“Powerful Painkillers” Make Cover of Time Magazine
In a recent issue of TIME magazine, the prescription drug addiction epidemic takes center stage.
Massimo Calabresi takes readers on a tour de force of the issues surrounding prescription drug addiction in America, including an in-depth look at the regulatory process, the strategies employed by drug companies to skirt or influence these regulatory processes, and an intimate look at the way the epidemic is affecting one rural community in the midwest.
Calabresi begins by looking at a peculiar phenomenon in a rural county outside of Lexington, Kentucky: an outbreak of HIV. This outbreak is just one of the symptoms of a growing addiction to opioids nationwide. As more and more people become hooked on powerful prescription painkillers, more and more are forced to turn to heroine when the money or access to painkillers runs out, often choosing to inject the drug with shared needles, which carries an increased risk of HIV.
In other cases, needle usage is the result of so called “abuse resistant” varieties of prescription drugs, developed by drug companies as a way of appeasing the FDA, according to the article. The pills include a coating that make them hard to chop and snort. Rather than actually curbing abuse of the drug, it has led more people to melt down the pills and inject them.
Throughout the rest of the article, Calabresi dives into the history of prescription painkillers, profiles of the major drug companies involved and the various regulatory decisions that have been made over the years by the FDA, often with fatal consequences for tens of thousands of Americans.
The article was an important expose of a cultural catastrophe, the effects of which can be seen in every community in America. To read the article in full, click here (payment required).