The epidemic of Opioid Overdose in the U.S.
Before we dive into this problem and the consequences, I would like to tell you a bit about the history of opium.
The story of the Papaver throughout history
Opium, also called poppy tears, is the dried latex obtained from the Papaver. There is archeological evidence that humans used these seeds for food, anesthetics, and rituals. The finds are from the Mediterranean region and date back to 5000 BCE.
There have been at least 17 finds of Papaver somniferum from Neolithic settlements. They found these settlements in Switzerland, Germany, and Spain.
They found evidence of the use of the poppy seed In a burial site in the Cueva de Los Murcielagos (Bat Cave) in Spain. The Greek and many more cultures (the Sumerian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, Minoan, Roman, Persian, and Arab Empires) used it regularly.
In those times it was the most potent form of pain relief. The first know poppy farm was in Mesopotamia, approximately 3400 BCE. The Sumerians called the plant Hul Gil, which means joy plant.
Akbar the Great Mogul lived from 1542 to 1605. He was the third and greatest of the Mughal emperors of India. It seems that this emperor had a liking for grapes, melons, and pomegranates. He would eat these fruits when drinking wine or opium. In 1580 he would alternate between arrack or palm wine, with a spiced infusion of opium. During these times, they encouraged the cultivation of poppy.
The Emperor Yongzheng
The first recorded edict against opium-smoking was issued in 1720 by the emperor Yongzheng. This emperor seems to have been quite despotic, but his reign was very efficient. He reigned from 1723 to 1735, and this period was peaceful and prosperous. He cracked down on corruption and reformed the financial administration.
What happens to a camel on drugs
Charles Masson (alias of James Lewis) was born in 1800. He was the first European to appreciate the archeological heritage of Afghanistan. In one of the stories of his travels, he tells about his conductor eating opium. This man would also give opium to his camel who for a while would run quite wild and not always on the path.
Opium overdose makes violent
Louis de Grandpre was a French army officer who traveled the Indian Ocean region in 1789-90. He observed that the natives of the peninsula of Malacca (Malaysia) were eating substantial quantities of opium, a substance they really liked. The Government had a group of guards who would patrol the streets during festivals.
Those who had taken an overdose would be prone to committing horrible crimes, often using a poniard (dagger) called Krist or Krick. They carry the Krick in a wooden sheath. It has a blade of half an inch broad and eight inches long, and has a serpentine form. On top of it, the blade was often poisoned. Being attacked, it meant certain death.
On seeing a madman running through the streets and attacking people, the guards would immediately kill him. This is probably where the expression Run Amok stems from.
The Opium War from 1839 to 1842
The first opium war was between the United Kingdom and the Qing dynasty of China. There were various reasons for this war, and trade was an important one.
The enormous demand in Europe for silk, porcelain, and tea in the 17th and 18th centuries created a recipe for an imbalance between the 2 countries. Add to this the problem of diplomatic relations and the different views on the administration of justice in China.
Opium use in the American Civil War was widespread (1860-1865)
15 Years before the civil war started, they recorded the use of anesthesia. In most cases, it was chloroform or ether which was used during amputations. Some 30.000 amputations were performed during this war, and only 75% of the soldiers survived this kind of surgery.
A doctor might have barely 10 minutes to perform this amputation. Later on, to combat the pain, soldiers would become addicted to opium.
The opium trick for crying babies
Mrs. Mary Hume-Griffith was the wife of Dr Albert Hume-Griffith, who was a British medical missionary. From 1900 to 1908 they worked and lived in Persia (Iran) and in the Turkish province of Mosul (in present-day northern Iraq). While her husband was working, she would spend a lot of time with the women who lived in the Andarun (women’s quarters). She found out that it was common practice to give crying babies a little of opium to suck on.
The Hague Convention on drug control
The first global attempt to control the traffic in opium and related drugs like morphine, heroin, and cocaine occurred via the Hague Convention in 1912. 42 nations signed it. The agreement was on drugs, which needed to be imported as they were necessary for medical or scientific purposes. They could not implement the convention as the first World War broke out.
Happenings in the Dutch East Indies
By the year 1913, the import of opium to the Indonesian archipelago was forbidden. In theory, consumption was not allowed without a special license (these were normally not issued to natives).
Still, there were a few towns in the Dutch East Indies where the smoking of opium was permitted. During that time, there was a powerful movement in Holland to abolish the opium traffic completely. Some argued if opium was not available, then something else would take its place like alcohol or other substitutes.
There was once an incident when 25.000 Chinese coolies who were working in the tin mines in Bangka (an island lying east of Sumatra) went on strike as the Government forbade the importation of opium. Only after the ban was lifted, the work started again.
Bangka Island is linked to a sad story from the second World War.
These are just some little tit-bits of the history on poppy. Later on, a method of injecting directly into the veins was invented, and that promoted the development of morphine and other derivatives of opium.
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The opioid epidemic
Nowadays we are suffering an opioid epidemic. I think this is the time to define what is an opiate and what is an opioid. According to Casa Palmera, “there are three classifications of opiates…”. Naturally occurring opium and its derivatives including morphine, partially synthetic derivatives of morphine (called opioids) such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.
Then, finally, the third type, fully synthetic compounds like Fentanyl, Alfentanil, Levorphanol, Meperidine, Methadone, Codeine, and Propoxyphene.
Until modern times, we have witnessed the positive benefits and the negative problems with natural opium and its natural products. However, natural things cannot be patented, and that is where synthetic (fully or partially) opioids come in. Big Pharma can patent synthetic opioids and make a very large profit.
Especially if the natural derivatives of opium are strictly controlled. It appears that a prescription for an opioid can be easily obtained, so synthetic opioids are flooding the streets with devastating results. It is hard to comprehend that over 100 people die each day of opioid overdoses and 40% is from prescribed painkillers? The problem with these painkillers is that they are just as addictive as their natural counterpart.
It is curious that we prescribe methadone (a synthetic opium-mimicking chemical) to help overcome heroin addiction. Both natural opium and synthetic opioids are highly addictive. The industry has as the primary goal to earn money, even if your health goes down the drain.
The statistics do not lie. In 2010, around 25.000 people died from overdoses and the numbers in 2017 were almost double, 47.600 died accidentally from an overdose.
The dangers of an overdose
It turns out that in America, one is more likely to die of an opioid overdose than from a car accident. The sad thing is that we can link this to the huge marketing efforts of Big Pharma.
In the year 2011, the NPR published an article about the addiction of Oxycodone. This is one of the most prescribed opioids in the United States. You might not believe this, but it seems that in Florida, doctors prescribe this drug 10 times more than in the rest of the country.
Over the past 10 years, a West Virginia town which only has a little over 3.000 inhabitants was flooded with an unbelievable 21.000.000 units of this drug. That number means 6.500 pills per resident. I could hardly believe it when I read this. Amazing these poor people are still alive.
This is a video from 23 November 2017. It explains what happens to your brain when on opioids.
Another amazing thing is that life expectancy has declined in recent years and that is directly related to a spike in preventable death, like overdoses. One really should ask, how come we get our lives shortened while healthcare is so much better?
This whole thing is not the fault of shady drug dealers, it is the licensed physicians who write these harmful prescriptions to their patients. Here comes more alarming data. From 2008 to 2012, doctors wrote over 80 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Americans. While Big Pharma is filling their pockets, our health is in decline.
Let’s put it this way. Doctors are being brainwashed and bribed by pharmaceutical companies. Recently there was the story of an orthopedic surgeon who received nearly $2.000.000 from companies who manufacture hip and knee replacements. I can imagine this surgeon was operating day and night. Here one also has to ask the question were all these replacements really necessary?
Doctors are not always up to date, so when they are told a drug like OxyContin is safe, they will prescribe it. They do not know there is overwhelming scientific evidence which proves the contrary.
Last month they published a new study in JAMA Network Open. The researchers found that there is a direct link between the marketing of opioid products to the physicians and an increase of prescriptions which result in elevated mortality from overdoses.
Between 2013 and 2015, 1 in 12 doctors received opioid-related marketing. Talking about your family doctor, some 20% received opioid marketing. Just recently, March 2019, a severe case has been discovered. Read it here.
Medical healthcare has advanced a lot these last hundred years. Ailments which were impossible to heal in old times can now be healed. Many marvelous new operating procedures have been invented, so actually, all should be OK. Well, it is not OK.
Behind the scenes, they have made many unsavory deals. Big Pharma and the FDA go hand in hand. The FDA has approved and allowed certain medicines to go to market, which have so many side effects that you might just recover from the original ailment to suffer numerous new ones.
Recently, I have come across the following article. It proves that overdose is possible, especially when you have doctors like one of the article. I find this hair-raising, to say the least. Please read this.
This means you remain a lifelong client of medicine (just what Big Pharma wants). Natural healing methods using what Mother Earth offers us are not allowed, as they cannot patent it. We all would be a lot healthier changing our lifestyle and diet.
Nature offers many plant-derived solutions for pain, lack of sleep, and many more ailments the modern human suffers from. One of them is CBD oil which I have used myself and also gave it to my dog.
I have made a special page for you. It holds a collection of things you might find interesting. Before you leave, have a look at Recommendations.
Source: World Library, Wikipedia, Ty Bollinger, his newsletter of January,29,2019
Photo Source: Pixabay
Modern medicine has a lot of good things, but you still need to be well informed before consenting to any treatment. Perhaps you are interested to read the following post.
A very interesting article. The statistics about opioid prescriptions in Florida and West Virginia are startling alone. You present an interesting history of opioids. I never knew where the phrase ‘run amok’ came from. And I am shocked that opium was recommended for crying babies. As you conclude, we would all be a lot healthier just changing our lifestyles and diets.
Good afternoon Rob,
The modern human is brainwashed in accepting the wrong lifestyle and in eating the wrong foods. Advertisement lures us into thinking we have to eat or act in a certain way even if this is dangerous for our health. Take Coca Cola or Mc Donalds, those are good examples. Add some GMO, pesticides, and radiation it is no wonder we are sick. I believe it is to keep us running to the doctor, the whole system is set up as a money making machine and we are the stupid victims.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Great article about Opioid epidemic. I personally like what you have written in the “Afterthought” caption. Yes, FDA has approved lots of medicine with side effects. So, why we are not allowed to try something which our nature earth has given us naturally? And, I’ve found you are talking about CBD oil there. So, can you explain to me what is CBD oil?
Good afternoon Deraj,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
There is a big opposition by Big Pharma/FDA to natural remedies, CBD oil included. I will forward a link to a page on Cannabis, there I hope your question will be answered.
Opium us a drug that has been used from way back. I’m really surprised to know this. It’s really sad that addiction to this kind of drugs are becoming rampant especially with the stress and rate of depression. Such drugs ought to be recommended under strick medical supervision to prevent overdose.
However, it’s always preferable to go natural with products like CBD oil. With little or no side effects, more people should try this as an alternative.
Good afternoon Louis,
I fully agree with you, nature provides for all we need. If we should stop eating all these bad man-made foods our health would improve considerably. Then there will be hardly ever a need for drugs.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Wow, I so have enjoyed reading your article on the danger of prescription drugs and I am with you on that 100%.
I am actually glad that I am not alone with my view on this subject matter. I live in Canada and here too we have a huge opioid crisis which the peak it had, so far, in 2017. The main provinces who had to deal the most with this crisis were Britsh Columbia and Ontario, where I live.
I am also not very fond of medical professionals because of the fact they are more concerned about making money (nothing wrong in general, we all do) than actually helping their patients to heal. It is also up to us to say No, being more responsible that way and do our own due diligence. However, many people are just blind to follow, he/she is a doctor they must know better.
No, they don’t, not always anyway. I remember many years ago I needed two teeth pulled because of the infection was too deep in my yaws. I agreed, then, to take some antibiotics but the dentist also wanted me to take some Tylenol3. Believe me when I say that I had a hard time to make him realize that I don’t want them. I am fine with the “over the counter” pills I have at home.
You know, I also have some “darker” thoughts on this matter which results in this one question, What if this is planned that way all along? It certainly doesn’t need any “war”, if taking care of overpopulation can be handled that way.
Again, just a dark thought of mine but it certainly doesn’t smell o.k.
Thanks for this article, have saved it too.
Good afternoon Sylvia,
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
You are right, this world is not ok. I share your dark thought as I am convinced it is a setup. The sicker we are the more money is made. The evidence is there for all to see but in general, people rather look the other way and follow given indications instead of using their grey cells.
I have my websites now for 2 years and the more I investigate the worse it gets.
I will forward a WA post and what I write about to me is the last drop. Sanity is flying out of the window.
While I enjoyed your history of opium use, I have to disagree with you about prescriptions being the dominant factor in opioid deaths. Where do many of our lifesaving drugs come from? Plants trees and grasses. Cocaine comes from the coca plant. It was/is used by natives to give them energy on long walks. It’s numbing effects make it possible to have teeth pulled or cavities filled. How about modern day anesthesia? Would you like to be operated on without it?
The over selling of opioids in Florida and West Virginia are not because of people who are in need of pain relief. It is the drug addict who creates the market. Before I had my back operation, I had pain management doctors offer me Oxycontin, Fentanyl and Opana (Oxymorphone). I turned them down and stayed with my normal dose of Oxycodone.
In the West Virginia case, it wasn’t the locals who were buying the opioids, it were addicts. Your article puts the blame on the wrong people.
My doctor has on my patient chart that I doctor shopped for oxycodone. I finally told him that I had been cut off cold turkey from pain meds and the meds I was given were like taking aspirin. He said he was unaware of this. I tried to get an appointment to see a different pain doctor, but was told that he isn’t prescribing any pain meds. Just procedures. I have had those procedures and none have worked.
What’s my next option?Another operation that costs thousands of dollars more than stem cell injections?
I( want to know what my neuro surgeon did that caused my right leg to be numb and squeezing so tight that I feel as though I am suffocating. I take a pain med mostly when I leave my house because
my back is so weak that I almost bend over in a 90 degree angle. I’ll have to find the URL for that article I read about the doctor who has such a debilitating disease that she had to quit her practice. Also the 38 comments that were given.
I think you need more research on those who suffer from very serious pain and how they take their pain meds responsibly.
Good afternoon Chuck,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my post. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF.
I still believe that prescription opioids create an addiction. To be too long on drugs without an alternative does just that. Modern medicine does not go to the root cause of a problem it prescribes something for the symptoms.
In old China, one would pay the house doctor while remaining healthy. On getting sick the payment would stop. It is obvious that the doctor would do his utmost best so his patients remained healthy. Here it just the other way around, the sicker the nation the more money is made.
I wrote this post with information of Ty Bollinger who I am following for some years now. He goes out into the world to find alternatives to the standard procedure of chemotherapy and chemical medicines. I tried to put the focus on the fact that it is Big Pharma who want to sell their pills. They push doctors to prescribe these pills. And after a longer period of taking these pills, the patient becomes addicted to them.
I am very sorry to hear about this unsuccessful operation and I would really ask this neurosurgeon to check why you hurt so much. I would try CBD oil as it helps many people with pain management. You might also want to look into visiting an acupuncturist, if it does not help at least it will not harm you. I would definitely give it a try.
My post is not against the people who take their pain meds responsibly, my post is against the marketing strategy of Big Pharma which is far from being responsable, the sicker you are the better for them.
I am sending you the link to another page, please have a look.
This is a very interesting and educative article about The epidemic of Opioid Overdose in the U.S. Opium us a drug that has been used from way back. I’m really so surprised to know this. It’s really sad that addiction to this kind of drug is becoming rampant especially with the stress and rate of depression. I know that the FDA has approved lots of medicine with side effects. So, why we are not allowed to try something which our natural earth has given us naturally? And, I’ve found you are talking about CBD oil there. So, can you explain to me what is CBD oil?
Thanks for writing such an interesting and educative article.
Good Morning Khobayer,
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
I find it sad that natural ways of treating illnesses are not allowed or very little. Mother nature provides for all our needs. Big Pharma cannot earn money with natural things so they produce, often harmful, chemical medicine as there big money can be made. The health of people is not important. Money rules the world.
You asked about CBD oil. I am forwarding an article on Cannabis where you will find the answer.
Interesting history lesson, the need for strong pain relief in modern medicine can’t be underestimated, I think the real problem is that since the early 2000s the medical community has become liberal in writing prescriptions for the new, incredibly strong synthetic opioids for pain management that does not require that level of drug.
With the increased number of prescriptions, there is a higher level of abuse, I think the only way to overcome this is for doctors to prescribe fewer opioids or at least one of lower strength and to prohibit the marketing of these drugs by “Big Pharma” directly to doctors. At the end of the day, it is in their interest to promote these drugs for as many ailments as possible so this is where the FDA needs to step in. Sadly with the amount of money and influence involved it seems unlikely any of these steps will be taken.
Thanks again for the thoughtful article.
Good Morning Dominic,
Personally, I think it would be better to try and find the root cause of all this “pain”. Our society is not healthy. The strange thing is that with our advanced medical care in most Western countries the people are not healthier, they are sicker.
Our unhealthy lifestyle and man-made foods are mainly to blame. All the toxins, additives, GMOs, and radiation have made the modern human a sick and weak person. I am afraid the FDA also rules against natural things and promotes chemical medicine. One needs to be well informed so the choices one makes are the right ones.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Thank you for this very informative article about Opioid epidemic. I totally enjoyed reading your article and found it really interesting since I didn’t have much knowledge about that topic before. Medicines do truly come from the usage of drugs in a certain scientific way and I find it pretty logical how overdosing it can be lethal, even drinking too much water can be lethal.
I do think that we should be careful about the overdose situation that everyone is starting to let in their lifestyle without knowing the dangerous side of it.
Finally, I thought it was really interesting knowing how camels reacted the Opium, and how it was even used on babies!
Do you think one day the drugs could be our cure to cancer?
Good Morning Georgio,
Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
People should be informed about these things as it is their health. I think that too often we only rely on medical advice without ever questioning what the doctor tells us and what kind of pills he likes us to take. We are the first to be responsible for our body and health.
Cancer is a consequence of a chronic inflammation which is caused by our unhealthy lifestyle. Let us take a car as an example. No care and bad petrol and oil your car will break down. The same is valid for the human body. If you feed it crap, breathe dirty air and drink polluted water your body will get sick.
The healthier = cleaner your system is the less likely you will get cancer, 95% is in our hands. Any type of miraculous new pill will be useless if you do not take care of your body.
Hi, Great article about Opioid epidemic. I so have enjoyed reading your article on the danger of prescription drugs and I am with you on that 100%. I am actually glad that I am not alone with my view on this subject matter. You present an interesting history of opioids. I never knew where the phrase ‘run amok’ came from. And I am shocked that opium was recommended for crying babies. I personally like what you have written in the “Afterthought” caption. Yes, FDA has approved lots of medicine with side effects. So, why we are not allowed to try something which our natural earth has given us naturally? And, I’ve found you are talking about CBD oil there. So, can you explain to me what is CBD oil? We would all be a lot healthier just changing our lifestyles and diets.
It would be very much appreciated! Thanks to you I am sharing your post to my friends.
Good Morning Nasrin,
It might be shocking to have given babies a little opium so they would stop crying but do not think that nowadays it is much better. Baby monitors next to a small baby’s head emit radiation = very bad. Then we have smart diapers, that gadget also emits radiation 24/7.If I could choose I would go for a little opium now and then.
I am no friends of Big Pharma, FDA, EPA, and big agroindustry. When I investigate for my websites I come across horrible things which have made me lose my trust in them completely.
You ask about CBD oil, I will forward you another article where you get some more information.https://healthyantiagingalternatives.com/the-health-benefits-of-cannabis
Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?
Very informative and educational article. I never knew the history of Opioids and it is really good to understand where it came from, therefore to understand why it still stirs today. Big Pharma will never inform us of the natural things, as you said, they can’t patent it.
With posts like this one, we can better arm ourselves with the knowledge of what is good and what is bad. Thanks a lot for this thorough blog.
Good Morning Jasmay,
Good to hear you enjoyed my article. If possible, I always like to include a bit of history. Opioids have been with us for so long and depending of the rules and regulations it was allowed or not.
What is sad that nowadays so many people are victims of these prescribed drugs. It is much better to stay away from them as much as possible. Am happy I am living drug free. But I live a healthy life, eat nutritious food, and take quite a few supplements.
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