Dear Editor: In response to Joe Heller’s cartoon about opioids (April 23), kudos!
The pharmaceutical industry is trying desperately to change the image of these profitable drugs. Some readers may have noticed the cute “opioid snail” on television and on bus stops in the city. The industry is trying to change the truth of these addictive and deadly drugs to make it seem like the only side effect is constipation. Nothing is further from the truth. I know this first hand, as my brother died from an overdose of these drugs at the age of 23.
We, as informed consumers, cannot let big pharmaceutical companies fool us into believing that these drugs are safe and common. Drugs like Oxycodone were originally intended to regulate the pain in cancer patients whose pain was unendurable.
Much like the character of Mrs. DuBose in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” people understood the need for people dying in a painful manner to regulate their pain so as to reclaim some of their peace and dignity at the end. These drugs, however, are now prescribed for back pain and other common ailments. Rather than teach patients to mitigate pain, the medical industry is medicating the control of pain to its great profit.
Recently, the FDA added new warnings about the risk of addiction and overdose while using these drugs. In response, the medical industry tells us to worry about our bowels, not our lives. The public is being misinformed about the use and deadliness of these drugs.