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Even the mainstream media admits that Big Pharma has led to rampant opioid abuse

Mainstream media

(NaturalNews) If you're a fan of American football and caught the biggest game of the year, Super Bowl 50, then you likely saw one of the reasons why large pharmaceutical companies are in large part to blame for the country's rising epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse.

So says Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D., an adjunct professor at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and the author of the book The Anatomy of Addiction.

Writing in Time online a few days after the game, Mohammad noted that an advertisement aired during the Super Bowl served as "a reminder that some drug companies have a vested interest in painkiller use."

Continuing, he wrote:

It stood out like a sore thumb. On the Super Bowl 50 telecast—amid the slick ads for high-end sports cars and celebrities shilling everything from beer to snack chips—was a commercial for "OIC" (opioid-induced constipation). Why is a $5 million TV spot for something as seemingly esoteric as OIC being broadcast during the most widely viewed television event in America?

That's a point well-made; Super Bowls are generally seen by more than 100 million people. Super Bowl 50, the game's golden anniversary, drew 111.9 million viewers, down slightly from 2015. So, with such a heavy viewership, buying an ad spot – even a short 15–30-second ad, is expensive. So as a company you've really got to want to have your product in front of as many people as possible if you're willing to pay exorbitant prices to do so.

Abuse at all-time high

As Mohammad says, the ad is also noteworthy not because of OIC but because of the much wider (and widening) problem of opioid addiction in America, partly from the over-prescribing of painkillers and partly because of the ongoing rise in street drugs like heroin.

"For those of us in the community of addiction treatment professionals, the AstraZeneca ad's underlying message was as obvious as a blinking neon sign that read 'Use More Opioids!'" he wrote.

"It almost feels like the drug companies want to keep their flagship product (opioids) going full steam ahead by countering a major side effect with another drug. It's certainly in the best interest of the pharmaceutical companies to keep their clients satisfied enough to continue using their products," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is tracking the current opioid epidemic, says that clinical use of opioids has more than doubled from 2000 through 2014, while the rate of fatal overdoses has reached an all-time high these days. It's why most states have adopted the Prescription Drug Monitoring program, with the only exception being Missouri (which has blocked passage of legislation requiring the monitoring over privacy concerns).

80 percent of workplaces affected

But that system hasn't been a panacea, either.

"A major problem with the drug-monitoring program is that many physicians still aren't using it," wrote Mohammed. "It's unclear whether the doctors aren't using the program because of their ignorance of the program, it's too time-consuming to use, or gross offenders would rather not see their revenues dry up. Whatever the reason, their role in the opioid epidemic cannot be overlooked, and they must take, at the very least, a shared responsibility for the problem."

As Natural News reported in December, Big Pharma's painkillers have caused drug abuse epidemics in some 80 percent of workplaces in Indiana alone, according to a survey by the National Safety Council.

But the problem is not limited to a single state, of course. "This is not a local problem; this is a national problem, and it's very important for employers to understand this is an issue they need to pay attention to and not put their head in the sand," president and CEO of the NSC, Deborah Hersman has said.







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