Comfortably Numb

opioid epidemic

Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

Pink Floyd’s 1979 song Comfortably Numb, resonates so well with what has happened within this empire. Thanks to Big Pharma, with assistance from the medical profession, Opioids have overwhelmed our nation. It started out with the push by the aforementioned criminal class to get people in pain hooked on these narcotics… but for ‘ To help them’.(Yeah, right, and I got this bridge in Brooklyn for sale, real cheap!) Then, as with all so called remedies, those NOT in physical pain began using them. Now, as a baby boomer, I can recall that back in the day, the 60s and 70s, qualudes were the ‘ In thing’, and  heroin became readily available, but you had to go ‘ Black Market’ to get  both of them. As far as amphetamines, I can remember my old family Doc, who made most of his money as a ‘ Diet Doc’. One day I had an appointment for a checkup and arrived a bit early. The line of women went from his waiting room right out into the stoop outside… all there for their weekly supply of uppers… sorry, diet pills. When it was my turn, he looked at me from his desk and said ‘ You know, sometimes I feel like a dope pusher’. Yet, only certain docs would prescribe ‘ Ludes’ as we called them, as the muscle relaxers they were intended to be. So, Opioids were always with us… but not like now!!

When Nixon, in the early 70s, did his ‘ War on drugs’ it was really a ‘ War on Marijuana’. He sent planes into Mexico to destroy the crops, spraying them with Paraquat, an insecticide. He also closed up the border a bit, and the price of pot skyrocketed. Meanwhile, suddenly heroin was available at a much lower price than before. I can remember seeing the teenagers who hung out at our schoolyard ( a few years younger than me) graduating from sniffing glue to shooting up. Two of them wound up DOA a few years later. Going to the beach during summer recess in the early 70s we would invariably see the usual bunch of ‘ down heads’ dancing around on the concrete promenade, stoned out of their faces. Me and my pals just stuck to smoking dope, thank goodness! So, the scent of narcotics was always there in dear old Amerika. Fast forward a few years later, in 1978, when I was hospitalized after shoulder surgery for a football injury. They had me on an IV filled with Percodan (narcotic). I did not know what they were giving me, and when I asked the Jamaican nurse, she enlightened me. ” No”, I demanded, ” Get me off this stuff!” She told me that my doctor needed to change the order. ” Call him! I don’t want that **** going in me!” It took them 45 minutes to reach my doctor. She came in and took off that bag and replaced it with another. ” He has you on a non narcotic pain reliever. OK?” I was elated. No more addictive drug for me. Well, perhaps an hour went by, and the shoulder pain increased dramatically. I rang for the nurse. ” Listen, I made a mistake. This new stuff is not getting rid of this tremendous pain ( shoulder injuries can be extremely painful). I need you to put me back on the Percodan… please!” She said she could not do so, without a doctor’s order. I was going wild in my bed, screaming for the Percodan. Finally, she got the resident on duty to come by. Seeing my condition, the doc just told her to go ahead and replace the IV with the Percodan. I can still close my eyes and recall that peaceful feeling as the warmth of the drug made its way through me.

Factoring out those out there who are in lots of pain from injury or illness, what of the overwhelming majority who are not in that group and are hooked on opioids? What makes them drive for literally hours to go interstate to get them at Pill Mills? This has been going on forever but… it’s the past 20 years we have seen the death rate from Opioid overdose increase by Six fold! As with the increase in narcotic abuse during the 60s , and the Crack Cocaine epidemic during the 80s, why then? It would take pages of explanations , but simply said the 60s were when this empire sent hundreds of thousands of young men to the killing fields of Vietnam in a connived war. Meanwhile, the disparities in wealth, especially for people of color, was obscene, along with the outright segregation in both the South and North ( Remember, Martin Luther King Jr. was attacked more viciously in Chicago than in Birmingham). It was a time when too many of us , especially those on the short end of the economic and military draft stick, just lost any hope for a better future. Of course, the 80s was when that infamous and brutal ‘ Reagan Revolution’ saw the gap between ‘ Haves’ and ‘ Have Nots’ widen tremendously. It was also the ‘ Me Decade’ when the race towards upward mobility created a new group, the Yuppies ( Young , Upwardly Mobile) that had the trademark Darwinian label of ‘ Survival of the Economic Fittest’. Of course, from Bush Sr.’s phony war on Iraq 1 to 9/11 to Bush Jr.’s phony war on Iraq 2, more of our citizens just lost hope…

And then Mr.’ Hope and Change’ came along to save the day… for Wall Street and the Military Industrial Empire. He succeeded in bamboozling so many low and middle income folks with his rhetoric vs. actions ( or inactions). The Subprime scam of the early 21st Century that he inherited gave him pause to do the right thing and come down hard on the crooks and scoundrels. Instead, he told Wall Street while campaigning for President that he kept the natives from coming after them with pitchforks!  We don’t have to even comment on this newest servant of the empire… the worst ever, if that is even possible. The real pandemic is the utter resignation of too many of us… especially our young. THAT is why Opioid use is going through the roof! God forbid, if this Two Party/One Party scam continues to suck up to the Super Rich ( who in actuality make up less than 1/2 of the 1%) the early 1930s will look like child’s play. When a men and women cannot support themselves properly, let alone their families, chaos will rule, and Opioid abuse will reign supreme! To quote from Pink Floyd ” Is there anybody out there?”

Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change,, and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 400 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid ‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected]



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