The phrase spoken in Netflix’s new “Painkiller”:
“All of human behavior is essentially comprised of two things: running away from pain and toward pleasure…….its a cycle….
This circle is our existence . It is the very essence of what it means to be human, being alive. But if we place ourselves right there between pain and pleasure…WE become the gatekeepers for everyone who wants to get away from pain then we have changed the world…….
Then you will never have to worry about money ever again”.https://www.netflix.com/title/81095069?preventIntent=true
This is the basic premise to the Sacklers fortune and the subject of many lawsuits and legislation. It’s also the basis of tremendous suffering of many people for years as they navigate the consequences of addiction and the cause of many tragic deaths affecting millions of families.
"A drug you never knew you needed"....
Was the sales pitch….
But then later one of the Sacklers states:
"I am appalled that someone would abuse this drug".
As a nurse, I see the residual effects of Sacklers pain pitch every single day. The pain scale is still taken as gospel and still used extensively and the Joint Commission which oversees hospitals, has the authority to inflict fines and reduce privileges and operations if pain is not addressed.
As a mom of a chaotic substance user I have walked in the depths of the Sacklers’ business model manifested as homelessness, incarceration, bankruptcy, endocarditis, congestive heart failure, sepsis, MRSA, coma, and progressive crimes to obtain the “pleasure”,
“For a minute people actually think they are getting their lives back. And they do. For a little while”
My son was the perfect model for this. He said when he was at the height of his pill use, he was the most productive he’s ever been. He also said everyone looked up to him and worshiped him. The minute they cracked down on pills, he was also the poster child for turning to cheaper and “more” accessible ways to manage his sickness. Then all bets were off. He would lose everything over the next 3 years. What bothered him the most, I believe, was losing the respect from family and friends. He was still essentially the same person trying to get by, now thrust into a world of illegal drugs, sketchy behavior to get said drugs and the loss of the ability to take care of himself and his responsibilities.
This is what struck me the most while watching the first 3 episodes of Painkiller. The irony of how quickly someone can go from being “ok” to society then have the wrath of “not ok” with all the stigma plus the world of the correctional system bearing down on them for essentially trying to manage an illness with drugs that are mostly the same. One just happens to be illegal.
I know that people who haven’t had a personal experience with addiction will have their opinion on it and might blow off movies like “Painkiller, Dopesick” and the one I based the info in my book on: “The Business of Drugs”.
“They should have known better”
“Everyone knows drugs are addictive”
Or my favorite:
“Play stupid games win stupid prizes” said by someone who is very smart and never does anything wrong, ever.
Education and awareness is great but if you don’t have horses in the game, you don’t really care who “wins”.
As I go about trying to live a normal life with this weight always in the pit of my stomach; I notice this attitude throughout my interactions.
People are all going through their own struggles, and although addiction, homelessness, court hearings, jail, prison and related health issues are an immense burden to bear; others problems are big to them too.
As I was treating myself to getting my nails done the other day, I became fixated on the disparity of my nail lady’s “perceived” life and house and my life and house. Everything was high end, posh, in its place, comfy, cozy, and screamed success. As she talked about her pool cover being broken, having to pay for her boat to be cleaned, her dogs at boarding school, the struggle of buying skimpy school clothes for her teenager; I became more and more depressed. What I wouldn’t give to have what she had and wander around all day watering flowers and ordering fingernail polish instead of worrying about where my son is sleeping and if he’s eating and watching my phone for any number with his area code that could mean trouble and despair.
But when I got home and relayed all of my thoughts to my husband, he wisely told me: “Many people envy our life too, we have good jobs, lots of family, a safe -albeit small- condo, and a fridge full of food”.
He forgot to mention the most important thing--someone who loves us.
The Sacklers’ story is an interesting one. They are portrayed as uncaring and unapologetic. They seem to believe that money will solve everything and fix any problems they created.
With money comes more options and opportunities but also different types of problems.
Would I trade my problems for others’? Some days. Would I want all the Sacklers billions? No, not if it’s blood money. Do I think having a few hundred thousand would solve most of my problems? Yes. But as it is, I am blessed beyond belief at what I do have.
As my mama always said: "If you have your health you have everything".
My husband and I have our health, a safe and comfy home, food and vehicles and family.
Blessed beyond belief but yes, still praying for my prodigal son and all the issues surrounding that to be resolved and healed.
The other thing I realized is I can be mad all day long at the cause of addiction that barged its way into my family, but that’s not going to solve the problem. It’s not going to give my son an Intervention and break from his lifestyle. It’s not going to repair damaged relationships. It’s not going to miraculously change mindsets, and habits, and hurt feelings. All of those things have to be worked on constantly and intentionally by ALL involved.
All I can do is stay strong, healthy and loving. I will continue to get my nails done because it is a bright spot every minute of every day when I see my cute nails. It makes me think that one thing is right in this moment.