Car Plant Closures Causing Fatal Opioid Overdoses?
U.S. Opioid Addiction – The Blame Game Rages On
Cristal M Clark
According to researchers, since US car plants started closing up shop it has caused a rise in opioid overdoses. The researchers collected data between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2016 on 112 industrial counties mainly in the South and Midwest, using those figures from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, the team looked at how many adults aged between 18 to 65 years old died of opioid overdoses during this period.
Then blamed the closure of car manufacturing plants for the overdoses. So, am I to believe that these individuals are self-medicating through depression due to job losses? Doctors are prescribing opioids for depression now?
To be fair, manufacturing in the US has been hit pretty significantly over the past couple of decades which can cause a bout of depression in an otherwise healthy adult. The study looked at 29 counties that had been affected by a plant closure. The data revealed plant closures were followed by a statistically significant increase in deaths due to opioids overdoses. After 5 years, mortality rates increased by 8.6 deaths per 100,000 in affected counties. White men aged between 18 to 34-years-old saw the biggest increases in opioid overdose deaths, followed by those of the same ethnicity in the 35 to 65 age group.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70,200 people who died of a drug overdose in 2017, around 68 percent had taken an opioid. That included prescription and illegal drugs like heroin and its stronger synthetic counterpart fentanyl.
For me, I am not sure the numbers quite add up. The Midwest and the south have a longer history than this research would indicate in terms of drug abuse issues and to be even more honest, I feel personally that the research is a bit misleading. It’s trying to say that in part in some regions a big reason the epidemic grew to the point that it did is because individuals lost jobs due to manufacturing plant closures.
So, car manufacturers are to blame?
I simply do not buy that. My mom was an addict, I know firsthand the many excuses and reasons people shoved down my throat for why that was and as it turned out, it was because of her and only her. If you dig deeper into these research numbers you see a more clear picture, for some that have been and were affected, they were in fact addicts long before the closure of plant and they were functioning much like that of someone who reaches for a drink upon waking, for others sure it could have been depression but then why would a doctor prescribe and opioid for depression? That raises even bigger questions such as, how were the affected individuals able to afford the drugs, has anyone else seen the cost of prescription drugs skyrocket the past decade? So, were the users obtaining the drugs on the street, friends, family? No, these people found a way to self-medicate a bout of depression and became addicts.
Mental health seems to be the more underlying issue at hand along with a push by big pharma to take advantage of that and get these drugs into the hands of anyone they could have created an addict out of. That is in fact the plain and simple of it and if anyone wants to argue that point and try to tell me that I don’t understand, you are more than welcome to do that, trust me I had my own demons with addiction once, it’s an argument you’ll not likely win. You can blame, gangs, sex trafficking, guns, and drugs on the street on economic issues, you cannot blame addiction on economic issues, depression and addiction are both a mental illness if you will, economic issues are simply not the same, the end result of economic issues prey on the mentally ill/weak.
Cristal M Clark