Some years ago a local news network featured a discussion with a dermatologist regarding whether or not people can become addicted to lip balm. It was a “tongue in cheek” interview, yet with an invitation to wonder… The dermatologist shared that years ago, lip balm was simply made of soft wax to soothe chapped lips. Manufacturers, however, began to place a substance in the wax that actually dried lips, compelling users to need and buy more cultivating a “lip balm addiction.”
After the birth of my second son I developed severe bouts of heartburn. I began using an over the counter antacid. Daily I used the antacid and received temporary relief. The heartburn, however, continued to persist and even worsen. One day while accompanying my mother to her gastroenterologist, I inquired as to whether or not the antacid was a good choice to alleviate my heartburn. He laughed and said, “Those increase heartburn!” I returned home threw out my bottle of tablets and never used them again. After some alterations in my diet, my heartburn subsided naturally.
After the birth of my third child (and third C-section) while in the hospital I was given the pain reliever Percocet. Upon release from the hospital the name brand drug was not given. The pharmacy said that I would have to use the generic brand, OxyContin. When I finished my dosage, I prepared to go on like before, pain free. But this time was different. This particular pain reliever was different. One morning when getting out of the bed my legs collapsed from beneath me. I could barely walk. I went back to my doctor but he told me that he didn’t know what was wrong. Ultimately, I ended up on an anti-inflammatory for the next six years. When my body built up a tolerance to that drug, I was given another at a higher dosage. That stopped working in six months. Seeing the pattern developing, I weaned myself off of the medicines and relied upon over the counter ibuprofen. My joints were never quite the same.
Long story short, I began to wonder if the composition of the generic pain killer contained a substance that (like the above referenced lip balm and antacid) deliberately damages muscles, advancing the deterioration of cartilage and accelerating arthritis.
In recent years, there has been an exponential jump in the number of individuals needing knee and hip replacements.
According to the Journal of Joint and Bone Surgery,
With the aging of the “baby boomers,” higher rates of diagnosis and treatment of advanced arthritis, and growing demand for improved mobility and quality of life, the annual procedure volumes are projected to increase considerably in the future, making joint replacements the most common elective surgical procedures in the coming decades2,3 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4551172/ )Frequently, individuals are placed upon a regiment of pain meds to control the painful recovery process. Not only knee and hip replacements, but other surgeries often require the use of these medications. After the course of the medications run out, an increased number of individuals face unmanageable pain. As a result, we are facing what has been deemed an “opioid epidemic.” People are becoming hooked on pain killers, not because they want to “get high,” but because they cannot function without the meds. Eventually, people turn to the streets to get pills and other substances that will help to relieve their pain after they can no longer get the legal prescription drugs from their physicians…drugs that more than likely created this vicious cycle.
There is BIG MONEY associated with pain killers – not just for those selling street drugs but the drug manufacturers and the pharmaceutical companies that are the . Yet few if any conversations are being held to confront pharmaceutical companies about the composition of the drugs that appear to create damage to cartilage and muscles that induce and increase pain. If we are serious about addressing the opioid epidemic, we must expand the conversation to address the clandestine tactics of LEGAL drug companies. For the love of money, millions of lives are being devastated. We must go beyond drug rehab centers and Bible studies about self-control. We must begin to research and confront the pharmaceutical industry.
Selah… “Stop and think about that…”
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,