Pain, Pain, GO AWAY!


Virtue Nyarko, Editor-in-Chief

No matter the intention, all things in the world will be abused or corrupted — even painkillers.

According to a survey done by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2017, an estimation of about 18 million people have misused prescription drugs at least once in the past year. This misuse of drugs is either due to the high dosages prescribed by doctors for pain or even the addiction of the euphoria the drugs provide.

Surprisingly, the misuse of such drugs is highest among people ages 18-25—especially with drugs such as non-medical uses of Adderall and Vicodin, as well as the mixture of other drugs. The high that these drugs create adds to the thrill or adventure that adolescents chase, but its addictive nature provides more harm than good.  As Kaelyn Pinch, 11, says, “I think people do this because they want to feel good for a moment, and they don’t realize that they can feel good almost all the time when they aren’t overusing something.”

Due to the death of more than 702,000 people within the past 18 years, the talk of stopping opioid abuse is growing more and more each day. With the backlash against these drugs, many doctors are being held accountable and the number of cases being filed is increasing.

Whether the doctors have good intentions or not, many of the complaints being filed are a result of the effort to stop the usage of opioids. As fewer doctors are prescribing these medications or lessening the dosages, people are turning to illegal ways of treating their pain, which then increases the rate of mortality and illegal use. Pinch added this: “It will never stop because people enjoy making bad decisions, and there will always be those few, no matter what, who will choose to do the wrong thing.”

However, doctors are not the only ones suffering from this epidemic. Many companies and producers of the drugs are facing fire, as well, and some are even taking drastic measures to protect themselves against all the cases. One of the largest companies—Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin— just recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to defend themselves and their owners from over 2,600 federal and state lawsuits.

With the settlement agreement of the company and 24 states and five U.S territories, $3 billion in cash would be paid to the plaintiffs over seven years, and the owners of the company would need to give up their position. As an even bigger contributor to the opioid crisis, Johnson & Johnson also agreed to a $20.4 million deal, which would pay two counties $10 million in cash, reimburse $5 million in legal costs, and $5.4 million towards opioid-related nonprofit programs.

Although the epidemic will never truly be resolved because of the companies that still continue to make these drugs, the efforts to stop the abuse and resolution of many cases are slowly creating a dent in the prevention of the epidemic.