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Things You Didn't Know About Opiates

image stolen from American Apothocary
The Atlantic has a great infographic about the history of opiates in both medical use and abuse. It is full of historical revelations including:

  • Laudanum was first formulated in the 1500s and is still available today by prescription.
  • Heroin was formulated to be a less addictive alternative to morphine.
  • Free samples of heroin were mailed out to try and help morphine addicts kick the habit. 
  • Oxycodone was created as a less addictive substitute for heroin. 
Dig a little deeper and you'll find that:
  • The whole infographic is actually advertorial created by Purdue Pharma 
  • Purdue Pharma manufactures Dilaudid, MSContin, OXYcontin and other opiates. 
What Purdue doesn't sell is Suboxone - a medication that blocks both the craving of opiate addiction and the side effects of withdrawal. With critics pointing to evidence that 12 Step programs don't work for 90 percent of addicts.  Why aren't more people using Suboxone to help kick the habit? Dying to Be Free is a long-form article on addiction and overdose that asks that question while telling the story of an addict who tried to make it on his own and failed. 

The Washington Post reports that there are limitations on prescribing Suboxone because of it's potential for abuse -- even though it is safer that Methadone on prescription pain killers. Some doctors who prescribe Suboxone think the limits are arbitrary.  

"We don't have a patient limit for anything else we do," one MD told the Washington Post. "I can prescribe oxycodone to a thousand patients." 

 A Brief History of Opiates it really is pretty interesting.
Why is Suboxone so hard to get? The Washington Post
Dying to Be Free from the HuffPo
The Cause of Addiction is Not What You Think (at least in rats) by author Johann Hari for the HuffPo

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