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Gabapentin: New Drug or Opium for the Masses—NOTHING to do with Religion
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Gabapentin: New Drug or Opium for the Masses—NOTHING to do with Religion

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Many health care workers consider that the new drug Gabapentin is being passed out in the US like candy. This is happening at a time when the previous epidemic or “scourge” of “opioids” is finally beingunderstood, and broken down to the level where society can grasp it and policymakers and politicians can deal with it.

But only too soon another comes to replace it—and without many knowing what has transpired. A 2017 report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests Gabapentin is being increasingly prescribed for almost any type of pain – a practice which can only lead to a new epidemic developing sometime soon.

So we have new Opium for the masses, not as Karl Marx described religion but as public health workers describe how drug addiction and opioid abuse is ravaging America. This is probably the best-known quotation by Karl Marx, the German economist and Communist political philosopher, and with good reason, as we have seen many examples of such things presented in other terms over the years.

It is as if physicians see the new drug as anon-threatening alternative, as the title of the above-mentioned journal article describes, now that the treatment of chronic noncancerous pain during an opioid epidemic has become challenging for clinicians. It is however simply the name of the drug, not its content, which is non-threatening, and physicians are willfully ignoring this to conduct a public relations stunt, not improve clinical practice.

We see that it is already creatinga new epidemic in US. Even on the White House website there is a special section dealing with drug problems. Politically it seems expedient for the Republican authorities to start caring about public health. But legal drugs are just another killer, like heroin and other illicit drugs.

Patients want their pain to be adequately managed, and clinicians are searching for safe, effective alternatives to opioids, so names are being changed. The motivation is clear, aside from the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives to drug abuse, and many times more have lost control, and their lives, to prescription drugs and drug interactions.

Illegal drug use hits some groups harder than others.  People of colour experience discrimination at every stage of the criminal justice system, and are far more likely to have the book thrown at them, receiving maximum sentences and seeing an unwillingness to turn a blind eye to first time offenders—AKA mandatory sentences.

But the War on Drugs in no longer the war on blacks but an attack on the heartland of America, which means White Folks too! Even Donald Trump is weighing in for this fight, as that is his base of support. The Trump Administration has moved quickly in its first year in office to answer the growing threat of opioids.

But it gets more complicated than that, as drug companies are very creative in finding ways to keep their profits up and get around the best of intentions in curbing a crisis of warlike magnitude.Will anyone have the guts to take them on, when they donate so much to the politicians who will have to do it?

Enter New Drug

The side effects of Gabapentin are more harmful than the benefits are good. As my son's mother just wrote me, "My sister’s boyfriend started taking it, and after a few days he couldn't walk. It made him dizzy and weak. He literally couldn't walk after taking it.”

Supposedly it is taken for nerve pain, and can also be used as an anticonvulsant medication for seizures. But with a bit of checking, and just amongst those that I know, I turned the shovel of fact checking and learned that the boyfriend is not the only one who has had its side effects.This med is no joke.

Another family friend started taking it after he had had a stroke. He stopped doing so after a week. It made him feel like he was in a fog, and interrupted his walking.

To make a long story short, drug companies making money; they say this drug is an alternative to narcotics, and in the US they are cracking down on prescribing narcotics. But Kentucky and many Southern States, where most of my anecdotal information comes from, both the crackdown is strongest and the problem most severe.

So in a Nutshell

MDs don’t want to give out pain meds anymore: they want to give you Gabapentin instead. As I asked one MD friend, who was quick to answer, “That med is given by neurologist and pain management physicians. I know nothing more. I was never involved. You know as much as me!”

Not general practitioners, average MDs?

So now we have a special category of new drug dealers:  Pain management physicians.

I wonder if they try other treatments first, and use this as the last resort, or make it the first option to get kickbacks from drug companies. I suspect both; it depends on the doctor.

What about wine and hot baths?

Author: Jeffrey Silverman