A Heroin Addict’s Message To President Trump Redux

A Heroin Addict’s Message To President Trump Redux
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<p><strong>Every 8 minutes an American dies!</strong></p>

Every 8 minutes an American dies!


Mr. President, a little over a year ago, I used my Contributor’s Platform at the Huffington Post to appeal to your duty as President of the United States, not just your responsibility to your base, but to all Americans.

As I said back then, I didn’t vote for you, Mr. Trump. You see, I was born with a brain injury. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston told my parents I’d never be able to walk normally.

Young children are mean. My early childhood was filled with insults and laughs. When I walked into a classroom, a restaurant, or down a street, people didn’t look into my eyes. They always looked down as I limped awkwardly along.

But I overcame and became a varsity athlete at a prep school outside of Boston. As a teenager, I grew strong, and anybody that made fun of my limp or my awkward gate became irrelevant.

Frankly, Mr. Trump, the day you mocked a disabled reporter should have been the end of your presidential candidacy. People who are less fortunate than you physically or mentally should never be tormented because they have a different view. We are Americans and Americans are better than that.

That said, I was all for giving you a chance to “make America great again,” back then. Sure, your past is strewn with well-documented mistakes, but as a recovering heroin addict, who the hell am I to say you can’t change?

But, Mr. President, you have done close to nothing to bolster my support for you amongst my colleagues over the past 12 months. Sir, writers, have a say, “Show me. Don’t tell me.” Or maybe better said, “Talk is cheap.”

Mr. President, I implore you to refocus your efforts on the heroin epidemic that is running rampant and crushing the American dream in every state in the Union. We are losing, and we are losing at a rate of 179 American every single day.

Sir, that is a United States Citizen that dies from an accidental overdose of opioids every 8 minutes.

Mr. President, that just isn’t right. In fact, if one of your companies were hemorrhaging money at the same downward spiral, you’d fire those in charge and hire somebody to stop the bleeding.

Please, get off Twitter. Forget about insulting people who do not believe as you believe. Become the President that stopped the worst health crisis in America’s history

I understand that the stigma and moral issues of heroin addiction run deep. Today’s heroin epidemic parallels the AIDS epidemic of the 70s. The old school philosophy back then was, “Men having sex with men. It’s not natural. That’s God’s punishment.”

Although the diction has changed, the sentiment remains constant today. “I didn’t force them to stick a needle of heroin into their arm. Why should I be forced to pay for their rehabilitation?”

But you see, we are not junkies, Mr. President. I am almost three decades clean, have won the du-Pont Columbia as a journalist, written two books, became a WGA screenwriter and worked on The Fighter, a feature film that won two Academy Awards.

I have spoken to organizations and recovery centers all across America. And what amazed me the most were the rooms were filled with middle-class kids whose fathers were chief’s of police, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, and doctors.

But make no mistake about it, Mr. President, this epidemic was given birth by Purdue Pharma and corporate greed. In fact, the Sacklers, the Godfathers of OxyContin, rang in at number 19 on Forbes 2015 annual list of America’s richest families.

The Sacklers and Purdue Pharma acquired a fortune with the blood of young Americans. They were convicted in Federal Court of knowingly and willfully misleading consumers. By the way, it was your friend Rudy Guliani’s law firm that got them off with a sweetheart deal.

When you became President of the United States, you had an opportunity to change all this. But the situation has only worsened. In fact, experts predict that if the epidemic continues to run like “business as usual, “ the United States of America will bury between 500,000 to 750,000 Americans in the next ten years.

Mr. President, please, let us call a donkey a donkey. The day you had a press conference and declared the heroin epidemic a National Emergency, I was Live on an MSNBC panel to discuss the crisis. Sir, that day was a “dog and pony.” It did nothing, ZERO, to change the direction of pain and suffering for countless moms and dads who had to bury their children since that spectacle.

Yes, Mr. Trump, I feel bad that your brother drank himself to death and I am happy you took his advice and never have drunk alcohol. But this is NOT about you, sir. This is about an oath you swore to uphold. Be bold. Find a solution.

And there is a solution. Create a “sin tax” similar to the cigarette and alcohol tax levied by several states. If big Pharma wants to do business on the backs of the American consumers suffering from chronic pain, make them pay a “recovery tax.”

Create a work program for heroin addicts that want help. A simple, we’ll pay for your thirty-day recovery hospital and continued care, and you’ll work cleaning up roads or run down areas of your community to pay for it.

Designate a line on the IRS tax forms for people to donate a dollar or more to help put an end to the suffering brought on by the countless deaths of promising young men and woman.

Mr. President, you have a daunting task in front of you. But you can’t “make America great again” by allowing lobbyist and Big Pharma to direct the outcome of this crisis for profit. Big Pharma controls the United States Congress. Big Pharma created this opioid epidemic.

Sir, why are we shocked that Big Pharma does not want the epidemic to end. It is all about the “Benjamins.”

Mr. President, we all have our right as Americans to shape our own opinions, but we don’t have a right to invent facts. On June 22, 2017, Time Magazine reported the following facts:

  • In 2016, the pharmaceutical companies that make opioid painkillers raked in $8.6 billion in sales for 336 million opioid prescriptions, according to the data firm QuintilesIMS. That’s enough to give pain pills to 9 out of every 10 American adults.
  • Analysts estimate that the follow-on opioid market is worth at least $3 billion a year. Given current trends, some project that it will top $6 billion by 2022.
  • Pharmaceutical companies made billions promoting the aggressive prescribing of opioids. Now they’ll make billions from treating the consequences of overprescription.
  • Three of the main companies that make naloxone products raised the prices on their drugs as demand increased. From 2005 to 2014, Hospira, which was purchased by Pfizer in 2015, increased the list price of its 10-milliliter injectable naloxone pack by 2,300 percent, from $9 to $220, according to data from Truven Health Analytics. From 2001 to 2014, the list price for Amphastar’s 20-milliliter naloxone pack jumped 175 percent, from $120 to $330. Kaléo raised the price of Evzio, its naloxone auto-injector, by 550 percent. When it was first introduced in 2014, it cost $575. In 2016, it was $3,750.

Mr. President, do these figures seem right to you? At what point do they become criminal?

I have a 12-year-old son that is on the brink of growing up in a society that will be the most dangerous environment in America’s history. You see, Mr. President, not since your predecessor, Lydon Johnson, has the youth of America been more in jeopardy.

Think about it; not since the Vietnam War has a generation been at greater risk to die between the ages of 18 to 25. Please help them.

Ritchie Farrell is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, I Am a Heroin Addict

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

Follow Richard Farrell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ritchiefarrell1

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