The opioid crisis in America: the trap of pain killers and the indifference of the media ruined a generation
In the nineties, American doctors declared war on pain. The scientists at the time had good intentions, but their assumption was wrong: no one can be completely free from pain, because it is not a measurable sensation, but a highly subjective feeling.
In 1995, the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma released OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, advertising this opioid as a harmless medicine that carried no risk of addiction. However, opioids such as oxycodone became a death sentence for many.
In spite of the fact that pain had been classified in 2001 as the “fifth vital” by the Joint Commission, along with body temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart rate, which had long been used to measure a person’s vital signs, too often people were turning to pain killers. Over the last twenty years, the average life expectancy of Americans has decreased greatly, and this decrease is directly linked to the “oxycodone epidemic”.
Only in 2016, during the election campaign for the Presidency, did the mass media begin to shed light on Purdue Pharma’s involvement, which by then had enjoyed a decade of obscurity.
The key ideas of "The Fifth Vital"
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