just like the heroin “epidemic” — and don’t have much to do with the real opioid war or its victims.

I made a comment three days ago, but it was never posted. What’s the matter, Mr. Quinones, are you afraid of the truth? Or won’t the truth help you sell more books?

“…new market that exists in the U.S., created by the overprescribing of narcotic pain pills nationwide…”

As a 30-year intractable pain patient, I’ve lived through the drug war, and I don’t agree with you. I believe the heroin market was created by the under-treatment of pain, and doctors abandoning pain patients and those who suffer from addiction, forcing them into to the unregulated, underground drug market. And you can see that the problems have only gotten worse since the DEA began jailing and convicting doctors and patients in the opioid war.

Oxy is an easy drug to blame, isn’t it? But doctors aren’t stupid. They knew that Oxy was an opioid and that opioids can be addictive. But even with all this alleged increase in drug abuse, the percentage of people who suffer from addiction has stayed about the same. No, Oxy isn’t to blame, and neither are opioids, pain patients, or doctors. Drugs don’t cause addiction — I think you know that. If one drug becomes unavailable, those who suffer from addiction will just try another. And because of the increasing restrictions on opioids, at the current time, many are choosing heroin.

The fact is that the opioid war is what has caused a drug overdose epidemic in the rich, white population, which is why it’s getting so much media attention. Tell me, do any poor, disabled people buy your book?

8 thoughts on “Opioids did NOT cause the current increase in heroin use

  1. Thank you for offering a different perspective to consider. This leads me to wonder about convicted drug addicts who are incarcerated and presumably deprived of drugs? (Please pardon me if you’ve covered this in another post — I’m a “first-timer” to your blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a high percentage of people suffering from mental illnesses in American prisons, including drug addiction. I assume that some prisoners have access to treatment options, while some do not. I also assume that some prisoners have access to heroin and other illegal drugs. But you can bet that the punishments for being caught with drugs are a lot harsher in prison, and affect more people of color. White and rich people go to rehab; everyone else goes to jail.

      Have I answered your question?


      • Thank you.. You’ve answered it as well as you can to someone like me, fortunate enough never to been in your shoes. All I “know” is what I read and hear about, and though I’m an “outsider” re addiction and chronic pain, it doesn’t hurt to be better informed.

        Thanks again for your time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hope my comment didn’t come across as snarky. Now that I’ve had a few dilly bars from Dairy Queen, my mood has improved. I’m happy to answer whatever questions you have, and thanks for visiting. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The question I asked was probably both too unclear and too simplistic for such a complex subject, so if anyone didn’t come across as intended, it was me. So let me ask, in a different way, what I was curious about: suppose you were addicted to a drug for reasons not associated with physical pain, and you were arrested, incarcerated, and denied both the drug you’re addicted to and rehab. What I’m trying to understand is if you think you could cope (or does it depend on the individual and/or the circumstances)?

    Take care, and thanks again for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a hard question for me to answer, as I don’t think I can use my own personal experiences, which all have to do with taking drugs to manage pain. But I did go through a forced, cold-turkey detox after 10 years on opioids, so I think I can understand how that would feel to someone who suffers from drug addiction. My response at the time was suicide, as I didn’t think I had any other options. I’m lucky that I was able to save enough money to move to another state to access a medical cannabis program. I think the potential of that option kept me going, even though it turned out the program in this state was too expensive for me.

      I can’t measure my own coping skills, but I’m pretty sure those who suffer from drug addiction need to be taught these kinds of skills. “One day at a time” is a great idea, but it won’t work for everyone. It’s very difficult to keep yourself from thinking about the future, where even more pain awaits me, and for drug addicts, the future includes the always constant struggle to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

      I don’t think the current way of treating addiction is working very well, but I don’t have any answers. Problem is, very few “experts” know what they’re talking about, either. I think treating addiction is as complex as treating cancer, and if there was as much money funneled into the former instead of the latter, perhaps we would have more answers. Problem being, the federal government loves to throw money around to the states, like, here, do whatever you want. And the addiction programs in the states can vary from very good, to really, really crappy. I guess the same is true for the treatment of any medical or dental condition — you never really know if the treatments are appropriate, but when they don’t work, the patient is blamed.

      As a long-time pain patient, I’ve been treated like a drug addict so often it’s not even funny. I decided to learn more about addiction so that I knew what I was being accused of. I mean, there were times when I wondered if I was a drug addict. I have my addictions, which I’ve written about on this blog, but I was happy to find out that I’m not addicted to prescription drugs. I think most pain patients are addicted to pain relief, no matter what the source. And I’ve come to the conclusion that drug addicts are the same way. Pain is pain, no matter what the cause. I can’t compare my pain to others who have suffered things that I’ve never been through.

      I guess you can see that I could go on and on about this subject. I try so hard to get other pain patients to understand the similarities between us and those who suffer from addiction, but I’m not having too much luck. It gets frustrating at times — hence, this long comment.

      Take care and thanks for your interest. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • To me the “message” here is twofold: many addicts did not choose to become addicts, and if those who deal (for want of a better word) with such addicts aren’t of a mind to try to understand where the other guy is coming from, they are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

        Thank you for your patience. Stay strong and be well.

        Liked by 1 person

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