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Death on the Prescription Plan
The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century
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Over the past two decades hundreds of thousands of Americans have died prematurely because of irresponsibly prescribed narcotic ‘pain killers’ and other central nervous system depressants, like tranquillizers and their deadly interactions. The undeniable fact is that they have been mostly from the white working and lower middle class from rural and deindustrialized regions. The governing elite and oligarch macro-decision makers have quietly dismissed this sector of the country as ‘surplus’. The victims or their surviving family members have no chance of redress for the widespread malpractice and greed that led to their addiction or death. The government as a whole and the oligarch-controlled mass media have deliberately failed to document and investigate the deep causes for the epidemic, except to spout the usual superficial ‘clichéd explanations’.

We will proceed to discuss the scope and depth of the epidemic and to identify the primary causes. We will then proceed to offer alternatives.

Comparative Data

The US can claim the dubious distinction of having highest rate of growth of premature deaths among its young and middle age working and lower middle class citizens among the the advanced countries of Europe and Asia. Even most not-so-advanced countries have been spared such an increase in pre-mature mortality, outside of war. This uniquely American devastation is concentrated among the poorer, less educated whites living in small cities, towns and rural areas.

The trends are no longer deniable: Over the last sixteen years (2000-2016), the death rate among US workers between ages 50 – 54 doubled from 40 to 80 per 100,000[1]Shawn Donnan, “White ‘deaths of despair’ surge in US”, Financial Times, 3/24/2017. In contrast, the mortality rate in Germany among a similar demographic declined from 60 to 42/100,000 and in France from 55 to 40 per 100,000[2]Ibid.
(Shawn Donnan, “White ‘deaths of despair’ surge in US”, Financial Times, 3/24/2017)
. Moreover within the US, the mortality rate for marginalized white workers has increased compared to that of African Americans and Hispanics. This upward shift in pre-mature death indicates significant deterioration in living standards for a huge slice of the US population. The main causes of death include a dramatic increase in suicide, complications of obesity and diabetes, and especially ‘poisoning’ – a broad term to include alcohol, illegal drugs, and, especially, prescribed opioid pain medications and an array of mixed drug interactions.

Some self-described ‘experts’ in addiction claim that the increasing mortality rates among US workers are due to ‘globalization and automation[3]Ibid.
(Shawn Donnan, “White ‘deaths of despair’ surge in US”, Financial Times, 3/24/2017)
. This is an example of what we mean by ‘superficial’ or ‘fake explanations. This is because this phenomenon has not occurred elsewhere in other industrialized countrie s. Even though countries, like Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, have seen their economies shift with ‘globalization’ and advanced automation, none have experienced rising mortality among their core population.

Mortality in the UK, Canada and Australia among workers remains at about 40 deaths per 100,000 – half the rate of the US, despite similar demographics and participation in the global market. The key to understanding this phenomenon lies in how American capital and the ruling structure have responded to the needs of its labor force, made redundant by shifts in the economy.

Within the United States, low wage young and middle age white workers with only high school education and less, especially those engaged in manual labor, experience four times higher mortality compared to college graduates. The dramatic increase in the mortality within this demographic corresponds to the increasing proportion of American workers and their families who no longer have access to adequate employer-provided health care. Premature deaths have risen with the demise of well-paid, secure manufacturing jobs for this sector of society.

In other words, as big corporate capitalism enjoys an ever-rising rate of profit through relocation of factories abroad, through automation, or by contracting immigrant and part-time uninsured US workers and therefore eliminating comprehensive health coverage for US workers, preventable worker deaths increase. Other advanced capitalist market economies in Europe and Asia have maintained intact universal national health and social welfare systems, which effectively serve to mitigate the damage that increasing job insecurity and falling living standards have on worker health. These systems continue to save millions of lives. This is one of the starkest contrasts between the US health care system and the systems operating in the rest of the industrialized world!

‘Oxycontin’, the White Plague

The root cause for the astronomical rise of worker mortality in the US is first and foremost the decision of the capitalist class to drop comprehensive, quality health coverage for its workers while lowering wages and shipping many jobs abroad. As a result, US workers, struggling with declining incomes, cannot afford to pay the astronomical insurance premiums, co-pays and high deductible for themselves or their family members. They cannot pay for expensive ‘physical therapy and rehabilitation’ after an injury and often opt for a prescription narcotic to deal with chronic pain while they continue to work.

Secondly, medical ‘providers’ (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) are under intense pressure from their employers to spend as little time as possible with patients suffering from chronic pain or injuries, especially those with limited resources. Their salaries and bonuses often depend on the number of patients they can see in a day. Writing prescriptions, especially narcotics, sedatives, anxiolytics and sleep aids save doctors and corporate-run hospitals time and money. Careful history taking, skillful physical examinations, experienced insights and long-term, supportive treatment plans with effective follow-up for an injured worker or chronic pain sufferer are rare indeed (and big money losers)!


Billions of synthetic opioid narcotics have been cheaply manufactured and prescribed at extraordinary levels of profits – far exceeding those of the so-called ‘block-buster’ drugs. The billionaire owners of pharmaceutical companies specializing in narcotic pain medications have hired legions of drug salespeople to work with doctors and pain clinics in a largely unregulated field, without any intervention or oversight form the capitalist state. The lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars on politicians and bureaucrats to protect their profits even as the number of overdose deaths among prescription opioid addicts grew. The total absence of any state intervention in this epidemic is unique in the industrialized world. This malevolent indifference proves that there is an unstated, but official, Social Darwinism operating at the highest levels, an ideology and practice once relegated to ardent fascists and eugenicists.

What Gives Big Capital Impunity for Murder?

Poisoning from prescribed narcotics, or fatal drug-alcohol-tranquilizer mixtures, comprise the single most important and preventable cause of early death among workers. Those workers, who have graduated from prescription drug addiction to street drugs, should still be included in this group of growing overdose deaths – because their addictions ultimately started in their local clinic. Although they have never met, the street dealers have their business affiliates in the corporate world and neatly scrubbed pain clinics.

While these early deaths by overdose cause incredible suffering to friends and family members of the victims, they are seen as a positive trend for ‘big capital’ – which is why the epidemic has remained largely hidden for almost two decades. Small town newspapers routinely devote long, loving paragraphs to describe a departed octogenarian, including tender references to their final illnesses, while the overdose death of a middle-aged father or mother laid off from a job is mourned in anonymity and silence.

Premature worker deaths by overdose mean higher profits on a grand scale because they lower the overall corporate cost for severance, pensions, worker safety measures and whatever health coverage the employer might provide. Unemployment benefits are cut, and local taxes for schools and services are lowered as the working class population declines. Demand for social services decline with the drop in population. It is no coincidence that the sharp increase in premature deaths among workers in the US coincides with the incredible concentration of wealth among the country’s top oligarchs.

In this climate, tight corporate control over wages, benefits and increasing job insecurity has spread deep fear among workers. Terrified of the poverty that would devastate their families with the loss of a decent job, most workers continue to work despite injuries and illness, often by taking prescription and other narcotics just to get through the day. Their insecurity, anxieties and insomnia are treated with other pharmaceuticals that compound the danger of overdose. Theirs fears and the poisonous workplace environment discourage them from taking any sick leave or demanding effective physical or rehabilitative therapy through their employer’s health plans.

The most ‘effective’ and heavily promoted painkillers, like Oxycontin, happen to be most rapidly addictive and deadly . The pharmaceutical industry deliberately glossed over the dangerously addicting nature of these ‘wonder drugs’ through their drug representative visits to hospitals and clinics. Most of the victims of these addicting drugs have been low wage or unemployed workers, while the medical prescribers are subservient to their capitalist employers and big pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industries are protected by the State at the top. Corporate hospital and pain clinic directors and providers are protected in the ‘middle’.

The perpetrators of mass murder by overdose have profited immensely and with total impunity for the ensuing havoc – unlike the small street pushers who crowd the huge industrial-size prisons. No security, police or federal agency would ever dare prosecute the directors of these big pharmaceutical corporations. Indeed, the security and justice arm of the state act as accomplice to addiction, although police are no more immune to prescription drug addiction than are nurses and other health providers with access or on-the-job injuries. In fact, the problem of addiction overdose death among security and health care personnel (often victims of suicide by overdose after having lost their jobs to drug dependency) constitutes an undocumented and unmourned public tragedy. This problem also extends to soldiers returning from imperial wars in the Middle East and South Asia.

The contradictions of a society granting impunity for the corporate perpetrators of this epidemic of death, the ‘opioid war’ against the surplus working class, while spending billions of public money to incarcerate petty street dealers and users, describes a federal and state government in disarray and denial and unable to effectively intervene on behalf of its citizens.

Last year’s presidential primary races and the election campaign broadcast (for the first time) many national politicians being confronted by small town citizens alarmed by the devastation of drug addiction and overdoses in their communities. Candidate Trump made several highly emotional statements about this issue. Interestingly, the Democratic Party presidential candidate Clinton totally failed to ever mention this crisis in her campaign despite touting her ‘record on health care’.

In recent months, the scale of drug overdose deaths in the rural and small town communities led to popular demands for government action. And as predictable as summer mosquitos, a small army of academics, experts and NGOers buzzed in to plead for greater funding for ‘research, education and treatment’. The same owners of pain clinics, that produced so many addicts, now expanded their business horizons by setting themselves up as ‘Addiction Treatment Centers’ to complement the Community Addict support groups, which have popped up like mushrooms.

None of these arguably opportunist ventures are inclined to engage in political ‘education’ to mobilize the worker-victims of addiction and other citizens to demand a universal national health system like other countries where the prescription addiction problem does not exist. They don’t even address the problem of workplace injury and the workers’ lack of access to effective rehab and physical therapy facilities rather than treatment with opioids. The medical community would rather send their patients to these treatment centers – where more addictive drugs, like methadone, are used to treat addiction – than face the real devastating consequences of the broken profit-mad US private insurance-controlled health care system and organize to truly serve their patients.


By the same token, the nation’s labor departments and labor unions at the federal and state levels have studiously ignored the toll that this has taken on the labor force. A New York Times editorial (October 16, 2016) pointed out that millions of working age men are totally out of the job market due to ‘pain and disability’ and a substantial proportion are on prescription narcotics. The long-term effect is clear: These addictions have destroyed internal worker discipline, essential for productive industry. It would be unimaginable for the German or Chinese industrialists and policy makers to accept the long-term consequences of such a phenomenon. This is just one glaring example of how cavalier the American oligarch and political classes view their native work force.

Murderers and their victims have come to be defined by their social class and not by their ‘education’ or access to ‘technology’. The capitalists of the pharmaceutical industry produce deadly products and distribute them at huge mark-ups to tens of thousands of for-profit pharmacies. The working and lower middle class recipients are the addicted victims.

For their part, capitalists and oligarchs have absolutely no need for any health insurance. They have their own exclusive boutique clinics and stables of elite doctors and nurses to provide them with the highest standards of care. They would never dream of allowing their family members to be prescribed the addicting products that have devastated so many millions of lesser citizens and made them such enormous profits. Although we may never see, let alone visit, these elite clinics, the deadly consequences of the medical-health care apartheid are not hard to fathom.

With predictable optimism, the US mass media reported that the drug overdose crisis has provided the organ transplantation industry with many needed body parts. Such silver linings!

As a group, the capitalist perpetrators of this ‘opioid war against the working class’ can easily donate tens of millions of dollars to presidential candidates and other political leaders to ensure that appointees to the so-called regulatory bodies will work hard to protect their profits rather than the health of the citizens. These oligarchs enjoy near total and eternal immunity from government regulators. If any outrage over the immense human losses to addiction ever manage to filter into their rarified lives of fine art philanthropy and other elite activities, they can rely on legions of public and media ‘moralists’ to blame the victims for their life destroying habits.

One such company is Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of OxyContin. It is owned by the oligarch Sackler Family, whose founders are among the most elite high cultural philanthropists in the country. Since entering the unimaginably lucrative US ‘pain’ market in 1995, OxyContin has earned Purdue over $35 billion dollars and brought the Sacklers into the Olympian heights of the America’s ‘Uber-rich’. None of curators in the Sackler Galleries or the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art would dream of displaying any ‘social realist’ depiction of the immense human suffering and loss caused by the drugs their bosses have peddled to millions of low-income Americans. But then tastes have changed: ‘Social realism’ is obsolete in the class-apartheid America that the Sacklers and their friends enjoy.

Quality research and investigation into major demographic changes is also obsolete. Describing the promiscuous dissemination of prescription opioids as one of the ‘biggest mistakes in the history of modern medicine’, a former FDA commissioner, did nothing to curtail the epidemic during his tenure (1990-1997) or to draw attention to the devastation after stepping down until just recently. Dr. David Kessler joined the chorus bemoaning the opioid epidemic after the highly publicized overdose death of the rock star Prince, writing an Op-Ed in the New York Times on May 6, 2016.

Academics receive grants from big national foundations to ‘study addiction’, focusing on the individual psychological disorders affecting the victims of overdose and the social pathologies of the street dealers. This deflects attention from the corporations, which profit from, and the capitalist decision makers, who set the stage for, massive deadly addiction on a national scale. But university careers, peer recognition and fat research grants are not awarded to anyone foolish enough to identify the killer corporations, or the dangerous work conditions, the overtime, low pay, and increasing rates of injuries and despair which send the workers from one killer employer to ‘Big Daddy Pharma’, and the doctors who encourage them to rely on addictive pain killers rather than demand better pay, better health care, better work conditions and a real future for their families.

There is a crying need for effective action. The reality of hundreds of thousands of ‘deaths by prescription’ and millions of addicts should call for a special national prosecutor and body of dedicated, independent investigators who are willing to identify the profit motive among the country’s highest elite as the underlying basis for this continuing crisis. Any investigation should pursue the wide net of racketeers and enablers, ranging from lobbyists and corrupt bureaucrats and regulators to doctors and publicists, because this epidemic has touched tens of millions of working Americans, their families and friends, workmates and communities. And where are the child advocates to represent the interests of the thousands of addicted infants born to rural ‘Oxy-Moms’ and whose neonatal withdrawal crises have overwhelmed the capacity of rural and small city hospitals?


Ending the cycle of addiction and overdose deaths requires more than just making photoops at small town treatment centers. It requires focusing on the role of prescription opioids and the prosecution of corporate criminals. This includes prosecuting capitalists who exploit vulnerable workers, denying them protection, safe working conditions and access to quality health care. What is required is a fundamental change in capital-worker relations in this country.

Corporate economic strategies, which undermine wages and security, require an expanding reserve army of low paid or unemployed workers. With so many American workers disabled or dropped from the work force because of addiction, many temporary replacement workers are immigrant, who have been raised, trained and educated at the expense of their own country or society. This was once called the ‘brain drain’, but now includes the ‘brain and skilled brawn drain’. The fact that other societies have spent their resources to raise and educate these workers who then immigrate has allowed US capitalists and political decision makers to drastically cut social spending for education and health for American workers.

To counter this trend, a rational immigration policy in this country should address this issue and be calibrated to the size, scope and security of the domestic labor force. It must limit the power of capital to freely hire and fire American workers – and devastate entire communities.

The lobbyists of ‘Big Pharma’ and the state regulators, who profited from or just ignored the growing problem of drug addiction and overdose deaths should be treated like any other criminal charged with causing death or injury.


Doctors, who have decided to prescribe highly addictive narcotics in large quantities leading to addiction and fatal overdose, should be re-educated and monitored or face the loss of their license and prosecution. Early on in the epidemic, they knew about the addictive nature of these drugs. Not a few doctors and other medical personnel found themselves ‘hooked’. Recidivist operators of ‘pill mills’ should face serious penalties, including long incarceration. Health care providers could have decided to fight to secure their injured patients’ access to effective rehabilitation and physical therapy. Their easy mercenary choices have facilitated a disaster. How are they different from the notorious consultant psychologists, hired by the US government, to devise system of torture against detainees?

But others tried to raise the alarm: Pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and government regulators who resisted the pressure to prescribe or promote opioids for profit and instead tried to intervene to protect vulnerable patients or raise the alarm should be recognized and rewarded. Many faced professional retaliation for as ‘whistle-blowers’. The US, with its ‘profit over patient’ ethos in health care, is the only industrialized nation to witness these demographic trends. This should be a cautionary tale to any country considering adopting US style health care and its lucrative but deadly approach to chronic ‘pain’. A recent investigation in the Los Angeles Times, entitled ‘OxyContin goes global – “We’re only just getting started ’ (December 18, 2016) details the mega-million dollar campaign of multinational opioid producers to break into other markets and documents an abrupt increase in overdose deaths.

An essential component to solving this huge crisis would be for the country to adopt a universal, publically funded, national health program. This could be funded by eliminating the cap on social security taxes and repatriating and taxing the trillions of overseas US corporate profits in tax havens; as well as by taxing big inheritance as a social redistributive remedy for immense wealth accumulation. This would open up opportunities in education, social mobility and careers. Only then will we see a decrease opioid addiction among the downwardly mobile workers and overdose deaths and reverse the trend of increasing mortality.

Taxes should be levied on corporations relocating abroad to combat capital flight. Speculative financial transactions, like stock trading, should be subject to a 1% sales tax.

A comprehensive national health system would drastically reduce the high administrative overhead. Unethical and unnecessary treatments and procedures and other scams endemic in our current ‘for profit’ health care system would be dramatically reduced. The resources, thus saved would go to effective health care and related services.

These financial, judicial and social services reforms would support a universal national health system expanded right on the existing Medicare structure, which has effectively served the older population for decades. This would help promote the growth a robust domestic labor market of secure, healthy and productive and well-paid workers.

Previous and current US Presidential Administrations and other political leaders have wasted trillions of public dollars on ‘multiple foreign wars on terror’ and ‘regimes change’ and financed the largest prison-industrial complex in human history, while ignoring the pre-mature death and destruction of their own citizens due to ‘legal’ pharmaceutical and medical practices. Alternatives have been left to future generations to ponder. Today there is a growing grass-root demand to end this crisis. The marginalized workers and rural poor who massively voted for the first time against ‘Big Pharma’s Candidate’ Hillary Clinton and elected the opportunist ‘billionaire’ Donald Trump were concentrated in the same areas devastated by the opioid (and worker suicide) epidemic. This marginalized sector, long scorned by the traditional politicians and dismissed by Candidate Clinton as ‘deplorables’, would require very little convincing to support a national health system as a first step to addressing the life and death crisis facing working Americans.

Furthermore the global trends toward implementing technological innovations, such as robots, automation and artificial intelligence, currently serve capitalist profits by making workers redundant and easier to exploit, as well as cutting out expensive health care and pensions. This change in capital-labor relations can and should be replaced with one, which uses technology to benefit the workers by improving the conditions of works and reducing the work week from 40 to 30 hours at the same pay (a once widespread worker demand during the 1950’s).

But these changes will not come from the ‘classless’ research projects of corporate-funded academics, or from the vacuous educational seminars given by NGO ‘experts’.

Meaningful battles against this ‘class war by prescription’ will depend on sustained solidarity and struggle. Workers will have to shake off this scourge. They have nothing to lose but their degrading and dangerous addictions. They have a world and a real future to win. Only they can ‘make America great again!’


[1] Shawn Donnan, “White ‘deaths of despair’ surge in US”, Financial Times, 3/24/2017

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Mortality, Opioids, Oxytocin, White Death 
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  1. Wow.

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read in my life.

    I’ve made many similar points on the White Death. The author makes a very convincing and well-thought case on the true factors that have led to this massive increase in white working & lower class mortality.

    Specifically, here’s what I thought were some of his strongest points.

    1. The White Death didn’t occur in the Anglosphere, Europe, or any other major first world nation. Why is the U.S. unique?
    2. A single-payer healthcare system that offered quality treatment would preclude the need for mass prescriptions of painkillers.
    3. Big Pharma and “pill mill” physicians have played an important role in distributing poison to the masses.
    4. The politicians are mostly bribed by Big Pharma, so nobody ever prosecutes them. Big Pharma advertises a lot on mainstream media outlets, so they’re bribed too.
    5. Young, healthy immigrant workers (and also foreign workers who labor in outsourced foreign operations) are replacing American workers at a rapid rate. This has played a role in the rising rate of addiction among economically displaced Americans. This addiction conveniently kills off “surplus” workers, who would normally consume pensions and healthcare.
    6. We waste trillions (over $5 trillion in Iraq alone) on the “War on Terror.” At the same time, we can only dream of the type of universal healthcare coverage that many nations (who haven’t wasted trillions) currently enjoy.
    7. Workers are in terror of getting laid off, as they won’t be able to get quality healthcare. Even when workers do get employer healthcare, the premiums and copays are often ridiculously unaffordable.
    8. Trump did very well in areas that had rapidly falling life expectancy. His victory was a product of legitimate concerns about declining health, not “racism.”
    9. The U.S. is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy run by financiers, war profiteers, and corporatists. We also don’t have a free independent media – they’re almost all owned by corporate groups these days.
    10. America has embraced an extremely rapacious form of capitalism. Workers are literally being cannibalized (ie given opioids until they die) to pump up corporate profits. It is utterly horrifying what has become of this nation.
    11. Academics and others didn’t touch this issue because it would’ve been ruinous to their careers.
    12. The Prison-Industrial Complex (which locks up many addicts) is extremely lucrative. So there’s a financial incentive in locking up addicts rather than treating them. These privately-owned prisons donate a lot to politicians.

    Thank you for writing this. This article should be mandatory reading for every policymaker, journalist, and student in America.

    Please write a sequel in the future.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    , @Alden
  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Oh, never mind.

    Just mocking, and when possible punching gammas, Deep America White Power will rise again. In a couple blogs, at least

    Patriots (and lots of testosterone) incoming!


    Now, since we aren’t at one of those blogs, seriously. The world is accelerating, and general intelligence, the ability to adapt to and solve novel problems and challenges, is more needed than ever.
    The less equipped for evolution struggle and are left behind. The more evolved (along with being mocked on some blogs) take advantage from them.

    Darwin’s comment that some groups of humans could have overridden is read as a “white on blacks” dynamic. It’s much more general than that. Measure these drug-blighted white’s g and see what you find.

  3. The article appears well researched and written and the dispensing of potent addictive drugs and the lack of a coherent health care system are big parts of the White Death problem. But there are other underlying causes (check out Steve Sailer’s blog and Takimag article) and people are also dying from suicide and alcohol abuse. A shotgun under the chin is a faster way to die than drugs and alcohol is slower, but the results are equally fatal.

  4. JackOH says:

    Does anyone know if there was anyone warning with any specificity of this White Death phenomenon back in the 1990s or early 2000s?

    I have some vague memory of undertreated pain being somewhat trendy within the medical community maybe in the 1990s, then overprescribing by physicians drawing the attention of law enforcement. I’m not sure how much of that undertreated pain phenomenon was Big Pharma laying the groundwork for a big opioid sale campaign.

    My NE Ohio county’s annualized death rate from all ODs for the first quarter 2017 is 68/100,000. No misprint. I’ve dome my own amateur theoretical backfilling to explain the phenomenon, but reality is I don’t have a clue that explains our fantastic OD and death by OD rates. Despair and poor job prospects sound compelling, but in the 1970s it was common knowledge that well-paid industrial workers were prescribed generous quantities of pain-killers, tranquilizers, soporifics, and what-not.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  5. 22pp22 says:

    Excellent article.

  6. Simple solutions:

    -Never take Oxycontin, Oxecta, or Roxicodone aka oxycodone.

    -A few days before acute pain is expected to go away, stop taking pain medication. Deal with a little pain for a few days without medication.

    -If you are in pain for no explainable reason, talk yourself out of it. Tell yourself that it is in your mind and tell yourself why. Reasons may be that you hate your job, unhappy marriage, bills, etc. Dr. John Sarno was able to cure Howard Stern psychosomatic pain. I cured myself of back pain — told myself that my back hurt because I hated my job (which was the truth) and the pain went away. LINK

    Remember, the only reason a corporation exists is to shake the money out of your pockets. If they (yes, corporations are persons) have to kill a few people to do it, that is the cost of doing business.

    • Replies: @jade
  7. USDA is more efficient in assisting slow murder of working class Americans than pharma. has tons of info on the subject.
    Dr.Greger helps people to postpone death by avoiding poison consumption forced upon us.

  8. utu says:

    Is there a connection to heroine and its low cost (post Taliban Afghanistan under American rule)?

    How much heroine is being consumed now comparing to before 9/11?

    • Replies: @Agent76
    , @David
  9. Racial issues are important here. Take a look the wikipedia link for Mortimer Slacker.
    He is Polish Ashkenazi Jewish descent. It is not just money. There is an element of racial aggression.

    Thanks James for this excellent well researched article.

    • Replies: @tgordon
  10. Agent76 says:


    The obvious major problem, according to the person who contacted me, was the fact that the patient had been continuously over-dosed with irrational cocktails of a multitude of dangerous psychiatric drugs. Since there were a number of lessons that I thought my readers could benefit from learning, I decided to make the letter into a Duty to Warn column.

    November 18, 2015 Drugged-out America: Drug overdoses kill more people than car crashes or guns… Big Pharma’s chemical violence has no end

    During the second Democrat presidential debate, frontrunner Hillary Clinton made an astonishing – and wholly inaccurate – claim about guns and gun violence.

  11. Agent76 says:

    Here is what you need to know and share with other’s.

    Jan 9, 2015 Opium Production in Afghanistan Sets Record – American Soldiers Helping Heroin Sales

    June 10, 2014 Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

    • Agree: Amanda
    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    , @Sowhat
  12. Agent76 says:


    Today, with militaries of the world awash in psychiatry and psychiatric drugs, 23 soldiers and veterans are committing suicide every day. Psychiatrists say we need more psychiatry.

    • Replies: @Agent76
  13. David says:

    I don’t know but it seems likely that synthetic versions of heroine are the most common. I think all the pill opiates are synthetic. How much of what’s sold on the street is “organic” vs synthetic is an interesting question. To what degree is Afghanistan and the US one market in heroine, differing in price only by the cost of transportation, is also an interesting question.

  14. @JackOH

    One of the areas I’ve worked in on and off over the past 40 years or so is substance abuse and substance abuse treatment policy. Back in the very early 1990s various Community Epidemiology Working Groups (CEWGs) – look it up if you don’t know what they are – began reporting alarmingly rapid increases in various indicators of opioid abuse, concentrated primarily among Whites. Street level Heroin purity was close to 100% and extremely potent synthetics like “China White” were flooding the market. Back then I told public health officials in my state that we were in the early stages of a crisis and something needed to be done. Widespread misuse of prescription opioids came along a decade or more later and aggravated a problem that was already serious.

    My point is that this problem was already serious over a quarter century ago and professionals in the field were fully aware. The politicians and senior government bureaucrats paid no attention. Now, over twenty years later. and far too late to do anything useful, they are wasting tens of millions of dollars on useless policies that are too little and too late. I seriously doubt Mr. Petras had a clue about this until he started noticing the headlines in the NYT a few years ago and made himself an instant “expert”. I’ll just add that his little essay, as is usual with Mr. Petras, demonstrates a rather limited understanding of the subject.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  15. Agent76 says:

    Jan 10, 2014 The Hidden Enemy: Psychiatry

    This documentary shows how the army is exploited as Psychiatry’s testing ground for drugs and other inhumane “treatment” which have resulted in exponential growth of military suicides. Currently, more US soldiers die from suicide than from combat.

  16. Zenarchy says:

    Here in Europe, the opiates you mention are usually only prescribed for acute pain, and for chronic pain that looks as if it might not last more than a few months. For longer periods it’s either some antidepressants with painkilling properties or tramadol, which is an opioid, but with a very high deadly dose (almost impossible to die of it by itself, though a few combinations are dangerous). I have used it myself, and was better than oxycodone and I felt less drowsy. It’s dirt cheap, though, so I’m guessing that can be a problem.

    The problem which I do see here, though, is that the health care system has too much corruption. Doctors’ associations are gods (malpractice is never successfully sued), Insurance companies come close, and the Association of pharmacies – god, don’t let me start…

  17. @Agent76

    Forget Afghanistan. China is the world’s primary producer and distributor of the precursors for manufacturing synthetic opioids, e.g., “China White” and Fentanyl, and a producer and distributor of the synthetics themselves. It is these synthetics that are flooding US opioid street markets and causing opiod OD deaths.

    Back in the early 1990s Heroin was already 100% pure in most US street markets. OD deaths were almost nonexistent because users had built tolerance. Synthetics are literally scores of times stronger than pure Heroin. It is easy to OD on them. Because the profit margin is higher they have replaced Heroin or are used to add strength to dilute Heroin solutions.

    China can easily control its domestic producers and distributors of illicit drugs and precursors. I strongly suspect that such control or the lack of it is at least a minor tool of Chinese foreign policy. This is a subtext that explains a lot of what is going on in the Philippines right now vis-a-vis Mr. Duterte’s crack down on illegal drugs and his negotiations with China.

    I should add that prescription opiods like OxyCodone, Percoset, Vicodin, etc. are now just gateway drugs. People start using them because they think they are safe. When they get hooked they soon have to switch to illicit drugs like Heroin, China White, Fentanyl, and mixes of these because prescription drugs cost ten to twenty times as much as street drugs that provide the same effect.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Agent76
  18. I’d like to see trial lawyers take up the cudgels on behalf of overdose victims. A class action that extracts billions out of pharma companies, and puts at least one well-known hospital out of business would give pause to the enablers currently doling out unnecessary narcotic drugs to injury and/or surgical patients.

  19. Amanda says:

    Excellent article. Thanks for posting.
    This extremely timely for me, as my family and I are now living in HELL because we made the gravest mistake of our lives in trusting a doctor. My sister, who has Down syndrome and was suffering from Lyme Disease (a US bio-weapon, look it up) was given a prescription for Ativan (a Benzodiazapine). Without going into the details, we now know it was contraindicated for someone in my sister’s condition (already depressed). The Ativan deepened her depression, to the point she was suicidal and begging my parents and I to kill her. By the time we realized what was happening and that it was the Ativan, it was too late b/c we then learned that this stuff is extremely addictive and impossible to get off (we were NEVER warned that she would have to go through absolute physical and emotional hell to get off of it–obviously, if we were warned, we never would have given it to her). After only taking the smallest dose (.5, in the evening for sleep problems due to Lyme-induced tinnitus) for only 6 weeks, we are now 7 months into the tapering process and my sister is continuing to go through unimaginable hell on a daily basis. It is an absolute CRIME that they are allowed to sell this poison! But, I guess, since it’s a guaranteed money-maker (once you get on, you can’t get off), nothing will ever happen. Same with the Fluoroquinolones–nothing well ever happen (

  20. Gene Su says:

    I have question and I would like a blogger who is NOT a flamer to give me an intelligent answer.

    I once dated a young lady who was addicted to psychotropic medication. She is in her mid-30′s. She has not held a job for more than a decade. She is on welfare and lives in public housing. I asked here why she doesn’t just quit the drugs she is taking. Her situation is quite mind-boggling.

    The lady is under an arrangement called a conservatorship. A court-appointed attorney is her guardian. This guardian doesn’t seem to have her best interests at heart. Among other legal restrictions imposed on her, the lady cannot: move out of her home state, find a job outside of her home state, or even quit the drugs she is on. In fact, she tried to withdraw once and her guardian and doctors forcibly sequestered her in a hospital where her dose was increased.

    This lady seems to been forcibly placed on these drugs by her mother during college after something really terrifying happened (I’m not going to get into it here). After college, she became a teacher in an inner city school where she had to deal with minority brats and quit after a year. At the same time, she tried to withdraw from the drugs without her mother’s consent and was forcibly sequestered in a hospital for more than a year.

    Does this situation sound realistic or common? I have heard of schools forcibly placing young children on psychotropic drugs. Can the state really force you to take medication against your will?

  21. Corvinus says:

    “I’ve made many similar points on the White Death. The author makes a very convincing and well-thought case on the true factors that have led to this massive increase in white working & lower class mortality.”

    It’s not the White Death, it’s the scourge of the working classes regardless of race or ethnicity. Furthermore, do not companies have the liberty to move their operations where ever they see fit to maximize profits? Since when are corporations morally culpable to guarantee the right of affordable health care? Is it not the responsibility of the worker to secure insurance on their own dime, to find alternate ways to be employed other than by industrial labor? And what about choices made by these individuals? Are you saying that environmental rather than biological factors account more for people dying? How is Big Pharma to blame for poor personal decisions?

    “1. The White Death didn’t occur in the Anglosphere, Europe, or any other major first world nation. Why is the U.S. unique?”

    Not entirely accurate. The working classes in Europe are suffering from the same symptoms as their American counterparts. Their (gasp) socialist governments have tried to put into place
    measures meant to alleviate their problems.

    “2. A single-payer healthcare system that offered quality treatment would preclude the need for mass prescriptions of painkillers.”

    Not necessarily. Some conditions require extensive use of medications.

    “3. Big Pharma and “pill mill” physicians have played an important role in distributing poison to the masses.”

    Those “poisons” have also enabled tens of millions of people to lead healthy, productive lives. You are overgeneralizing here.

    “4. The politicians are mostly bribed by Big Pharma, so nobody ever prosecutes them. Big Pharma advertises a lot on mainstream media outlets, so they’re bribed too.”

    It’s not bribery. It’s self-interest. That is the nature of big business.

    “5. Young, healthy immigrant workers (and also foreign workers who labor in outsourced foreign operations) are replacing American workers at a rapid rate. This has played a role in the rising rate of addiction among economically displaced Americans.”


    “This addiction conveniently kills off “surplus” workers, who would normally consume pensions and healthcare.”

    The law of the jungle, right? Besides, pensions and healthcare cost significant sums of money. Are you not interfering with the free market when strict rules and regulations are passed?

    “6. We waste trillions (over $5 trillion in Iraq alone) on the “War on Terror.” At the same time, we can only dream of the type of universal healthcare coverage that many nations (who haven’t wasted trillions) currently enjoy.”

    I agree.

    “7. Workers are in terror of getting laid off, as they won’t be able to get quality healthcare. Even when workers do get employer healthcare, the premiums and copays are often ridiculously unaffordable.”

    Again, is it not a personal decision on their part? Should they not find other means to become employed?

    “9. The U.S. is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy run by financiers, war profiteers, and corporatists. We also don’t have a free independent media – they’re almost all owned by corporate groups these days.”

    The U.S. is a representative democracy by which individuals compete for their own personal interests, find like minded people, and form groups to influence legislation. I suggest that you join a similar group to move your agenda forward.

    “10. America has embraced an extremely rapacious form of capitalism. Workers are literally being cannibalized (ie given opioids until they die) to pump up corporate profits. It is utterly horrifying what has become of this nation.”

    I didn’t realize there are different forms of capitalism. Please specify.

  22. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Anybody who thinks that someone like Rand Paul is about to propose a plan that will dramatically improve the American health system will be soundly disappointed.

    Rand is a great guy but he is also either a past (or maybe even a present?) member of the American Medical Society (AMA) which is nothing more than a de facto union for doctors which has fought any sort of substantive reform of our medical system for decades. The AMA has historically been a major recipient of donations from the pharmaceutical industry as well.

    We are destined eventually to get a single payer system of one type or another simply because of increasing budget restraints. The problem for the middle class is what sort of system we will end up with. The choices are between a tiered system like that enjoyed by the very practical and efficient Singaporeans or a non-tiered system like Canada or the UK. In a tiered system the people who are willing to pay more for a higher tiered policy get nonessential services faster and with more frills. In a non-tiered system system like Canada, those people financially capable but unwilling to join long waiting lists for procedure like cataract and hip replacements and will have to travel to the US for faster service and wil have to to pay totally unregulated and often exhorbitant fees out of pocket .

    The problem is that if the Republicans continue to ditter on reform, just like they have done for decades, we will not get the much more desirable (IMO) tiered system. When the Democrats get back into power, their minority and leftist constituents will demand a “much more equal” non tiered system like Canada (AKA Medicare for everyone)..

    Tiered and non tiered will be the only systems considered practical in the future. Canada or Singapore, take your choice.

    Here is a link to how the very practical and ruthlessly efficient Singaporean medical system works.

  23. OxyContin kills 100,000 a year worldwide:

    That’s many times the amount that die from terrorism.

    The Sackler family, who profit from these deaths, are big Clinton donors. And they are all over the liberal art world. I didn’t see any mainstream news story about this. Even the Trumpers didn’t talk about this.

    Is there a news blackout on this? Perhaps the Sacklers are especially litigious.

  24. wow says:

    Too bad Trump is now distracted by the Syria cesspool to actually tackle this issue in the USA!

    Sad country! Pathetic really…..the end is nigh!

  25. The Scalpel says: • Website

    I have been practicing emergency medicine for 27 consecutive years. I have been Director of my emergency department for many years and Chief of Staff of my hospital. All in all this is an excellent article with many excellent points. There is one issue I would like to note that the author did not touch on.

    Hospitals are corporations. Their motive is profit. They way to make patients happy. This makes for a good public relations and keeps the patients coming back. Most physicians are respectable people and intend to do a good history and physical and treat appropriately. Unfortunately, the hospital corporations are not concerned with this issue. They are concerned with billing and patient satisfaction.

    Physicians lose their jobs if they receive too many complaints from dissatisfied patients. Patients who want OxyContin and other similar narcotics know this and use this to their advantage. All it takes is a few complaints from patients like this, and doctors who need to earn a living for their family, will start to prescribe the pain medicine the people want. The corporate hospitals are not concerned with this issue at all they are only concerned that the patients are happy and that they can bill the patient.

    I saw this problem many years ago and wrote a satirical article on the topic. The hospital corporation that I was working for told me to pull the article or I could not work there full-time. I told them that I would not pull the article and that I must not be the kind of doctor they are looking for. Ironically, I later became Director of that emergency department and Chief of Staff of that hospital. I never pulled the article, but I did quit talking about it. That is how the corporations can crush you down. Anyway, here’s a link to the article for anyone who is interested.

    The Legal Trade in Illegal Drugs:

    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  26. Alden says:

    The anti pain killer movement is just the latest liberal crusade like global warming and the endless history channel programs about the millions of non existent “White Supremacists” who operate a huge KKK Neo Nazi underground.

    Remember the eggs and beef cause fatal heart attacks propaganda? Turns out those “studies” were funded and directed by the fish, chicken, wheat and oat farmers and Quaker Oats, Pillsbury, Tyson, Perdue etc. And the fact is that cholesterol is manufactured by one’s own body, How many eggs one eats a week has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of cholesterol in the body.

    I don’t believe a word printed in the mass media and neither should James Petras.

    For the last 50 years there has been endless weeping, wailing and rending of garments in the mass media about the death of blacks from illegal drugs and how those deaths are caused by evil Whitey. Then along came the news about the Mexican Columbian drug cartels.

    The liberals have come up with this Whites and prescription drugs crusade to:

    1. Focus attention away from the black and brown druggies and suppliers.

    2. Denigrate the average White person who is not a billionaire ultra liberal SJW.

    The medical marijuana people are probably also involved. They obviously want patients to use medical marijuana instead of real medicines that block the message the nerves send to the brain and actually do stop and prevent pain. Medical marijuana doesn’t stop pain. It just makes the patient hazy and distracted.

    How naïve it is to believe the latest anti White media propaganda.

    • Replies: @Zenarchy
    , @JohnnyWalker123
  27. utu says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    “I strongly suspect that such control or the lack of it is at least a minor tool of Chinese foreign policy.”

    Perhaps it is their revenge for opium trade and opium wars.

  28. Zenarchy says:

    Partially agree.

    Marijuana does reduce certain types of pain, though, and does it without the damage to PHYSICAL health, but my issues were that haziness during the day just wasn’t an option.

    When talking of corruption, the bigger issue are usually the anti-pot folks.

  29. Alden says:

    It’s interesting to see Petras and other people who are usually so skeptical about MSM propaganda blasts swallowing this latest anti White blast by the jew media.

    Petras concluded his MSM propaganda urging “Workers will have to shake off this scourge.”

    Interesting that Petras and the rest of the cubicle drones sitting in their ergomonic chairs who have never done a lick of physical labor in their lives can sneer at manual laborers.

    Have any of you naïve credulous pompous pontificators gone to work at a physical labor job at 19 and experienced significant pain at age 50, 15 years before you can retire?

    Do you know even nurses, waiters, cooks and retail employees who spend their working lives on their feet? I bet not. Do you pompous pontificators know any orthopedic surgeons? They generally have to retire early and suffer the same physical problems carpenters, plumbers and construction workers suffer. Why? Because orthopedic surgeons, like construction workers are physical laborers who spend their work day on their fee using saws, drills, hammers, chisels etc. Ever seen the muscles on the arms of ortho surgeons including the women?

    The entire prescription drug use by low class Whites is just another anti White propaganda blast. And you all fell for it.

    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @utu
  30. @utu

    I won’t deny that the same thought has crossed my mind on many occasions.

  31. @Gene Su

    “Can the state really force you to take medication against your will?”

    If one poses a danger to himself or others when not on these medications, there are many situations in which the state can give one a choice between confinement or medication. Similar situations arise when a person is found incompetent to care for themselves, e.g., because of dementia, and given a guardian. Although you don’t give details, your narrative certainly suggests that: (1) Your friend was put on these medications after something really bad or dangerous that she did to herself or others. (2) On at least one occasion she required hospitalization for a year after she decided on her own to stop taking her medication. Persons are not sequestered in a mental hospital for a year or more except when this is absolutely necessary. For one thing, it’s just too expensive. So on at least two occasions your friend appears to have demonstrated she is a danger to herself or others when not on these medications. If those occasions were criminal matters the court can require medication as part of probation or parole supervision within the CJS. If they were not criminal matters, a civil finding of incompetence is still sufficient in many jurisdictions to result in the circumstances that you have described.

    • Agree: The Scalpel
  32. Wally says:

    And to think we’re on the brink of completely socialized healthcare, like it or not.

    Will there then be prohibition on the pain killers, or will their availability increase?

    • Replies: @The Scalpel
  33. utu says:

    “The entire prescription drug use by low class Whites is just another anti White propaganda blast.”

    You might be onto something, actually.

  34. The Scalpel says: • Website

    I bélieve the availability will dcrease because patient satisfaction and reimbursement will not be such big issues. It will be access to care, and people needlessly seeking drugs clog up the system

  35. @Gene Su

    I agree with everything that Jus Sayin’… said and would like to add a few things. The woman is carefully picking and choosing what she tells you. She claims to be “addicted to psychotropic medication” but you should be aware that number one goal of most psychiatric patients is to stop taking their medication.

    Don’t encourage her or anyone one else to “just quit the drugs she is taking”. That is very dangerous. People need to be tapered off of psychotropic medications under a physician’s care.

    She isn’t just on welfare, but SSI — she has been declared disabled (mentally).

    Her mother didn’t force her to do anything. You can only be involuntarily committed or treated if you pose a danger to yourself or others and that requires the courts and physicians. Years ago, when you heard people say that Brittany Spears parents should just “do something”, those people had no idea what they were talking about. Her parents nor anyone else can make another adult take medication or undergo unwanted medical treatment — that takes a court order.

    • Replies: @Gene Su
    , @Gene Su
  36. Renoman says:

    Opiate addiction is very dangerous, 90% of those addicted fail in rehab. An opiate addict will do anything for a fix and I mean anything. The only cure is a bullet.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  37. @Renoman

    “The only cure is a bullet.”

    That was Mao’s policy prescription for China’s main substance abuse problem when the communists took power. Opium addiction was common in China then. After Mao had all who would not stop using or dealing in opium executed the problem ceased to exist. Death was Mao’s solution to just about every problem.

    OTOH, the situation for all addicts, including those addicted to opioids is not quite as bleak as you portray it. There is solid scientific evidence now that all addictions are chronic, recurring conditions that cause observable changes to brain structure and function. There are scientific treatments for addiction, including opiate addiction, that do work. However, they are quite expensive and require the active cooperation of the patient, so they are seldom used. Most addicts in this country receive the equivalent of a band aid. Some opioid addicts eventually recover enough without any formal treatment that they can once again function in society.

    One successful treatment for opioid addiction is Methadone therapy supplemented with supportive counseling and techniques for reintegrating the addict into society. There are others. However, one must remember that addiction is a chronic recurring disease like, e.g., Multiple Sclerosis or Psoriasis. There are treatments for all these diseases that alleviate symptoms but as of yet no cures. Relapses are not uncommon. But continued bouts of treatment with briefer and less frequent relapses over time is a pretty good outcome for the addict and society at large.

  38. Anonymous [AKA "cauterizer"] says:
    @The Scalpel

    Fellow ER doc here. All you say is 100% true but would add:
    1. Disability culture. If you get better you might have to return to work so of course your painful condition ( e.g back pain ) never improves. Going to the doctor or ER many times for said painful condition will be a prerequisite for your pending disability claim. Same for litigation and lawsuits.. you have to have a permanent pain problem in order to win your case.
    2. The national character and resilience has declined. We’ve became silly crybabies. We are no longer “tough”. Toughness, stoic resolve , resilience are mocked and actually discouraged as “toxic masculinity”… How is it there is all this pain now?? Did they not have herniated disks in the 1940’s ?? Did they not have arthritis back in the day? Of course they did but people back then dealt with it. Think of the jobs not so long ago hard rock mining, construction and I don’t think I’ve ever read of a “pain problem” back in those days…

    • Agree: Triumph104
  39. @utu

    There are drugs that are legal in the US that have been banned by the Chinese government in the grey market area called “research chemicals”. The Chinese government would not ban them if they were pursuing this policy.

  40. The doctrine of disparate impact has killed the white working class.

  41. Gene Su says:

    I purposely withheld some details from my description (especially anything that could lead to her identification). I also am fully well aware that she might have not been totally truthful with me.

    Still, it seems to me that Big Pharma is getting too much support from the government, with these court-ordered mandates. I used to think that all these people on drugs and welfare were there solely of their own choice and responsibility. Now I’m beginning to wonder…

  42. notice says:

    The white death/ prescription drug epidemic is obviously approved of by the powers-that-be. The elites would have stopped by this by now if they were against it.

    • Replies: @The Scalpel
  43. The Scalpel says: • Website

    Selling addictive drugs is an easy way to make money. Who’d a thunk?

    • Replies: @notice
  44. notice says:
    @The Scalpel

    The powers I’m referring to are not healthcare providers, pharma, or lobbyists. The large media corporations, the foundations, and the politically-interested billionaires could have pushed this issue to the forefront of the public consciousness a decade ago, but did not. They can move an issue to the front burner when they want it there. The overdose spike with opioid painkillers has been going on since 2000 in earnest. Oxycontin has been with us since the mid-nineties. Its 2017. The media in my area is on the issue now, and has been for at least a year. They should have been on this by 2010 at the latest. Its as if the foot-dragging has been on purpose.

    When I first started seeing crime articles describing pharmacy robberies, it was obvious something was askew. That was in the late 1990s. Then one started to see way too many young faces in the obituary pages, always with no attendant explanation as to why the young person in the photo died. Never describing the battle with a disease, the car wreck, the accident, the sudden heart attack…… Nothing. It should have been obvious. I’m sure the cops, coroners, and EMTs were noticing the trend back then, and assuredly were talking about it. Media wasn’t connecting any dots though, at least in my area paper. They are on it now though, thank God.

  45. JackOH says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Thanks, JS, that, plus your other comments here, do help. A newly found source of very low cost/very high margin opioids awaiting illicit market opportunities does help make sense of this mess. (By “mess”, I mean the statement by one of our state senators that some Ohio counties have had to rent refrigerator trucks to store the bodies of ODed people.)

    Do you see an end game here?

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  46. Gene Su says:

    To [Jus’ Sayin’] and [Triumph104]

    Thank you for your replies.

    • Agree: The Scalpel
  47. Agent76 says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Just because you believe something does not make that belief a fact like these will do for you!

    December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

    LONDON— Recent news item: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials – despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

    Jan 9, 2015 Opium Production in Afghanistan Sets Record – American Soldiers Helping Heroin Sales

    June 10, 2014 Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  48. @JackOH

    I’ve lived through quite a few drug epidemics now:

    (1) the first Heroin epidemic of the late 1970s; much, much, much smaller than the current one but a matter of concern at the time;

    (2) the Cocaine epidemic among America’s upper classes in the early 1980s;

    (3) the much more serious crack Cocaine epidemic among the Negro underclass in the late 1980s;

    (4) the epidemic of crystal meth smoking which threatened to spread to the USA from Southeast Asia but never got further than Hawaii [No one is absolutely certain why, although I personally suspect Southeast Asians may be more susceptible to the drug for genetic reasons.];

    (5) the epidemic of methamphetamine addiction which cut a swathe of devastation through Whites in many rural and Midwestern areas of the country starting in the late 1990s.

    The current opioid epidemic can actually best be characterized as a wave of over-lapping and related epidemics, primarily within the White poulation:

    (a) The whole problem first surfaced in the early 1990s as the crack Cocaine epidemic crested and died away. This epidemic seems to have occurred as the result of widespread availability of smokable near 100% purity Heroin and Heroin-like synthetics like China White. Evidently drug suppliers switched to these products as demand for Cocaine products declined.

    (b) In the mid and later part of the 1990s prescribing of synthetic opioids like Oxycodone and Vicodone became much more common. New ways of administering these products, that were easily abused also became available, e.g., OxyCodone, slow release capsules and Fentanyl patches.

    (c) Those who became addicted to these drugs soon switched to Heroin and Heroin became important again in the early 2000s. The primary motivation here is that Heroin provides the same high as prescription opioids for much less money.

    (d) Starting less than a decade ago, Heroin wholesalers and retailers began realizing much higher profits by cutting Heroin with cheap and extremely powerful synthetics like Fentanyl and Carfentanyl. The uncertain strength of street-level packaging of these products is what has caused the relatively recent and truly terrifying epidemic of opioid overdose deaths the country is now experiencing. Back in the “good old days” of 100% pure street level Heroin, opioid overdose deaths were almost non-existent. Users had a good notion of what they could tolerate and what they were taking.

    My experience suggests several things to me:

    (1) Drug use and addiction epidemics are driven by supplies of new kinds of drugs. Every epidemic listed above began when a new type of drug was widely supplied by those in the business of manufacturing and selling drugs.

    (2) Whether a new drug will catch on and create an epidemic is a matter of a variety of things which may even include the race of targeted customers. (Crack never spread much outside the Negro underclass. “Ice” – smokable methamphetamine – seems to be an Asian thing. Opioids seem to have more attraction for Whites than Negroes. The exact opposite is true of methamphetamines. ) And the level of anomie in the targeted population.

    (3) Drug epidemics have a natural course just like any other epidemic. Recruitment of new users becomes harder as word of a drug’s dangers becomes more widespread. Supplies become less available as the customer base becomes sparser and the profits of selling the drug less certain. Current users either die or slow down as they get older. Even notorious junkies like William Burroughs admitted to losing a taste for Heroin as they aged. Eventually the current epidemic becomes background noise as a new epidemic takes over.

    (4) All the policy prescriptions of sober experts and the programs implemented by panicked politicians have little effect on the natural course of these epidemics. On the other hand, however, experts and politicians always claim credit for ending the last epidemic even while ignoring the obvious beginnings of the next.

    (5) If it were possible to predict the next big illicit drug product it might be possible to stifle the next epidemic by extremely targeted enforcement and serious public relations and advertising campaigns. However, it’s hard to predict the next au courant drug. Will it be “bath salts”, another new psychedelic, an insanely addictive new synthetic? Who knows. I once predicted “ice” would be the next major scourge in the USA. It never got much past Hawaii.

    (6) A little coda: Believe it or not most people can use most drugs in moderation without getting addicted. I myself have occasionally used leftovers from a valid opioid prescription for recreational purposes. I don’t recommend this. One never knows until it’s too late whether the drug in question will be the one that will enslave a person such as one’s self. Opioids act directly on the CNS’s pleasure/reward centers. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve a permanent cure from an opioid addiction. We’ll have vestiges of the current opioid epidemic with us for at least another decade or two.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  49. @Agent76

    I’ve learned not to believe everything – or actually much – that I read from sources such as this. I’ve been working on and off in the field for quite a while now and these articles don’t comport with my experience. Anyway, in 1993, a ton of Cocaine was a literal drop in the bucket as far as the amount of Cocaine getting into the USA. Now the main supplies of opioids in the USA are relatively independent of Afghan supplies. You’re getting excited about third and fourth order effects.

  50. @Jus' Sayin'...

    Correction in (2) above: “The exact opposite is true of methamphetamines.” should have been “The exact same seems to be true of methamphetamines.”

    My apologies for not catching this immediately..

    • Replies: @JackOH
  51. JackOH says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    JS, thanks, I learned something.

    Two thoughts:

    (1) Someone should have listened to the CEWGs. Our local media, coroners, cops, and others are coping, but no one has spoken with anywhere close to the same specificity as you. My county coroner was flailing about only last year with non-specific “legacy of Woodstock” talk and such.

    (2) Rehab and rehab funding are hot in Ohio. One local guy who used to own a small reference lab has jumped into rehab, and he’s gone from about a dozen employees to more than 200, according to a newspaper account. My concerns are the usual stuff: (1) political grandstanding and credit-grabbing, (2) waste, fraud, abuse, (3) “gaming” of and “profiteering” from the issue.

    FWIW-my sister, a recently retired hospital lab manager, was a young NYC lab tech in a methadone pilot program back in the 1960s, and the success rates at that time were very low. Maybe that’s changed a little.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    , @donut
  52. @JackOH

    “…methadone pilot program back in the 1960s, and the success rates at that time were very low.”

    Just a quick discussion of Methadone treatment: Methadone is as addictive as any other opioid. It’s main advantages for users are that it works its way through the system rather slowly, it relieves the cravings for other opioids like Heroin, and the “high” it provides affects the ability to function far less than many other opioids. A Methadone user can hold down a job – at least some jobs – and become a productive member of society. The problem is that the patient is still addicted to an opioid. I haven’t kept up recently but there was an on-going debate over appropriate dosages and whether they should be lowered over time to wean addicts or raised to cope with increasing tolerance.

    Methadone treatment alone is not enough. It needs to be supplemented with counseling and measures to reintegrate the patient into society. Otherwise the one receiving his daily dose of Methadone remains a hapless addict sucking on the teat of the Methadone provider. In these cases it’s almost inevitable that the addict will return to his old life of more potent opioids and asocial behaviors.

    Even in the case of appropriate Methadone treatment, associations of other opioids, e.g., Heroin, with past pleasures are a constant problem for those in recovery. Opioids mess with the most fundamental internal incentive systems. The pleasures they provide are hard to forget or resist. Relapses are just about inevitable whether or not full recovery ever occurs. It’s best to think of addiction as a chronic, recurring disease that can be treated but not cured. If an addict spends his life in Methadone treatment. averaging one relapse per year, with an average relapse duration of one month the statistical picture looks bleak. But for the individual that’s still eleven months out of twelve that he’s a functioing member of society.

    BTW, that’s a totally made up example. I’m not suggesting that the actual programs are that effective. Truth is no one knows for sure. An awful lot of publicly funded substance abuse treatment is in fact a scam; the equivalent of bandages, provided at enormous cost to politically connected operators. Really effective treatment is for the most part only available to the wealthy or those with really, really good medical insurance. Even to locate such treatment programs requires a certain amount of insider knowledge and help.

    The current opioid epidemic will eventually subside by running its natural course. Current treatment programs, whether government-funded or private, will contribute negligibly to the final outcome.

    • Replies: @The Scalpel
  53. donut says:

    I worked at the VNS in NYC in the mid 90’s . During orientation one of our lectures was about rehab and Methadone programs . The instructor , an RN , told us that SWs and rehab people actively discourage junkies from weaning themselves from methadone . It would break their rice bowl .

    • Replies: @JackOH
  54. JackOH says:

    donut, I kept track of our indictments here for a few months, and about one-third were for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. No telling how many other crimes were drug-related: theft, robbery, prostitution, burglary, embezzlement, pimping, murder, assault, etc. A local policeman told me most crimes in the rural village he patrols are drug-related. I heard a statement in a documentary that drug laws make for easy collars by police. I suppose many cops quietly recognize that drug laws butter their bread.

    My instincts on drugs are pretty much libertarian, but, with the recent exception of marijuana, and the long-time regulated legality of alcohol and tobacco, we seem to not want to hear the case for regulated legalization of all drugs.

    • Replies: @donut
  55. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    It has been my experience that the majority of those in methadone programs simply use the methadone in addition to the other opiates they are already using. The programs are quite popular because they are pushed by the owners of the clinics who have a profit motive.

    Theoretically, the programs work as you described. In real life, they are just a source of free opiates for addicts who, after a short interval or no interval at all, continue their use of their favorite opiates now with methadone added to the mix

  56. donut says:

    I am all for legalizing drugs , all of them . But I would not agree to spend one penny of my money to treat a drug user , not medical care or rehab . That really is the quickest way I can think of to resolve that problem . To spend the public money on fighting drug abuse is as wasteful as pouring money into “inner city” schools . As for the police , the war on drugs has corrupted them . I am no libertarian , the Somalis are living the Libertarian dream from which they are fleeing in vast numbers . Unfortunately the prevailing philosophy is to divert nutrients from healthy and productive organs to malignant ones .

  57. tgordon says:

    Portraying the victims of the “class apartheid” referred to in this article as the perpetrators of “racial apartheid” via the “Racist” pejorative has been the Main Stream Media’s modus operandi for disregarding this epidemic. Uselessness (real or perceived) and despair go hand in hand.
    I’ve observed that the Compassion touted by the “correct” classes doesn’t extend to some of us out here in the sticks.

    • Replies: @epochehusserl
  58. jade says:

    lots of idiots here but you win the prize,

    do you understand acute pain sufferers can not even get out of bed?

    try talking yourself out of pain….geez you should be abandoned in the jungle

  59. @tgordon

    I’ve observed that the Compassion touted by the “correct” classes doesn’t extend to some of us out here in the sticks.
    As I stated before:

    Isn’t it fascinating that the same liberals who demanded federal action to help AIDS sufferers 10 years after homosexuality was decriminalized will not lift an inch to help the suffering white working class? A promiscuous sodomite is more worthy of compassion than a ‘deplorable’ or redneck.

  60. @Alden

    The overdose rate (per 100,000 Americans) has increased from 2.7 (1980) to 16.2 (2015). In raw numbers, there were 6,100 overdose-related deaths annually (1980). Last year, there were 52,000 deaths from overdoses.

    Non-Hispanic whites overdosed at more than twice the rate of non-whites.

    • Replies: @Sowhat
  61. Sowhat says:

    So what I glean from both the well written article and the subsequent comments is that:
    Government’s, all over the world and controlled largely by The Banking Industry and Big Business dollars are complicit in their efforts to maximize profits enriching the lives of a very small portion of the total population and, of course, continuing this status quo, at the expense of the masses below them, heartlessly murdering millions of innocent, hapless, less intelligent, less fortunate homosapiens. That, I gather, is survival of the fittest. So what? So man is no different than any other animal…just another cog in the wheel of Darwinien evolution. No one wants to hear that all of mankind will suffer because of these “transgressions” because their god is not a true god and I’ve always liked Bob’s lyrics, any way.

  62. Sowhat says:

    Putting that into perspective, the U.S. lost 56,000 men in Vietnam. Correct?

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