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Focus on U.S. opioids, drug crisis

Focus on U.S. opioids, drug crisis

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By Mike Wilcox

Publisher

Now the Mueller Report is in and collusion and obstruction haven’t been found, I hope as a nation we can start dealing with more important issues like opioids, health care, cost of prescriptions and immigration.

It starts with our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and the legacy press in New York City. Can they stop the Trump hate bandwagon, accept Mueller’s findings and move on to what most people in this great nation care about: the aforementioned issues that affect our day-to-day living and pocketbooks?

As the eternal optimist I think they can. It should not be difficult to tackle the opioid crisis in a bipartisan way. It is far more important to stop the illegal flow of painkillers than to hold a redundant committee hearing on whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

There are far greater threats than Russian interference in our elections. I give you five letters: C,H,I,N,A. While we have directed all our attention to Russia, China has quietly infiltrated all parts of our democratic society. Pay attention, Congress. China is a much larger threat than Russia.

Back to the seven-letter word: OPIOIDS. We are dying from within from these unnecessary, highly-addictive drugs that have infiltrated the marketplace thanks to Big Pharma and unscrupulous doctors who peddle them.

Swallow these statistics from the Center for Disease Control and the United States Department of Health and Human Services:

  • In 2016, health care providers across the U.S. wrote more than 214 million prescriptions for opioid pain medications, a rate of 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people.
  • More than 11 million people abused prescription opioids in 2016.
  • Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
  • Drug overdoses claimed nearly 64,000 American lives in 2016. Two-thirds of these deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
  • The CDC estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. at $78.5 billion a year.

How about a simple three-letter word: WOW? That’s why we need to demand solutions from our peers in the legislature. Demand that they put Big Pharma and health care providers under as big a microscope as they did Trump and the Russian collusion hoax. Demand accountability from these humungous companies that started the crisis and arrest their CEOs if they don’t come to the table with solutions.

And while they’re investigating opioids, let’s take a look at prescription prices. This columnist, with many others, challenged makers of the EpiPen to drop their 700-percent profit margin. It was a big fuss a few years back, but the EpiPen is still outrageously expensive. Eleven of twelve of the most recently approved cancer treatments by the Food and Drug Administration are priced at more than $100,000 a year. Most people can’t afford to treat cancer and that’s a shame, because the cost to manufacture the treatment is pennies on the dollar.

As a libertarian, I hate to suggest that the government get involved in anything, but when it comes to opioids and the high cost of pharmaceuticals, our elected officials must step in and demand Big Pharma drop their pricing and put an end to painkiller abuse.

To me these issues are far more important than endless investigations into Trump and his 2016 campaign.