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Elliott Morss has spent most of his career teaching and working as an economic consultant to developing countries on issues of trade, finance, and environmental preservation.

Dr. Morss received a B.A. from Williams College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in political economy from The Johns Hopkins ... more

Dealing With Opioids – What We Should Have Learned by Now

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017 10:16 AM EDT

Elliott R. Morss                                 ©All Rights Reserved

 

Introduction

 

There is an Opioid epidemic sweeping the U.S. So what to do about it? In an earlier piece, I documented that leading “entertainment” vehicles for humans are drinking, drugs, and sex. I offer a few initial observations on these:

 

  • A vast majority of people use drinking, drugs and sex for enjoyment: to relieve stress and relax.
  • Only a small minority become addicted.
  • Government efforts to control drinking, drugs and sex have never worked.

 

Below, I apply these points to the Opioid crisis.

 

Background on Opioids

 

Opioid consumption for pleasure is not new. From the beginning of recorded time, Opioids have been used for enjoyment and the alleviation of pain. Opioids continue to be used for the same reasons. The UN reports that only 2% of the people using Marijuana or Opioids, including Heroin, needed treatment. And despite news stories proclaiming an epidemic, most Americans use them in a manageable fashion. In 2015, 230 million Opioid prescriptions were written. Only 2 million were reported to have a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers. This means the vast majority of these were used properly to reduce pain and other forms of suffering. Some were also used to “get high” with a very small portion used to feed a dangerous addiction.

 

What is a bit unique about the current “crisis” is that the primary suppliers of what is supposed to be a “controlled” substance are medical doctors. What do we draw from this? The US market for almost anything is simply too large to control: where there is money to be made, there will always be a supplier. 

 

The Epidemic Is Very Real

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