May 30, 2017 Felicia Durling

“Side Effects May Include”

Medicine - Side Effects - DrugsThe Washington Post has reported on some of the most eye opening areas of the opioid epidemic not previously investigated. In “The Drug Industry’s Answer To Opioid Addiction: More Pills”, the publication looks at the multi billion dollar market for treating pill problems with more pill solutions.

According to the report, six out of every ten American adults take prescription drugs. Prescription drug marketing is unique to America. Few other countries in the world advertise prescription medications with the vigor and intensity of American pharmaceutical companies. Watch any commercial for a new medication and be joined in laughter by the end. The off scene narrator speeds up their voice quickly running through a list which starts with “side effects may include”. Some commercials are being more coy about their side effects mentioning them casually in character conversations. Of course, every commercial ends with gentle guidance. If you are concerned, ask your doctor.

Complaining about side effects caused to a prescription medication usually results in a new prescription, which, of course, will have its own side effects, only to be met with another. One of the top markets for this endless cycle is the opioid market. The Post reports that the opioid market is now worth $10 billion dollars. Opioids as a market don’t just include prescription painkillers- they include the drugs for addiction, overdose, and treating side effects.

According to the article each submarket is worth $1 billion in annual sales. With so much profit to be made, pharmaceutical companies are less interested in fighting the war on opioids. Instead, they are interested in making money on treating the war’s side effects. “If opioid addiction disappeared tomorrow,” the article states, “it would wipe billions of dollars from the drug companies’ bottom lines.”

Just how much money? Prescription medication for treating side effects brought in up to an estimated $4.8 billion dollars, more than half of the $9.57 billion dollars made by opioids themselves.

Problematically, we are stuck in a rut of constantly looking to man made answers to man made problems. Suffering is a side effect of the human experience. What we truly need is more spiritual healing and less medicating.


The Center For Life Change offers a program for treating opioid addiction rooted in the proven combination of faithful healing and evidence based methods. For more information on our programs of treatment, call 951-775-4000.

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