Once upon a time, they were called 'ambulance chasers'. I was rather surprised to see an advert on Facebook about the possibility of obtaining compensation for addiction to a perfectly legal and quite effective painkiller named 'Opana'.
The advert does not give the name of the company who placed it. If you go to the website, you will not see the name of the company immediately either. You will be asked to fill out a form giving your name, address as well as particulars about your 'addiction' or the 'addiction' of a family member to Opana.
In very small print at the bottom of the page is the following:
;By leaving this box checked, I agree that the information viewed is advertising and that you agree to receive future advertisements from Ethix Marketing and/or its partners.
I agree that submitting this form and the information contained therein does not establish an attorney client relationship.
I agree that the information submitted will be reviewed by more than one attorney and/or law firm.
I agree that the information that I will receive in response to the above question is general information and I will not be charged for the information. I further understand that the law for each state may vary, and therefore, I will not rely upon this information as legal advice. Since this matter may require advice regarding my home state, I agree that local counsel may be contacted for referral of this matter.
I understand that I may receive, and am willing to accept, a telephone call from a lawyer/law firm to discuss this submission.'
END OF QUOTE
Well, quite frankly, the 'Ethix' corporation has to be involved in 'ambulance chasing' of the very worst sort. Addiction is such a buzz word in our society that individuals who NEED painkillers for severe pain or other legitimate medical conditions often go through hell before a physician will prescribe them, simply because of the negative social connotations and potential for legal problems.
I cannot agree with a social mentality that seeks to protect individuals from themselves. Adults are supposed to be fully capable of making their own decisions and doing their own research. Physicians should not be made liable when all they are doing is attempting to follow the Hippocratic oath by helping a patient deal with severe pain!
Addiction is not necessarily the worst fate that can befall an individual. Living in conditions of intolerable pain is far worse. Morphine and its derivatives at least are based on organic substances and their use has been documented for thousands of years. To me, synthetic substances that alter brain waves and 'block' messages from the body to the brain are far more dangerous, even though society is quite happy to allow physicians to prescribe those as an alternative to true painkillers, simply because of the possibility of 'addiction' to opiates.
There is something terribly wrong with a society that would prefer to push medications that reduce an individual's humanity by tampering with the messages that the body has developed to alert the brain to the time-honoured medications that simply alleviate pain to some extent. Opiates do not 'kill' severe pain, but they can mitigate the effects to the point where the patient can tolerate it.
While doctors remained terrified of prescribing legitimate opiates to patients, pharmaceutical sales representatives were pushing drugs like celecoxib (Celebrex) that actually killed people as an alternative. Doctors were passing these out like sweeties.
Celecoxib, which is not an opiate, has the following side effects:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; trouble breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody or black, tarry stools; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; depression; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hearing loss; mental or mood changes; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent stomach pain or nausea; severe vomiting; shortness of breath; sudden or unexplained weight gain; swelling of hands, legs, or feet; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual joint or muscle pain; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
A few people actually have died from severe GI toxicity caused by celecoxib.
Another 'preferred' alternative to opiates is even more dangerous, in my view. This is the class of drugs known as 'anti-depressants'. Pharmaceutical companies have been recommending that physicians dispense these in lieu of real painkillers, but anti-depressants can have far more negative side-effects than any CNS opiate painkiller. Furthermore, an anti-depressant CHANGES the actual personality and being of the patient where any CNS drug does not have this effect.
One of the most common anti-depressants used to treat severe chronic pain, although it is NOT a painkiller, is Sertraline (Zoloft).
Sertraline is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
In fact, although they are called 'anti-depressants', this class of drugs often promotes thoughts of suicide in patients on which some have acted to their eternal detriment.
Common side-effects include suicidal behaviour, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination; headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.
Surely common sense would tell a physician that a patient who suffers from severe chronic pain based on a PHYSICAL CONDITION should not be placed in a position where he/she has to deal with MORE serious problems such as those listed above? Why is it better to subject a patient to this than to prescribe a simple opiate?
The answer to this is nothing more than fear generated by the word 'addiction'. Like any propaganda or prolonged brainwashing campaign, the concept of addiction has been manipulated for political and commercial reasons. The spurious 'war on drugs' plays a role in this as well.
Recently, my stepfather died in hospice from a condition which made it impossible to breathe without agony. At the end, they gave him morphine to allow him to die in peace. A member of my own family threw tantrums over this, attempting to remove him from the hospice, screaming that he should not be 'drugged'.
Impending loss of a loved one can cause people to behave irrationally but it is the climate of our society that encourages individuals to consider morphine as an evil rather than a blessing given to us by nature.
It is time to put an end to this nonsense and to rehabilitate opiates into society's good graces, not for entertainment or recreation, but for the purpose of helping individuals deal with intolerable pain. Companies like 'Ethix' are NOT ethical in the least when they continue the witch hunt against legitimate painkillers. Shame on them and shame on a society that allows media-generate hysteria to usurp common sense.