The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

It Matters


Cary sent me a link. Drug shipments. It was shocking, yet not surprising. We are inundated with stories of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia (and the nation). But can we explain how legitimate business is palpably linked to illegitimate business? How many of the 20 million pills to Williamson WV can be bought on the street? Big money. Roughly $1/milligram I was told. How many milligrams in 20 million pills? Get the calculator!

Have you watched Heroin(e)? How about Heroin Cape Cod? Oxyana? It’s devastating when you’re convinced the addict is winning the battle only to learn that the ending is death. The person is still alive on the screen with a life worth living. And for the ones who are still alive at the end, there is yet hope for celebrations of sobriety. And negativity because addiction always has a grip. Addiction—hanging out, hoping to be welcomed back.

This is a personal story. There are anniversary celebrations. I’m happy as the days pass and hold back shadowy fears. But the taunting voice is never muted. It reminds me not to get too secure. I made such a mistake once and don’t want to be caught off guard again. But I will be. I inevitably let my guard down as time passes.

Do the distributors of this overdose of 20 million pills to one town know the last stop? Ask questions? Follow the chain? Well, lobbyists were hired to castrate the DEA’s efforts to stem that magnitude of flow from distributors. They know.

Following Cary’s text came Too Many Pills on Reveal. Same subject. How Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act advocated by Representative Tom Marino from my state of Pennsylvania performed the work of those lobbyists. He didn’t do us proud; he proved a poor neighbor to West Virginians. And for the podcast, he refused comment. Was it because he couldn’t defend the bill he sponsored? The one that performed the castration? What was offered for the need of such a bill? That the DEA was withholding pain meds from legal sufferers. Sounds good. Sounds valid. People needed their pain pills. And it also sounds a little manipulative and guilt-inducing. Do I want people to suffer in pain?

No, I don’t want them to suffer. But I’ve also listened to a ton of stories of people who became addicts beginning with those pills. So caution and alternatives. But that’s OK because when we tell their stories, we’re sure to start with how it all began innocently with a pain pill. It wasn’t the foolish start of those who just wanted to escape other life pain or the cheap party thrill. Except it doesn’t really matter how it starts, because it ends the same.

Shutting down the flow doesn’t stop addiction. It’s just a step in the labyrinth. Let’s not pretend we buy into reasoning the this bill was in support of people in pain or that all those pills are being filled with legitimate prescriptions.

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