In a situation that can only be described as ‘modern immoral marketplace behavior’, several companies which have been accused of fueling the opioid epidemic in the country are now looking to also profit off of treatment for being addicted to the same drugs. A recent lawsuit against one of the main players in the prescription side of the crisis, Perdue, revealed evidence of knowing the highly addictive properties of drugs like Oxycontin which contain synthetic forms of opiates, called opioids.
While they’re highly effective at dulling down pain in hospital patients, many people who take the drug are highly susceptible to addiction to the drug. Often times, money for the prescription version of the drug will run out, leaving cheap heroin the only option for patients, who, if suffering from chronic pain, will seek out the drug anyway to help deal with their constant struggle to simply be mobile without suffering.
This doesn’t end here, though. Recently, an article in Market Size Forecasters seemed to beam about the possibilities of making more money off of people suffering from addiction. In fact, one of the charts showing the growing market of addiction treatment didn’t even use typical boardroom bar charts to show trends, but instead replaced the bars with gold coins, in one of the most impressively tone-deaf and insulting charts ever made. If one believes in the free market, this is just it’s normal function; create a market and then exploit it.
However, people are the product and that product is made more profitable by way of getting them addicted in order to set up treatment. In a country in which there is no civic responsibility by the government to serve the healthcare of its citizens, the only outcome can be this dystopia which is quickly scabbing into not only an incredibly embarrassing moment in U.S. history, but brings with it casualties. The country has already been in the spotlight for having for-profit prisons that were shown empirically to create life-long prison-dwellers that do nothing to rehabilitate criminals (largely comprised of people who were, coincidentally, addicted to some kind of illegal drug), and now investors seem to be eyeballing drug users specifically.
If the prison system was of any indication of the desire for positive effects on the ‘problem’ identified, (a.k.a. The Market), this has the huge potential to become a very bumpy ride. In addition to this, it’s also relevant to mention that drugs like crystal meth have virtually no medications that can directly assist and reverse the effects of their use. For those drugs, like opioids, which do have some medication assisted treatments (MAT), it’s very possible that the ‘free market’ will begin to hold these medications hostage to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, it seems no one has told these investors that the purpose of treatment is to turn an addict back into a welcomed member of a society.
This event should be a reminder that seeking proper treatment will require research and careful decision making on the part of an addict’s loved ones and the person suffering from the chronic illness themselves. Maybe each person reading this should consider taking people’s health ‘off the market’ in the future.