Ultimately, users are responsible for their opioid overdose deaths

Tuesday , April 10, 2018 - 6:00 AM2 comments

This letter is regarding the heightened publicity about the rising numbers of deaths caused by overdosing on opioids (legal and/or illegal). I am very concerned about the current push to force pharmaceutical companies to halt manufacture of opioid pain medications such as oxycodone, Dilaudid, fentanyl and other legal drugs in the same category.

When are we going to acknowledge where the true responsibility lies for abusing and sometimes overdosing on various opioids? Neither legitimate nor illicit manufacturers of opioids force anyone to take any drugs. The user makes that choice.

Should we prohibit the manufacture of bed pillows because people sometimes smother a victim with a pillow? Or prohibit the manufacture and sales of automobiles because people die in car crashes? I am not a firearm fan, but I have enough sense to realize that guns don't kill anyone all by themselves. There is always a human being behind every shooting.

I do have empathy for the families who have lost loved ones to opioid overdose, and I feel sad that so many people have become addicted to opioids. But I believe we are attacking this hideous, deadly epidemic from the wrong angle.

I suggest we pour our energy and money into treating drug addiction and into proactive prevention of abuse and addiction. We seem to have become a nation of people unwilling to accept accountability and responsibility for our own actions. Now that is truly sad.

Catherine Metzenbaum


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