David Sklar, PhD, ACSW
The Current Opiate Epidemic
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I was a psychotherapist in a methadone clinic in the early eighties for two years. I left right before the Aides epidemic ravaged the heroin community. Opiate use, back then, was primarily Heroin, Codeine, Dilaudid, and Vicodin . Although available, prescription medication was not as easy to procure. Heroin, by far was the number one choice for most addicts. I was struck back then, and still am today about the aspect of bad luck involved in heroin use. Heroin has always been illegal, difficult, and often dangerous to buy. It is easy to smoke weed, drink, do little coke, and never run into heroin. I opened many a door at a party and saw people snorting something. I have never, ever, seen, or been aware of anyone shooting up heroin. Same with most of my contemporaries. There are drugs you will run into just living life, and a few drugs that you usually only meet through an introduction. Heroin is usually through a friend or chance meeting. Most of the clients at the clinic were on the fringes of society. Cocaine was a bigger concern because if effected mainstream America. Cocaine, as an example, was a substance you were going to run into. The first time I snorted Cocaine was when somebody put it under my nose in the bathroom of a synagogue before a wedding. That is what I call running into a drug. This happens with alcohol and pot, but not usually heroin.
The current opiate epidemic obviously coincides with the creation of Oxycodone Fentanyl, and a number of other powerful prescription narcotic medication. Average Joe walks into office with back pain, uses his workingman's insurance, and walks out with a refillable prescription for sixty Oxycodone. Average Joe was not looking to get high. He just wanted what was advertised, safe pain relief. Average Betty goes to the dentist for a root canal. Thirty Percocets, call me if you need more. The current opiate epidemic was created in a dentist or physicians office. . It involves thousands of people who went to the doctor for pain relief, not to get high. These people had a negative history for drug addiction. They had no desire to get high.
In addition, unlike former heroin epidemics, the current epidemic has been obscenely profitable for corporations, advertisers and physicians.Main Street America has become addicted, and Main Street America has made a boatload of money.