Today we are experiencing a crisis in the U.S. and especially in Mississippi. Deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers are increasing each year by a factor of 10. The number one killer of people under the age of 50 is opioid overdose. More people die from drug overdose than they do from gun violence or car wrecks.
Here are some facts about the opioid epidemic:
- Prescription drug overdoses account for nearly 60% of all drug overdose deaths. Of those deaths, 73% came from opioids.
- Mississippi doctors are a leading prescriber of opioid painkillers with the equivalent of approximately 70 opioid pills for every man, woman, and child in 2016.
- The number of painkiller prescriptions in Mississippi makes us the fifth highest per capita in the nation, with 1.07 prescriptions per person.
- In the state of Mississippi, there were 563 reported drug overdose deaths from 2013-2016 (MS Bureau of Narcotics). Of these, 481 deaths were related to opioid abuse
One of the most disturbing facts is the role pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and doctors played in this epidemic. Those we trusted to tell us the truth, to care for our well being and to protect us, have betrayed us. In the book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, Sam Quinones outlines how pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals and government health agencies contributed to this crisis.
In Dreamland we learn that pharmaceutical companies abandoned science and ignored facts to promote the wholesale use of opioid pain medication, making for themselves billions of dollars. We learn that doctors ignored lessons taught in medical school to accommodate demanding patients, and they accepted the pharmaceutical companies bad science because it was easier than taking the time to research and learn the truth. We also learn that government health agencies ignored facts and accepted fake science, often leading to agency heads receiving top positions in those very companies. While all of this was happening the average person was trading back pain for a doctor prescribed opioid addiction that may eventually kill them.
Much of our national addiction to opioid pain medication and heroin could have been avoided if someone had spoken up and someone had listened, but our medical professionals ostracized anyone who questioned their actions until it was too late and now many are suffering and dying.
Today we are told by the same pharmaceutical companies that lead us into the opioid crisis that every vaccine is safe. Those same companies that faked science to make billions of dollars on opioid painkillers have convinced the government to protect them from lawsuits over vaccine injuries and to increase the required number of vaccines from 11 in 1996 to over 50 today. They are making billions of dollars selling those vaccines.
Here are some facts about vaccines:
- In 1986, Congress passed a law where pharmaceutical companies can not be held liable for any injury to a child resulting from a vaccine
- Since 1986, the United States government has paid out over $3.75 billion to parents of vaccine injured children
- In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled vaccines “unavoidably unsafe”
- A CDC senior scientist and a chief author of the CDC’s 2004 study on the MMR vaccine and Autism, has released thousands of discarded documents showing that vaccines are indeed causing Autism, most significantly in black baby boys
- Mississippi children receive 49 doses of 15 vaccines before kindergarten
- Mississippi has the most heavily vaccinated children in the United States, yet 47 states have healthier children
The same doctors who ignored the science and refused to research the safety of opioid painkillers also tell us that vaccines are perfectly safe and to ignore anyone who says differently. And the same government agencies who sold our well being to pharmaceutical companies for the promise of top paying jobs also demand and require every child receive every vaccine produced.
Melody Winston, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services at the MS Department of Mental Health said, “People often think that just because a prescription came from a doctor, they don’t have anything to worry about when taking it. Every opioid prescription has the potential to lead to addiction, and unfortunately, that’s all too often how addiction has started for many Mississippians.”
If we believe Ms. Winston about the dangers of opioid prescription mediations, we could also conclude that just because a vaccine comes from a doctor, is hailed as safe by the pharmaceutical company and is promoted by a government health agency, that vaccines might also be harmful.
Based on the facts of history, my conclusion is that anyone who is not skeptical of the safety of vaccines is being negligent. Anyone who blindly trust the pharmaceutical companies, the doctors or the government health agencies is ignoring history. Do your homework because history proves your child’s health is in the balance.
Representative Dana Criswell represents District 6 in Olive Branch, MS.