Opioid Crisis V2 – National Public Radio promotes sham “treatments” including substitute addictive opioids and “rehab” that predict harm and drive increasingly lethal substance use epidemics

by Clark Miller

Published June 20, 2022

As reported in Sam Quinones’ “Dreamland” and by others, it was a collusion and alliance of criminally negligent, grossly malfeasant American institutions including Medicine, Media, Research, public health and public regulatory, that collaborated to fabricate –against all longstanding relevant evidence – the lie that opioids were safe and effective for all pain. And more consequently and lethally, collaborated to create the pathological norm that medical professionals were obligated to provide the opioids indiscriminately to patients, fueling the crises now year-by-year increasingly killing Americans – approaching 100,000 this year.

There is no reason to expect that the pathology underlying that lethal collusion would change, and we are continuously reminded of the public health costs of our failure to address that cultural and institutional illness and force change by, for example this recent advertisement by NPR for the same lethal medical approach: addictive and predictably abused and diverted opioids for the non-medical problem of chronic pain in generation of the crisis; now as “treatment” for the epidemic non-medical problem of compulsive substance use medically generated.  

Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he would wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom.

That didn’t get caught and deleted by an editor, accidentally providing an accurate picture of what opioid withdrawal is like as experienced by users – unpleasant and quite familiar, because long-time opioid users have been through it many times and know what to expect, know it is not life threatening, know they will get through it. It is not – despite the necessary lies constructed in most media portrayals as in feature pieces over the years in the NY Times – a significant psychological or behavioral barrier to stopping use of opioids or a predictor of relapse, other factors are. The accidentally accurate reporting belies the fabrications used to rationalize the harm-predicting “medications” buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone that are helping to drive lethal epidemics, on the pretense that they preempt the withdrawal symptoms that will predictably, immediately trigger return to use. Users typically get through withdrawals, lasting a few days to a week, and return to problem use weeks to months to years later, triggered by interpersonal and mental health factors that would be addressed with protective gains in evidence based treatment for substance use (individual psychotherapy) but not in current failed treatment models that predict harm and relapse and drive worsening drug use epidemics.  

By 11 p.m., she decided to take him to the emergency room at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C. The staff there gave Jameson fluids through an IV to rehydrate, medication to decrease his nausea and potassium supplements to stop his muscle spasms, according to Suzanne and a letter the hospital’s administrator later sent her.

But when they recommended admitting him to monitor and manage the withdrawal symptoms, Jameson said no. He had lost his job the previous month and, with it, his health insurance.

“He kept saying, ‘I can’t afford this,’ ” Suzanne recalls, and “not one person [at the hospital] indicated that my son would have had some financial options.”

He may well have not wanted the financial burden, particularly as the sizable expense for what Jameson, like millions of other Americans, would have known from direct experience as a sham “treatment” system that offers no treatment at all: instead the bizarre countertherapeutic prescriptions of a religious subculture established to increase risk of relapse; a lucrative “rehab” industry staffed by “professionals” wholly unqualified and unable to provide treatment of any kind to vulnerable clients; a medical “fix” for the entirely non-medical condition of compulsive substance use that supplies diverted, abused, addictive opioids for the medical opioid epidemic that generate more deaths the more they are passed out to diseased brains.

Like the trusting, betrayed, harmed Americans provided a voice in this seminal documentary –

Jameson would have known from direct experience that “treatment” is at best a waste of time and supply of free dope, at worst fuels overdose and death.

“Hi I’m Jameson and I’m an addict”.

The NPR piece continues, unselfconsciously, to mimic the lies that have protected a lethal sham treatment system over decades of increasing deaths – that, for example, if only Jameson had been able to access treatment services, he could have been saved. But he did access them, like so many living and dead Americans.

Jameson had been in and out of treatment for five years, ever since a friend suggested he try opioids to manage his anxiety and insomnia. He had insurance through his jobs in the hotel industry and later as an electrical technician, Suzanne says. But the high-deductible plans often left him paying high fees out-of-pocket: $3,000 for a seven-day rehab stay and $400 for a brief counseling session and a prescription of Suboxone, a medication to treat opioid use disorder.

Of course he had – been in and out of “treatment” for five years – because treatment doesn’t work, and we know exactly why. Treatment as Usual (TAU) predicts harm, for clear reasons, predicts relapse and death. Huh! That’s consistent with decades and decades of worsening, lethal substance use epidemics associated with increasing provision of TAU and of the medical cures for substance use – drugs for diseased brains.

After the ER experience: Hidden struggles, and relapse

Afterward, Jameson’s withdrawal symptoms passed, Suzanne says. He spent time golfing with his younger brother. Although his application for unemployment benefits was denied, he managed to defer payments on his car and school loans, she says.

But, inside, he must have been struggling, Suzanne now realizes.

That’s the uniquely accurate part of the NPR piece – individuals trapped in compulsive substance use problems go through withdrawal symptoms, repeatedly, stop using and function in life, then return to problem substance use weeks to months, or years, later, driven to use in order to experience immediate relief from inner distress triggered by some stressful event or inner experience, unprepared to cope because the one protective, therapeutic gain that would have been instrumental in change and success – psychotherapy to gain control of inner experiences and mood states – was not part of “treatment” for them, is never part of the sham “treatment” systems serving as sheltered workplaces for a workforce of individuals entirely incompetent to treat behavioral health issues of any type.

Jameson was struggling and was destined to return to problem substance use. He never had treatment, instead sham treatments that made failure predictable. He was diverted away from evidence-based treatment by an American medical system that created the increasingly lethal opioid crisis, by the lethal lies of a medical/treatment industry/Media collusion that fabricates lethal “knowledge” to protect status, power, cultural capital, and resources to provide privileged, cronyism employment for a lethally incompetent workforce.

man listening to NPR on his phone

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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