This article is a beautifully written insight into the horrors of the opioid crisis in West Virginia.
I think that this quote really hits the nail on the head:
Around the same time organized-labor laws were weakened, a company called Purdue Pharma ‘invented’ OxyContin, which meant taking a powerful opioid analgesic, giving it a slow-release coating that could be circumvented easily, concealing its potential for abuse, and marketing it aggressively to working-class communities increasingly unable to afford preventative medical treatment for chronic pain.
I hurt my back boxing and was lucky enough to be able to see physio’s, doctors and then undertake a regime of Pilates and swimming to repair the damage, but it took a long time and wasn’t cheap. I can see why in communities where there isn’t access to preventative health care, pain pills could become so attractive.
Another thing that seems to perverse to me is that these drugs can be so heavily marketed and advertised directly to consumers. There seem to be some real structural issues that need addressing. The article is littered with heartbreaking sentences like “time spent sick became time unpaid” that paint a picture of the dire situation people are in.
Capitalism might be about destruction, but it seems like we could and should be doing a lot more to help those whose industries, towns and livelihoods get destroyed.