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I’ve heard more opinions than I can count regarding the opioid epidemic now that there seems to be a legal frenzy to sue pharmaceutical companies for creating a demand for their product by knowingly turning patients into addicts.

Here’s mine.

Did pharmaceutical companies do that? Yes, there is no question that they knew opioids were highly addictive. Regardless of that, they marketed their product and pushed it as a safe alternative to other medications. Physicians, who knew better or should have known better, began prescribing opioid products and people began popping them like candy.

Sadly, companies that create addiction in order to generate revenue are not a new concept. Look at tobacco companies. They knew their product was addictive, and they knew the dangers of their product to its users and people exposed to secondhand smoke. Regardless of that, they marketed their product as safe, funded testing that would only support their claims and began targeting certain ages, races, genders, communities, etc. They created a demand and watched the money roll in.

The “war” against tobacco companies and their product deception has been going on for a decades. Has their product been taken off the shelf? No. In fact, nothing much has happened to the big tobacco companies. People continue to smoke and new users are born every day.

Speaking of new users, what really bothers me is secondhand smoke around children. People know the dangers – despite the fact tobacco companies originally said there was no danger to nonusers – yet people continue to smoke around children. It bothers me tremendously to see it.

They do it in their car and in their house. If you don’t care about your health, could you at least care about your child’s and smoke outside? Is that too much to ask that you not endanger your child’s health?
If lawmakers are seeking their next rule, how about making smoking around children illegal. We require parents to use car seats to protect them, but mom and dad are allowed to fill the car up with deadly secondhand smoke and that’s OK?

Now that lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies over opioids have begun, they will rage for years like the lawsuits against big tobacco. In the meantime, people will still have access to both products and will continue to die. Because of that, let’s stop pointing the dirty finger at who’s initially to blame and start focusing on ourselves.

I’ve always been an advocate of personal responsibility. It might not be your fault that you were prescribed an addictive medication. However, there was a moment when you knew something was wrong.

At that time and thereafter, you had a choice to make. Take responsibility for your life and what you want from it.

Laying blame and making excuses won’t get you anywhere. Eliminate blame. Eliminate excuses. Take control.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.