The other day I rode my bike along the peaceful bike path towards the library pondering what subject to write about. In that moment, I spotted a sign outside one of churches that read, “Remember those we lost. August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day”.
My thoughts went to a young man named Jesse Alexander Smith. I did not personally know Jesse in this lifetime. I know him only from witnessing his mother’s excruciating grief.
Jesse was 24 when he died on New Years Day of 2016 in Nova Scotia, Canada. Jesse’s mom told me his death was determined to be a result of fentanyl. Those close to Jesse describe him as an old soul with the ability to always know what to say to bring people comfort. Jesse was an easy person to love. Grief is painfully intertwined with anguish as we try to grasp why we must experience such extraordinary pain under tragic yet preventable circumstances.
Why does this happen?
Why do people take drugs with such a high risk of dying? Why would dealers supply drugs that will kill their customers? Why are pharmaceutical companies allowed to continue to manufacture them? The answers, it turns out, lie between the deep wounds of humanity and basic economics.
It can start off innocently enough with an individual taking a pharmaceutical opioid to treat chronic or acute pain. Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Afghanistan dominates global opium production. OxyContin is an example of a prescription opioid.
Drugs such as opioids literally “trick” the brain and can rob the individual of their God-given freewill. These drugs effect the way the brain communicates and the way nerve cells send, receive, and interpret information. The drugs imitate the brain’s natural chemical messengers and by doing so they overstimulate the “reward circuit” of the brain.
Simply put, drugs can completely hijack a human brain.
What about the individuals that sought the euphoria of recreational drugs outside of medical necessity? Reasons for turning to drugs can range from social glorification, peer pressure, boredom, thrill seeking, to more painful reasons to escape reality such as grief, stress, and unresolved trauma. What seems like an easy way to fill a void can quickly rage into a dangerous addiction or even a lethal one time event.
I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on drug addiction. I’m merely expressing my thoughts as a fellow human attempting to understand what’s behind such an ugly epidemic.
That’s the human side of this tragedy. The economic side is far more complicated and very, very dark.
Heroin is stronger and less expensive that pharmaceutical opioids. Fentanyl is then stronger and less expensive than heroin. By adding fentanyl to diluted heroin, it becomes stronger at a fraction of the cost of pure heroin. Fentanyl looks the same as heroin and is undetectable by the user. It was reported the musician, Prince, died of a fentanyl overdose.
That’s a simplified version of the economics. It becomes more complicated when you question who and what is benefiting from this endemic. Flowing from China through Mexico for processing into the US and Canada, fentanyl has become a “weapon of mass destruction”. It takes a mere 2mg of fentanyl to kill a human being. The wide-open US/Mexican borders are basically facilitating a “tsunami of death” while enriching cartels and other covert agencies.
In an even more frightening twist, they’re going after kids.
In 2022, the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sounded the deadly warnings that these lethal and dangerous drugs are being made to look more and more like candy as a way to appeal to children and young people. It’s called Rainbow fentanyl and it’s very efficiently and effectively coming to a town near you through open borders.
The Role of Big Pharma
Let’s not allow ourselves to be too distracted by the big, bad drug cartels operating out of Mexico. What role does the medical establishment, the big pharma business model and the big box pharmacies we’re supposed to trust play
in feeding this crisis? Here are just a handful of headlines from 2022:
January 2022 – USA: Jury finds Teva Pharmaceuticals liable for opioid
crisis in New York State
Sept 2022 – USA: Johnson & Johnson settles New Hampshire opioid
lawsuit for $40.5 million
August 2022 – USA: Judge rules CVS, Walgreens & Walmart must pay $650.6m for role in opioid crisis
The Pharma business model is based on fraud. “They do everything they can to make money at the expense of the consumer. They will go to enormous lengths and they have no interest in humanity. -Dr. Paul Marik
How much of an impact are we going to have on this human crisis by assigning one day of the year towards overdose “awareness”? It may sound very cynical, but let’s be realistic. This is a crisis of epic proportions. The more I dug into the matter for this post, the more enraged I became. The blame for current “tsunami of death” sits squarely on the shoulders of governments and their insidious relationship with big pharma.
What are governments currently doing to address the issue? DECRIMINALIZING IT.
In a policy shift aimed at reducing deaths from overdoses, Canada is decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of drugs in the western province of British Columbia.
Drug overdose deaths have risen sharply across Canada over the past five years, with opioid-related deaths linked to fentanyl more than doubling.
British Columbia has been the hardest-hit province— declared fentanyl a public health crisis six years ago — and provincial officials asked for federal permission to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of opioids, cocaine and methamphetamines.
It doesn’t stop until, we the people, the humans that occupy this planet, demand accountable from overpaid, incompetent, greedy officials, bureaucrats, and corporate executives.
September is National Recovery Month
If one can escape the death grasp of fentanyl or any addiction for that matter, there are good odds they will recover. It’s not easy. Experts note that any addiction is both agonizing and hard to treat.
“Hopeless despair — that’s a good way to describe it,” said 34-year-old Travis Rasco. “I wanted to quit, I just couldn’t,” he said, describing his decade-long struggle with heroin. Rasco relapsed again and again, causing his family enormous pain. “I didn’t want to be that person, but I didn’t know what to do,” he said. Travis recounted his road to recovery in this 2022 interview with NPR.org.
People that have overcome any kind of addiction should be celebrated. Most of us could not possibly comprehend the depths of darkness they rose up from. They know very well the demons they slayed on their road to recovery are very, very real and are always lurking around the corner ready to pull them back in. It’s only with sheer determination and love for themselves that they keep the demons at bay.
We don’t need to wait until August to remember souls like Jesse. We can keep them in our minds and hearts anytime we choose. We don’t need to wait until September to support and encourage recovery. Each day we live our lives full of love for ourselves and those around us is another day we have slayed the demons with our light.