We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The terror of medical opioids is on an upswing. I have seen the upswings and downswings during my career. I wish we could find a middle course, because medical opioids are a blessing to suffering people. Yes, I include Oxycontin in that because it is an excellent medicine.
Of course opioids are habit-forming. For refractory pain, they are also life-giving. For people with life-impairing chronic pain, there is something called "pseudoaddiction." AGAINST AGAINST PSEUDOADDICTION
These days, I have seen people in that category treated like drug addicts. Sooner or later, there will chemicals with the pain effects of opioids but without the habit-forming effects. Not yet.
Is the opioid crisis real or a media/government invention? The reason I ask is because they like to use New Hampshire as an example of the severity. Why since 2012 deaths due to opioid over dose here has increased 288% (to 2017)! But I'm always suspicious when they report percentage change instead of percentage change in rate because we are a low population state. A small absolute value change can blow up percentages like above. When you look at it per capita instead we went from .01% opioid deaths in 2012 to .03% in 2017. That still shows the 288% increase, but puts it into risk perspective.
Mark Steyn lives over there and not sure it's a "crisis" he's describes NH and VT as rather depressing in term of prospects and that people have turned to meth and opioids. Lies, damned lies and statistics.
I think something is missing from this discussion. There are addictive people who with any availability of drugs will seek them out, use them and become addicted. It does not make sense to create a drug policy for all of us based on the addictive personalities of some of us. Make policies that help the addicted and leave the rest of us alone to make necessary health care choices.
Scott Alexander is brilliant, as usual. I admit I don't follow him daily because he's smarter than me and makes me think hard. Yet I am always gratified to read something that others have linked to of his.
He nearly always goes on too long. He is worth reading anyway.
Assistant Village Idiot
I won't speak to the strictly physical addictive qualities of drugs, such as withdrawal symptoms and increasing tolerance, because I know nothing about them. But it's blindingly obvious that any medication with psychoactive properties even remotely approaching euphoria or even anxiety abatement will be addictive in the sense that people who need mental escape will get into trouble with them. The problem isn't with the medication in that case.