What an 1890s opioid epidemic can teach us about ending addiction today
By HAIDER J. WARRAICH FEBRUARY 11, 2020
In the ’90s, chronic pain was rampant in America. Opioids, which had previously been taboo, were suddenly being prescribed by doctors. A supposedly safer opioid had been developed which, as a physician wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, was “not a hypnotic” and carried no “danger of acquiring the habit.”
This movement created a monster, addicting millions of Americans to opioids. Global overproduction fueled even more demand and, as authorities clamped down, many of those addicted to these medicines turned to more potent ones, making an overdose only a minor miscalculation away.
I’m referring, of course, to the eighteen nineties, which eerily echo how the modern opioid epidemic emerged a century later.
The 1890s and 1990s were both characterized by unopposed amplification of the benefits of opioids, the transformation of physicians into unabashed cheerleaders, and the central role of China – first as a global consumer of opium and later as a manufacturer of fentanyl. In the 1890s, the compound marketed by Bayer to supposedly treat morphine addiction was heroin, while in the 1990s, the drug made by Purdue Pharmaceuticals and marketed as a painkiller with low potential for abuse and addiction was OxyContin For more go to … We Have Been Here Before — Are We That Stupid, or Just…..?