The selling of OxyContin

From: The National Post (thanks to Liz for passing this along)

It was a pleasant, informative break from the grind for a crowd of local doctors: lunch and a series of lectures at Vancouver’s chic Four Seasons Hotel, all presented free by Purdue Pharma, which had just rolled out a new pain drug called OxyContin.

The specialists Purdue paid to speak at the 1997 forum, including Toronto’s Dr. Brian Goldman, who now hosts a popular CBC-Radio show, encouraged doctors to overcome fear of such “opioid” medicines and consider them even for patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

Similar, Purdue-sponsored talks were held across the country in the following months and years, while sales reps fanned out to visit family doctors and others, promoting the drug’s continuous-release convenience and its supposedly low potential for abuse

Read the rest here.

Government primate centers

Living out of cramped hotel rooms and having limited access to a laptop while on my vacation (current stop Vancouver, home of the homeless and the urban grocery cart), I am itching to blog again. It’ll have to be short and to the point, so ……

Here’s a great article by Martha Rosenberg about the marketing of the dual diagnosis, entitled Out of New Diseases and Blank Checks from Insurers, Pharma Targets Alcoholics.

Pharma is mongering the “dual diagnosis” of alcoholics and addicts–they have both an addiction and a psychiatric illne$$ –with so much unbranded advertising and Madison Avenue spin, nationally known major rehab centers are telling their patients they have “co-occurring disorders,” in a repudiation of basic recovery theory.

Schizophrenia, too, as metaphor

We used to see drunks, now we see drinking problems. Are we ready for another new view? What would happen in homes, jails and hospitals if we started treating drug and alcohol abusers as highly evolved spiritual creatures. Like the disguised Princess in the story the Princess and Pea, perhaps these people are the sensitive ones whose “dis-ease” mirrors for all of us the pain we feel when we are emotionally separated from each other and spiritually separated from our Creator.

…We know that if we do battle against drugs and alcohol we are simply attacking the messenger without attending to the message it carries.

What is the message in the metaphor? The message is that alcoholism is a gift . . . to individuals, to society and to the planet. It is a way to get spiritual. The world is becoming aware that political and economic policies have not given us solutions to the ills of the world. The healing must take place in attitude. We must change our minds if we are to change the world. The next evolutionary leap is towards higher consciousness. If we are to survive as a species, we must begin to see our oneness.

The foregoing was written by Jaqueline Castine in 1989. Recovery from Rescuing is dedicated to her children, in one of the most unusual dedications on record:

“At great personal cost and inconvenience to themselves they lovingly, purposefully and persistently dedicated themselves to their roles of chemical dependency and irresponsbility until I learned the lessons they came into my life to teach me. . .”

The Inspiration came from her own mother: “I gave the best 20 years of my life to my family, and it has taken them 20 years to recover from it.”

A rags to riches story

While making my way out the back door of the church on Easter Sunday, I picked up a discarded copy of PASS IT ON, the biography of Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. holds regular meetings in the basement of my church.

There is so much in this book. Bill W. was a failure at high school, at university, at business, but he was possessed of such a keen mind that he became successful on Wall Street in the 1920s as one of the first stock pickers, a niche job that was almost unheard of until he came along. Of course, he lost all of that many times over through a craving for alcohol. Rock bottom for him was tested on many occasions. His doctor said he would either die or be confined to a mental institution for the rest of his life. But still, he kept drinking.

An acquaintance of his had gone to Switzerland to seek help from Carl Jung. After a year of therapy and a subsequent relapse, he went back to see Jung who told him he would never beat this until he had a “spiritual awakening.” Belief in God was not enough. He advised him to align himself with a religious movement.

Bill W. was not very religious, but he sensed that spirituality was a missing element in his life. It was some time after this that he had what is called a conversion experience. He cried out during a particularly dark moment “If there be a God, let Him show Himself!” The room suddenly set ablaze with a white light and Bill W. experienced the same kind of ecstasy that was known to Teresa of Avila, Saul on the road to Damascus and others. He was 39 years old.