The War is Aimed the Wrong Way!

Jack’s Wednesday guest post –

There’s something really shocking and sad when someone you know takes his own life.

JB was a laid back friendly guy who was always ready to do a favor for anyone. The outpouring of messages about him on FaceBook all testify to that. Actually, around the time he took his life, he was meant to be meeting with us to discuss work he was going to do on our front yard. Only a few weeks ago he power-washed our front porch.

We did know something about the particular struggle he was waging–not an unusual one around here, either. It has been described as an epidemic and involves prescription drugs – opioids.

Just a few weeks ago Wendy’s annual medical conference focused on that very epidemic and the need for medical professionals to be much more aware of alternatives to highly addictive pain-killers. But there’s a very active economy around all this, and many people making a lucrative living from other folks’ misery.

I had a friend in Scotland many years ago who went to some considerable lengths to end his life because he decided his family would be better off without him. He was wrong about that, but I also believe it must have felt a courageous act from his point of view. I feel exactly the same way about JB – he felt he had slipped again and couldn’t in the moment of despair see any other way to free his family to get on with their lives.

What I can’t see is why the “War on drugs” is aimed at the wrong end of the telescope. Where is the accountability for the over-prescribing done in America, the pills that flow free and easy and the lack of accountability for the producers who marketed them, even tested them in some cases, on a population that tended to do hard labor jobs. Why is it now simpler to get pain meds than a job in this part of the world? And why is the War on Drugs blaming people like JB for being “losers” rather than the pharma executives who took advantage of us and then walked away, unaccountable?

Today is Mental Health Day and, clearly, anyone driven to suicide by a habit should have received more support by professionals, community and friends. Addiction is an illness, not something shameful and certainly not a crime. JB deserved better. The outpouring from his friends in this community stand as a living testament to how far his life reached.

Rest in peace Jessee; the rest of us will see that the people who did this to you, don’t.

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4 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

4 responses to “The War is Aimed the Wrong Way!

  1. sagecat22

    I’m sorry about your friend’s death;this opioid situation is horrible. It’s been devastating for families all over the country, but it seems that your part of the country has been hit particularly hard, and so many children have been left in such difficult and heartbreaking situations.

  2. Gary Johnson

    JB was a very special person. He will be missed by so many friends. I do agree with you, The war on Drugs is looking the wrong way. I attended a seminar on this very thing, The Dr. were required by law to make you pain free. Not now,pain management is offered to help you control the pain. They also said the drugs given to you too help get you off the addiction is also addictive.

  3. priscillaking

    Doctors can’t make every patient pain-free; that’s the kind of thinking that leads to the opioid problem.

    Pete Egoscue may still be teaching a system of exercise, and Judith Walker Delany has taken over teaching a system of massage, that do what some in our part of the world call miracles. I’ve seen those miracles. I’ve done a few. I did them as a primary source of income until greedheads decided to legitimize overcapitalized physical therapists at the expense of some of us who’d actually been successful.

    Thing is…a few months ago a cousin of mine, a good hardworking man about sixty years old, was complaining of pain. I knew he’d be uncomfortable being touched by a female cousin, ick, but he didn’t sound as if he even needed to be touched. I said, “Well, for a start, this stretch ought to help.” I got down on the floor and demonstrated the very easiest of Egoscue’s “E-cises”–stretching spastic back muscles by lying on your back with your feet on a chair. And my cousin said, “I would die of embarrassment.” I said, “Lying on your own floor in your own house when you’re all alone?” He said, “Yes.” He’s more typical of the local working class than I am–I spent most of my working life in Washington.

    And until the M.D.s start prescribing what works for us M.T.s and P.T.s, instead of what works for the pharmaceutical companies…they’re going to be handing out the pain pills–and from what I see some of those well and truly are “not to be confused with pain *killers,* I said pain *pills*.” The backlash of pain after the initial relief is said to be horrific.

    But the doctors can’t afford to take the time to teach people what might actually work better than the pills…

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