The opioid crisis became personal for Tom Coleman when he took his elderly mother to see a new doctor. On reviewing her list of current medication the doctor expressed alarm at the number of high dosage potent drugs she was taking. Coleman was motivated by this experience to learn more about the opioid crisis.
Coleman is a graduate of Washburn University and a retired federal contracting officer, working primarily on military construction projects. He decided to apply his skills to researching the problem. What he learned was appalling: in 2016 there were 53,000 overdose deaths due to opioids, and the price tag on misuse had reached eighty billion dollars.
The trouble started when opioid use for cancer patients was expanded to treat any kind of chronic pain. Unprecedented advertising and financial incentives to regulators and doctors drove opioid prescription rates to increase ten times in the next decade. The Sackler family and Purdue Pharma were making billions. They lied about the threat of addiction and served up deceptive studies and research to increase sales. Opioids proved to be highly addictive and subject to serious abuse. Some users crushed pills and snorted them, others turned to heroin.
Meanwhile, the Sackler family made huge gifts to museums, universities and other entities. A pattern of nefarious actions on their part have now been exposed and state governments are suing to recover damages incurred by the crisis.
Unfortunately, while many pill mills have been shut down and unscrupulous doctors have been put out of business, the abuse and damages continue. Tom Coleman urges every one to be informed consumers when the seek relief for pain.