During the 1970s, heroin addicts littered the streets of most major metropolitan cities–New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Fransisco–but it was expensive and often hard to find. In addition,the establishment of methadone clinics helped thousands of heroin addicts stay clean as the “drug of choice” switched from heroin to cocaine in the 1980s.
Thirty years later, heroin has returned with a vengeance in both urban and rural areas as the primary culprit behind drug overdoses and deaths. But why heroin and why now?
The City of Chicago v. Big Pharma
Five of the biggest pharmaceutical companies were slapped with a 120-page complaint filed in Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court recently that claims they “overstated the benefits of opioid painkillers for treating common pains and downplayed the risk of addiction, overdose and death” (www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/03/us-usa-drugs-lawsuit-idUSKBN0EE23J20140603).
A press released published on the City of Chicago’s official website contains Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s official statement regarding the lawsuit:
“For years, big pharma has deceived the public about the true risks and benefits of highly potent and highly addictive painkillers in order to expand their customer base and increase their bottom line. This has led to a dramatic rise in drug addiction, overdose and diversion in communities across the nation, and Chicago is not immune to this epidemic. Today, we’re saying enough is enough–it’s time for these companies to end these irresponsible practices and be held accountable for their deceptive actions” (http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2014/may/city-of-chicago-sues-big-pharma-for-deceptively-marketing-highly.html).
Lawyers working for a Washington, D.C. firm called Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll are representing Chicago and claim that pharmaceutical companies manufacturing narcotic analgesics such as Percocet, Hydrocodone and Oxycontin, have cost the city of Chicago over $10 mlllion. Expenditures incurred from the city’s heroin epidemic include unpaid emergency room visits, counseling services, recovery programs and other events associated with heroin addiction and criminal activity surrounding street drug culture.
Defendants named in the case are Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson), Actavis, Purdue Pharma and Endo Health Solutions, Inc. All five of these companies manufacture and sell narcotic analgesics that are highly addictive. Moreover, by targeting the same brain receptors that heroin targets and producing similar physical and emotional effects, people who find their painkillers suddenly taken away because their doctor no longer prescribes the medication quickly discover that heroin gives them the same “high” that prescription painkillers provide.
Purdue Pharma and OxyContin
One of the pharmaceutical companies named in the lawsuit–Purdue Pharma–had already been sued once by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2007, after the dangers of OxyContin (made by Purdue) became evident after thousands of people became addicted, overdosed or died from abusing OxyContin, the USDJ won their case against Purdue, forcing them to pay over $600 million to settle civil and criminal charges. Allegations that Purdue mislead physicians, regulators and patients regarding OxyContin’s potential for abuse and addiction were substantiated in court and forced Purdue to reissue an “improved” version of OxyContin that supposedly made it harder for people to abuse the drug (www.allgov.com/news/controversies/chicago-sues-drug-companies-over-painkiller-marketing-140610?news=853367).
City of Chicago v. Purdue Pharma et al, Cook County Circuit Court
Chicago’s lawsuit against Purdue et al includes the following allegations:
“Defendants knowingly and voluntarily engaged in a scheme to promote the widespread use of opioids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain directly through their own publications and employees, and indirectly, through seemingly independent thought-leaders,advocacy groups, and professional societies, by making, funding, suggesting, editing, approving,and distributing untrue, false, and misleading statements and representations to doctors and patients” (http://www.fdanews.com/ext/resources/files/06/06-03-14-Chicago.pdf)
Purdue Pharma lost once already in court for pushing dangerous painkillers into the marketplace and attorneys representing Chicago are no doubt certain they will win this case against the unethical practice of “profit over people”.
The Cost of Addiction
What big pharmas do to make billions of dollars from selling addictive painkillers to physicians and the public is perform half-hearted clinical studies on these drugs, alter statistical information to make their drugs appear safe and effective and get the FDA to approve the drugs. However, near-bankrupt cities like Chicago cannot handle the costs involved with rampant addiction–violent crime, homeless addicts, recovery programs paid for by the state and unpaid emergency room visits. And they are starting to fight back against legal drugs that inflict the same kind of physical and emotional damage caused by illegal drugs.
Non-Addictive, Organic Kratom Provides Natural Pain Relief
Kratom has been used for centuries by indigneous people living in southeast Asia for relieving pain, increasing energy levels, improving mental alertness, soothing anxiety and easing symptoms of depression. Containing rich amounts of phytochemicals and anxiodants that act like analgesics but do not have the narcotic qualities found in presciption pain killers, Kratom capsules and Kratom powder (used to make tea) are rapidly being discovered by people who want pain relief but do not want use addictive, harmful drugs made by deceptive pharmaceutical companies. In addition, you can buy Kratom wholesale as an effective, affordable and more importantly, safe alternative to painkillers that are now considered by addiction psychiatrists, physicians and even some FDA officials as gateway drugs to heroin.