Jan 30, 2022 – Late 19th Century Opiates in the US – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 410

Bill and Rachel discuss syringes, morphine, laudanum, the American Civil War, “women’s problems,” and the ongoing debate among historians today about how to understand opiate use and addiction in the late 19th century United States.

Links and notes for ep. 410 (PDF): http://arsenalfordemocracy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/AFD-Ep-410-Links-and-Notes-Late-19th-Century-Opiates-in-the-US.pdf

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

One state’s political fringe becomes the rest of our problem

Flag_of_Missouri-cropSo it turns out that a recklessly irresponsible fringe in Missouri politics is determined to help the rest of the country die of prescription drug abuse as fast as is logistically possible, even as pretty much every other state is losing its mind trying to figure out how to stop the prescription drug abuse and opiate/heroin abuse problem from spiraling even further out of control. You think I’m being hyperbolic? Buckle up.

The New York Times reports on the story in an article headlined “Missouri Alone in Resisting Prescription Drug Database” :

Drug monitoring programs, whose procedures and powers can vary significantly from state to state, all share a similar strategy: to require doctors, pharmacists or both to enter all prescriptions into a database that can — or, in some states, must — be consulted later to make sure patients do not get excess medication.

Because many states’ programs appear effective, Missouri has been urged to put one into effect. Among those calling for a change are Missouri medical associations, members of Congress from neighboring states, the White House and even Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the St. Louis-based manufacturer of oxycodone, the highly abused prescription painkiller.

Seems reasonable so far. Every other state has got a database (with great results in many cases), the key players (including a major local drug maker) are on board, and it seems like common sense. So why hasn’t it happened yet? Let’s read on together…

But while proponents say the vast majority of the Legislature supports the measure, it has been blocked by a small group of lawmakers led by State Senator Rob Schaaf, a family physician who argues that allowing the government to keep prescription records violates personal privacy.

And then one of the most astonishing things I’ve ever read in a New York Times article came right after that (emphasis added): Read more