The opioid epidemic is addressed in the media as if both doctors and patients are unaware of how harmful opioid pain relievers like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet are. Use of these substances has suddenly “exploded” (media term) in recent years with no sensible causes put forth for the sudden increase.
After all, these drugs have been around for a good while and their abuse is suddenly out of control as if people have suddenly forgotten how to avoid doing things that cause physical pain. It’s not as if there is a sudden dearth of modalities for physical pain relief or management. A host of specialized pain management centers have been around for about 50 years now. Once ostracized pain relief modalities have been gradually accepted as effective such as chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, yoga, herbal treatments, physical therapy, and a host of “holistic” modalities are being employed.
Unfortunately, the pain being experienced is not so much physical as emotional and stress related (more like anguish). The opioid problem is primarily one associated with Whites, and lower and middle class Whites at that, which leads us to the crux of the problem. The lower and middle class Whites are the groups most shunted, left behind, and disrespected in our “politically correct” society. They are the ones most affected by the loss of manufacturing and technical jobs as whole industries and large companies have moved offshore.
Domestically, Whites, including recent college grads, have had no increases in jobs in many years since all the new jobs have gone to immigrants, and to a lesser extent domestic non-Whites through affirmative action and diversity policies. Disillusionment, disappointment, and mental/emotional anguish then are the primary root causes of the opioid epidemic.
The areas most affected by the opioid crisis are the Appalachian region and the “heartland” areas characterized by rural areas and small towns embedded within or adjacent to the farm areas. These are largely White “blue-collar” and White lower middle-class areas that have never caught up to the rest of the U.S. economically to start with, especially in the South.
Many of these areas have been decimated by the drastic decline of the manufacturing base, which used to provide steady, decent-paying jobs, many providing for pensions for longevity on the job which have now been lost as the larger companies absconded or the smaller ones were absorbed by larger entities.
Some of these geographical areas are almost literally ghost towns or shells of their former selves. These are bleak reminders of what once was and are very depressing psychologically to the remaining population who don’t want to move or don’t know what to do with themselves, and so seek solace in drugs.
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