• Drug companies brought on scourge
    May 08,2014
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    After watching the film “The Hungry Heart” Wednesday evening at Otter Valley High School, I came away feeling as hopeless and helpless about the opiate addiction in Vermont as the addicts in the film. I am outraged that the prescription drug industry has developed highly addictive drugs without adequate medical oversight and the industry also cashes in on subsequent methadone and suboxone treatments. The drug industry preys on unborn children, innocent youth, young adults and working people.

    Watching the film and listening to the guests who participated in the film/discussion afterward tapped into my own family experience during which prescription drug use turned into heroin abuse.

    My grandson lost his mother to a drug overdose when he was 9 years old. She was a beautiful young woman who could never recover and live a normal life even after many attempts in rehab treatment. She was addicted to oxycodone and heroin, and she had two other children born addicted and she was unable to care for them.

    I have members of my family who are in recovery and take suboxone daily to beat off the cravings. They have good jobs and are able to pay for their own health care. It is a struggle for them every day.

    All of the people close to me who fight this opiate addiction are burdened with emotional and financial pain for years to come. They could have never seen it coming. All of a sudden the pain reduction turned into an uncontrollable addiction. They needed the drug just to feel normal. My family continues to pay the pharmaceutical industry for its daily dose of suboxone.

    I live in Rutland’s Northwest neighborhood, and I see the suffering everyday. I see drug dealers and I report them. I pick up drug paraphernalia from the street.

    I try to be supportive by attending meetings and listening to others talk about how to solve the drug problem. I haven’t met one person who doesn’t want to help make this a better place to live.

    We all care about our neighbors and want the safest place for our families, but we can’t have a healthy community until the drug industry is held accountable for the reckless consequences of the successful marketing of its pain products. The drug industry has created this opiate epidemic in Rutland. The drug industry needs to pay for rehab treatment of its customers. They need to pay for as many rehab treatment facilities as it takes to educate and heal the people it has addicted. The drug industry is the only winner in this war against drugs because it supplies the drugs. The drug companies are legally and morally culpable for this epidemic. They have a moral responsibility to the people whose lives they have disrupted and sidelined.

    I am a retired Vermont teacher. I am concerned that our young people and their families are not given a chance at a healthy and happy life because the addiction has changed the chemistry in their brain so much that pleasure can only be associated with the pain-relief medication. The pleasure elicited by the pain medication is so strong that it is difficult to eradicate, and even years after abstinence, there are triggers that may cause the person to relapse. To be burdened at a young age with addictions and lifelong struggles of recovery is tragic. Just saying “no” to drugs is not acceptable. The perpetuator of this human bondage for profit has the responsibility to pay for the drug addiction treatment because the health insurance industry won’t pay for it, and the drug industry created the problem.

    I am a mother against drug companies profiting from my children’s addiction.

    Marilyn Griffith is a resident of Rutland.
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