Donald Trump‘s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” to new depths with his “Marijuana Madness” style approach to narcotics. But this week, he managed to show a new level of callousness when he told chronic pain sufferers struggling with opioid addiction to “take an aspirin and tough it out.”
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Sessions, who sports a puritanical opposition to legalizing marijuana (known to be a much safer and less addictive treatment for people suffering from chronic pain), spoke before the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida where he ignorantly admonished doctors for prescribing patients too many opioid painkillers.
“This company prescribes too many opioids,” Sessions said. “People need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out… you can get through these things.”
Sessions’ tone-deaf and dangerous remarks echo sentiments once made by former First Lady Nancy Reagan when she advised people struggling with drug addiction to “just say no.” In an interview with The Tampa Times, Bob Twillman, the executive director of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, expressed his disappointment in the Attorney General’s ignorant remarks.
“That remark reflects a failure to recognize the severity of pain of some patients,” he said. “It’s an unconscionable remark. It further illustrates how out of touch parts of the administration are with opioids and pain management.”
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 2.5 Million adults or 11.2 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic pain (which is classified as daily pain lasting for at least three months). Drugabuse.gov states that about 21 to 29 percent of chronic pain patients prescribed opioids become addicts. And here are some more disturbing facts from the American Society of Addictive Medicine regarding opioid addiction in the U.S.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others.• Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain
and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.
• Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual
pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.2
• Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2
million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers, and 591,000 had
a substance use disorder involving heroin.3
• It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop an opioid addiction.
Sessions’ cavalier attitude toward those who suffer every day of their life, should be a dangerous warning sign to all Americans signaling the dark path down on which he and Trump’s administration is leading America. During a time when police are killing and persecuting drug addicted people in need of help with little or consequences, the top law enforcement official’s trivialization of this issue means that the failed Trillion plus dollar Nixonion “Drug War” is far from over.
Featured image via YouTube.