NATURAL EXPERIMENT: OPIOID HIGH-RISK USE AND DEATHS CONTINUE TO MOUNT AFTER PANDEMIC ISOLATION AND STRESSORS DISSIPATE, EXPOSING NECESSARY LIES 

Stressors required for the fabricated rationalizations and cover stories have dissipated, exposing predictable outcomes and the lethal truth

by Clark Miller

Published July 4, 2022

From a post late last year – 

And it Goes Without Saying as well, because it Comes Without Saying – that the heightened anxiety, stress with the onset of an ominous pandemic – with sudden threats to income, potential loss of housing, serious illness – are explanation, of course, for the escalation of high-risk use of opioids and other drugs with associated surges in overdoses and deaths. Everyone knows that.

Except, no.

It turns out, as we’ll see in multiple upcoming posts, that acute, exacerbated anxiety, objectively surveyed, as predicted surged significantly in the weeks prior to lockdowns and other restrictions, then rather quickly returned to baseline by April or May of 2020, before the significant surges in opioid OD deaths began. That result and evidence were predictable, are consistent and from multiple locales and surveys, and follow what we know about anxiety in humans related to lack of knowledge, uncertainty, and novelty of a stressor. 

And it turns out, as we’ll see in multiple upcoming posts in this series, that actual surges in opioid deaths – not by surmise or assumption, but by objective measure, consistently and across locales, nationally – did not occur in the timeline required by the fabricated explanations required to hide what has obviously happened, those fabricated explanations that America’s Media/Medical collusion has manufactured as expert consensus, as truth. Just as they manufactured truth to establish that opioids are safe and effective for pain, all forms of pain, some time ago.

There have been posts and are more to come deconstructing and dispelling the fabrications necessary to protect from exposure the lethality of American Medicine’s cure for American Medicine’s opioid crisis. Posts dispelling the lie that fentanyl explains failure of increasing provision of the proven medical fix to stop or even moderate a continuously worsening epidemic. And dispelling a manufactured “opioid paradox” that attempts to hide the established role of medically prescribed substitute opioids in driving street economies of illicit opioid high-risk use, overdose and death. 

And posts here and here dispelling the necessary fiction that pandemic social isolation somehow accounted for a continuously worsening, increasingly lethal opioid crisis through the pandemic while longstanding controls on dispensing of the addictive, diverted, misused medically-prescribed opioids in MAT programs increased their lethal outcomes. 

Americans have begun experiencing behavior-changing relief from unemployment and other psychosocial stressors  as well as increased confidence and reduced anxiety tied to pandeimc risks beginning as early as January and February of this year

It’s time to start taking a look at another of the necessary lies, another fabricated consensus of America’s trusted medical/media expert class – that psychological responses to pandemic conditions including anxiety, despondence, other forms of dysphoria or mental anguish account for the continuously worsening opioid epidemic over a period when provision of the “proven” medical cure was being increasingly provided. 

That fiction, predictably, has been invalidated in recent posts looking at continuing surges in opioid high-risk use, overdose, and deaths in St. Louis, Missouri, in West Virginia, and in New Jersey

As has been predictable, those outcomes represent a general pattern in a lethal epidemic generated then predictably worsened by American medical practice and America’s expert Medical/Media collusion. And they form part of the evidence base of a natural (versus controlled) experiment in which factors (pandemic stressors) dissipated beginning about six months ago, allowing evaluation of the fabrications attributing a relentlessly worsening epidemic to those stressors. 

It’s important to remember some critical points determining what types of outcomes can and cannot be interpreted as indication of a worsening or moderating opioid epidemic. A decrease in opioid overdose deaths of course cannot be interpreted as evidence of a moderating epidemic because the concurrent campaigns and increases in effective use of overdose death reversing naloxone (Narcan) is a confounding factor decreasing deaths and does not indicate lessening prevalence or severity of high-risk opioid misuse, as explained and evidenced in multiple posts. Barring a knonwn decrease in availability or use of Narcan over a time frame, an increase in prevalence of opioid overdose deaths does indicate a worsening of problem opioid use. 

Increases in non-lethal overdoses measure worsening of high-risk opioid use directly and are not confounded by changes in prevalence of naloxone saves. 

Because pandemic stressors have been asserted to have driven mounting prevalence of overdose and overdose deaths, both continuing increases in overdoses  and in overdose deaths as well as absence of decrease following dissipation of those stressors are disconfirming of that fabrication. 

Let’s take a look. 

In diverse locales, over recent months – post-pandemic, after dissipation of presumed stressors driving pandemic opioid deaths – opioid high-risk use, overdose, and/or overdose deaths have continued to climb while medical and other treatments have been freely available. 

That’s been true – as in St. Louis, West Virginia, and New Jersey – in Lorain County, Ohio, encompassing Cleveland. 

Lorain police responded to 74 overdoses from Jan. 1 to May 31, according to statistics from the department — a more than 50 percent increase from the same time frame last year.

Lorain police responded to 49 overdoses for the first five months of 2021, 36 during the same time in 2020, 53 in 2019 and 58 in 2018.

And in Portland, Maine, where

Maine’s largest city has experienced a spike in fatal drug overdoses this year, and the deaths have already surpassed last year’s total, police said.

Portland has been dealing with a worsening overdose crisis that is linked to opioid drug use. Police in the city said they have responded to 28 fatal overdoses this year as of Tuesday.

That’s five more than all of last year, police said. Police said they are responding to an 84% increase in overdose incidents this year, compared to the same time window for 2020 and 2021.

Police said in a statement that it’s “clear that the opioid epidemic is not slowing down.” They said the city is on track to eclipse a 2017 record of 436 total overdoses.

And in Maine, generally, where

 “Maine saw a 9 percent increase in overdose deaths in the first five months of 2022 compared with the same period last year, according to the state’s monthly overdose report, which showed three-quarters of those deaths involved fentanyl. It could foreshadow a new high after Maine saw over 600 people die from overdoses last year. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show Maine was in the top 10 states for drug overdoses in 2020.”

The same in Lake County, Illinois, with record surges in opioid overdoses in June. 

And in Vermont, where “the number of overdose-related deaths was higher through the first two months of 2022 than through the same period last year, according to the Vermont Health Department”.

And in Clackamas County, Oregon, where “Public health officials are reporting a sustained increase in overdoses driven largely by fentanyl found in illicit pills and powders”.

And Oregon generally, where

“Drug overdose deaths in Oregon more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, with the increase driven largely by misuse of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) analysis has found. Preliminary data indicate that this trend has continued in 2022.

. . . “We are seeing a critical need for naloxone as many communities experience dramatic increases in overdoses due to fentanyl misuse,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. He noted that many counties have reported multiple opioid overdoses over the last several weeks, and that there has been a corresponding demand for naloxone.

 

In Escambia County, Florida where 

“Last year, there were 1,085 overdoses and halfway through this year, there are 1,134 overdoses, according to EMS. The county has not released how many of those lives were saved but they administered Narcan almost 1,000 times. Torsell said they’re on track to double last year’s overdose number.”

In North Carolina where

The state reported this week there were 326 suspected overdose deaths in June, compared to 288 in June 2021. All told, suspected overdose deaths were up 9% between this January and June compared to the same period last year.

And in Rhode Island. 

Results provided here were identified by a casual daily scan of Google search results over past months using “opioid crisis”. 

There were no examples encountered of clear decreases in meaningful measures of diminished severity of that crisis. Those measures include non-fatal opioid overdose and prevalence of opioid injection related infectious disease

For reasons outlined above, decrease in opioid overdose deaths are not a measure of gains against high-risk opioid use, that outcome clearly confounded by effects of increasing use of Narcan to reverse potentially lethal overdose. 

The only outcome potentially supportive of the presumed stressor-opioid  causal relationship would be clear reduction in non-fatal opioid overdoses or other measure of high-risk use since the beginning of this year, as pandemic stressors dissipated. 

There were numerous reports encountered in which evidence was provided for little or no change in opioid overdose or overdose deaths post-pandemic stressors, not included here. Those results are also invalidation of the fabricated rationalization that persistently increasing opioid high-risk use, overdose, and overdose deaths were due to presumed psychological and social stressors. 

Recent analysis of formal studies of measures and trends in those stressors are consistent with the predicted outcomes noted in this overview of a June 2022 JAMA article – 

The estimated 30-day prevalence of clinically significant anxiety and depression was 12.4% from March to December 2020, according to the study, compared with 12.1% from March to December 2017 to 2019.

The prevalence of anxiety and depression increased only among people who were students or employed, the study found. Among workers, anxiety and depression increases were positively associated with the state-month COVID-19 death rates.

In respondents who were unemployed for a short term or unable to work, the prevalence of anxiety and depression decreased, researchers reported. Meanwhile, it remained mostly unchanged in long-term unemployed, homemakers, or retired respondents.

There’s more to come. 

Crisis is a necessary condition for a questioning of doxa, but is not in itself a sufficient condition for the production of a critical discourse.”

– Pierre Bourdieu  Outline of a Theory of Practice (1972)

In Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice, heterodoxy is dissent, challenge to what “goes without saying” – the accepted, constructed doxa, “knowledge”, reality, that goes without saying precisely because it “comes without saying”, without real scrutiny, untested, unquestioned. The function of doxa is not knowledge or truth or promotion of the collective good, but to protect and serve the interests of those with the power, the cultural capital, to create it.

Why A Critical Discourse?

Because an uncontrolled epidemic of desperate and deadly use of pain-numbing opioid drugs is just the most visible of America’s lethal crises of drug misuse, suicide, depression, of obesity and sickness, of social illness. Because the matrix of health experts and institutions constructed and identified by mass media as trusted authorities – publicly funded and entrusted to protect public health – instead collude to fabricate false assurances like those that created an opioid crisis, while promising medical cures that never come and can never come, while epidemics worsen. Because the “journalists” responsible for protecting public well-being have failed to fight for truth, traded that duty away for their careers, their abdication and cowardice rewarded daily in corporate news offices, attempts to expose that failure and their fabrications punished.

Open, critical examination, exposure, and deconstruction of their lethal matrix of fabrications is a matter of survival, is cure for mass illness and crisis, demands of us a critical discourse.

Crisis is a necessary condition for a questioning of doxa, but is not in itself a sufficient condition for the production of a critical discourse.

Pierre Bourdieu - Outline of a Theory of Practice 1972

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