Having written so much about British opiate use, Dalrymple now points, in Pajamas Media, to increasing overdoses in America, including in Steve’s and my home state:
In Oklahoma, for example, methadone…was implicated in the deaths of 21 people between 1994 and 1996; but between 2004 and 2006 it was implicated in the deaths of 377 people….The figures in the same state in the same years for hydrocodone were 9 and 220, for oxycodone 1 and 220, and for fentanyl 2 and 78, respectively. It seems that abuse of such drugs on a large scale is now happening, and diversion on to the black market also.
He argues that an increased rate of chronic pain among the population is not the cause of this rise, but rather the effect:
The nearest analogy I can think of is with the increase in sickness benefits paid out by the British state. As the population became healthier and healthier in the 1990s, as demonstrated by objective measures, so it included more and more people allegedly incapable of work for health reasons. The British welfare state thus achieved the miracle of producing more invalids than the First World War: millions of them in fact.
Could it be that one of the largest causes of chronic pain among 35- to 54-year-old Americans is access to opioid drugs?