My biggest problem with the opioid crisis is, who do you blame? Is it even about blame?
My editor sent me this video of Stephen Colbert talking about a family I wasn't aware existed. The Sackler's. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cJ_lyeH7Os
Do you know why I love Colbert? Because you can tell even when he's reading the jokes his writers wrote for him for a certain segment, that the serious things are actually concerning to him. It's all over his face, and his mannerisms. He's as disgusted as the rest of us. He's just as angry as I am, and I'm sure even he has his own story, because we all do, about how the opioid epidemic has effected his life.
His job, though, is to share it in a way that helps us cope with the severity of the matter. Why do we turn to humor in these terrible times? To relieve the pain.
But... I thought that's what the drugs were for?
My entire life has revolved around this crisis, epidemic... I don't know what to call it anymore, no word feels potent enough to describe it.
I was a drug dealer once.
Read my book. On that note, I think I'm self-publishing. So, hopefully it'll be out soon. I know releasing it during the holidays are kind of a no-no... There are some things to finish, copy edit, the matter of actually formatting it, and then also building a platform of people who will read it. More work then I will have ever put into anything!
So, there is a family called the Sackler's, and they're getting old. They obviously don't use their own product.
The Sackler's created OxyContin. I know Oxy. I know that growing up it was joked about that we could actually make some money selling what the doctors gave us for $40 per pill on the streets. I knew people who would have purchased this. I was 11 when it was introduced to my family, and the rest of the world. It wasn't long after that I was keeping books on it, and seriously considering stealing some from my family and selling them at school. We were very poor. The word "homeless" was tossed around nearly every day, sometimes in a serious way, sometimes in a funny way to relieve tension. We were very close to it at one point in our lives together, and on more then one occasion I wondered if we would really have to start living out of cars, selling the only drug we could legally get: Oxy.
I wanted to help my family. My family wanted to help themselves, and my extended family wanted in on it but to also keep their reputations (and their homes).
Both drugs and money exchanged hands. They all shared.
My family certainly was a community, but I was one of their only kids that knew their secrets. I was the only cousin counting cash, and pills and writing down budgets. I was really good with numbers. Still am. I kept track of who owed who what, and when, and if the pills we had would last long enough to keep her out of pain, and if they didn't... she had to find a way to cope. We all did.
Should I blame the Sackler family for leading my family down a very profitable (for them) rabbit hole? Sure, but it wasn't just Oxy.
Unfortunately placing blame does nothing to fix what's happened. What I want to know is, how did we survive the pain of our lives BEFORE Oxy and other opioids were introduced or created?
The pain we experienced was, well, painful, but not unbearable. I don't believe that our generation truly knows what pain tolerance is, because everyone has something to "fix" their various pains. Everything from opioids, anti-depressants, to alcohol... etc. We all have an addiction of sorts that keeps us from feeling pain, because now thanks this epidemic, we no longer know how to cope with our pain. Make it go away, and so the Sackler family said "OK" and made a pretty penny off of the deaths of our families and friends. I suppose death is the surest way to rid the pain. There is blood on their hands, but some people don't seem to mind a little blood.
I am absolutely mortified that a family like that can profit off of death, while others go to prison for what is, in comparison, almost nothing. Don't twist it up, there are certainly evil people in prison, but there are others who have gone to prison for the illegal selling of the very product this family created and are living the good life from the profits. Someone please explain this to me!
Point is, they've known better for a very long time. Now, they will die of old age having lived a very comfortable life thanks to families like mine who died young, after years of addiction, pain and poverty.
Tell me what's funny about that. I'm incredibly angry.