You cannot make this stuff up

by Clark Miller

Published February 9, 2024

You wouldn’t know it, though. 

Because here’s just how successful the campaign starting the prior year to dispense the addiction treatment medicine  buprenorphine (Suboxone) has been already – 

With initial funding of $600,000, Escambia joined CORE in the summer of 2022. It’s one of a few counties chosen to pilot the program, which is a comprehensive network of addiction and opioid treatment.

Chief Torsell says after about eight months of organizing, the program took off very quickly.

He noted the successful use of medication-assisted therapy (MAT), improved relationships with local hospitals and other partners, and wraparound services delivered by nurses and EMTs on staff. Also, as individuals complete the addiction treatment component, and declare the program to be life-saving, the word is spreading.

“One of the things that we see as a result of that is as people that have addiction therapy and mental health issues gain that trust and have others that are friends of theirs that let them know, ‘Hey, there’s this program; you can trust these people. They’re here for you. They’re going to help you,’” he began. “Now we have more people reaching out than we can keep up with.”

I guess that’s called “putting a positive face on things”, right? 

A new MAT program began successfully providing buprenorphine to high-risk opioid users, some of them cured, and spreading the word, “declaring the program to be life-saving”. 

We have no idea whether lethal opioid overdoses declined over the period, and if we had that data, we would be attributing that change to differential effects of naloxone campaigns. That’s because that’s how that works – consistently, any moderation in incidence of lethal overdoses have been more than accounted for by that confounding factor, while buprenorphine and methadone (MAT) are established as driving increased high risk opioid use and a worsening epidemic

What we do know, with certainty, is that while naloxone saves predictably confound interpretation of outcomes based on overdose deaths, a more reliable measure of “treatment” outcomes is nonfatal overdoses, always representing high-risk opioid use, moderation of high-risk use the only way that MAT opioids like buprenorphine and methadone can be presumed to have treatment benefit. 

So, we’d have to say that the 19 percent surge in opioid overdose EMT calls belies, that is gives the lie to, the claims of benefit from dispensing opioids that are established as fueling the lethal epidemic. 

There are some elements of truth in the report, though, including the very strong likelihood that beneficiaries of free, doctor-dispensed buprenorphine are sharing the word on the streets. You can bet they are. And, 

“Now we have more people reaching out than we can keep up with.” 

While bupe has never been supported by evidence as saving lives or providing benefit for opioid dependence, it is well understood and established as functioning as reliably available commodity and currency in street economies of illicit, high-risk opioid use, now traded for cash or fentanyl, for heroin not so long ago

It was as predictable that high risk opioid use and overdoses would surge in Escambia County as it was that that worsening opioid outcomes would occur in Medicaid expansion states where the free bupe fueled high-risk use of more potent opioids. 

That’s how it works, has for decades. While deaths mount. 

Predictable as well, that there will be more to come. 

Meantime, the panel overseeing Escambia County’s Opioid Abatement funding of nearly $2.5 million is working to finalize a strategy for spending the money.

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.

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