Safford: Mainstream Media Doesn’t Understand The Opioid Crisis


We have an opioid crisis on our hands in America, but not for the reasons you’d expect. True, only users are overdosing. But the blame extends beyond their own poor choices. It would be nice if the media understood the issue, but naturally, it doesn’t.

Control isn’t always a good thing and there can be side effects.

As we crack down on doctors over prescribing opioids we are creating a hostile environment that didn’t exist before. Users are turning to whatever they can get their hands on.

Fentanyl is more readily available and produces a similar high. Even at a low dose, it’s a deadly substance. It is killing people.

When the market was flooded with over prescribed opioids these people weren’t dying. The drug companies were hauling in their profits. Instead, rehab became an issue. As people tried to get off of the prescribed opioids the costs often fell on the state-run programs. Methadone and Suboxone have costs. Someone must pay.

Forget The Legacy Media

In the end you’d expect that tightening the belt loops on opioid prescriptions would reduce the overdoses. Think again: it’s doing the opposite. The fentanyl being substituted for the harder to get opioids is what’s killing these people. When the opioids were easier to get fentanyl was rarely used.  Unsurprisingly, the number of opioid related overdoses was considerably lower.

But who is going to tell you this–the mainstream (legacy) media? Don’t make me laugh.

The mainstream media wouldn’t even know how to approach this subject even if they didn’t have an agenda. The blame would fall on the people making the push to take opioid prescriptions off of the market. How are you going to tell someone that their actions that were meant to stop something from happening are actually making it worse?

You can’t.

If you want to see less people dying from opioid use then it’s the only way. I’ve seen cases where people in physical pain turn to the street for Percocet because their doctor no longer had the power to prescribe it. They died from a single use of fentanyl laced pills.

A Misunderstood Crisis

Why are we creating this problem? Why are we making it worse?

As a nation we do this all of the time. The same actions are being dealt with in gun control. Sure you can make things illegal and take them off the market but bad people that want to do bad things will certainly find a way. Taking the rights of others away because some can’t handle themselves is ludicrous.

Firearms should be monitored like automobiles. Their should be mandatory training. Every firearm should be registered with a title. They should be more heavily taxed. The ammunition mhst b e more heavily monitored. Do you realize that in America it’s easier to buy 50 rounds than it is to buy 50 Sudafed? That’s insane. But then again, we have a War on Drugs.

We need control but we don’t need panic control. When we panic we get ‘opioid crisis’ results. We created this. We are making it worse. The only way to stop it is to go backwards. People HATE going backwards.

But that’s what we’re doing. As we drudge forward dragging our mistakes closely behind we can expect our youth to get dumber. They are already putting Tide Pods in their mouth as you read this. Whats next? Russian roulette? Real life Frogger on route 95?

Moving Backwards

We need to step back and see the big picture. People get so wrapped up in the issues and what they personally think to be right and wrong. I get it that you don’t support that guy taking Oxycontin. But when you take it away he is going to move on to what’s left. When you take it all away he is going to start finding a way to steal it. When you lock it up he is going to start making his own.

Control breeds crime and homemade narcotics and both are extremely dangerous. More people will die. More crimes will occur. We need to find an acceptable middle and allow doctors to resume prescribing medication that works and not make people in pain feel like criminals for asking.

We are both the problem and the solution. We need to be better. And that starts with a better media.

James Safford
James Safford is a member of the Scituate Land Trust and Conservation Commission. He has authored multiple books and sees politics though a bipartisan viewpoint. Send him email at