Several years ago, I was privileged to sit on a committee that was working for the greater good of the medical patients’ experience. A sub-committee that I was asked to join was that of the chemical dependency/substance abuse policy development. It was an honor to be involved with these outstanding physicians, attendings and residents, clinical psychologist, nurses, medical assistants and the call nurses. These individuals had a conscience. This policy was in response to the growing epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose. Over weeks of review, surveys and discussion, the policy was set, because these individuals had a conscience. They and their colleagues new this opioid epidemic was a problem, not just locally, but nationally. They didn’t wait for the government to give them guidelines; they worked their solution on their own; they had a conscience. The pain management and safety of their patients was the goal.
There was no “he said, she said”, “that’s a liberal view vs. a conservative view”. Of course there were differing points of view; however, the safety of the patient was the goal, and that is what prevailed. During one of the meetings, a resident spoke up and made a comment that I will never forget; I admired her so much for stating this, and it left me feeling extremely positive about the young residents moving on and knowing that their future patients would be in good hands. She stated that this policy would be something that she would carry with her, wherever the next phase of her career took her. She would share this policy, each and every place that she worked. She would do her part in putting a clamp on a problem. She and the others, they had a conscience.
Honestly, I never felt that our goverment would have any part in mending this problem of an opioid epidemic, for several reasons. Too much money comes from big pharma, and it’s been going on too long, through several administrations that all claim that they want to eradicate the epidemic, yet it continues. Then on February 9, 2018, this ray of sunshine runs across my newsfeed:
Purdue Pharma L.P. Issues Statement on Opioid Promotion
STAMFORD, Conn. – February 9, 2018 – Purdue Pharma L.P. issued the following statement today:
We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and our sales representatives will no longer promote opioids to prescribers.
Hmmm, a national epidemic of opioid addiction, could it be on the turn-a-round? Could a company that has made an astronomical amount of money on other peoples’ pain, finally be developing a conscience? That would be nice; however, the facts would suggest it’s due to the numerous lawsuits, from people who have had enough.
So, now to the most recent national crisis, or should I say ongoing. Assault weapons, mainly the AR-15, originally developed for military combat are now the easiest to obtain and most used weapon to prey upon our vulnerable school children and educators. I say that these individuals are vulnerable only because they are left without a strong defense. How many of these senseless acts of violence are going to take away precious lives, before anyone realizes that those lives are more important than the profit margin. Personally, I would imagine that supplying the military forces, S.W.A.T. teams and other law enforcement departments just might be enough to meet the sacred bottom line.
Someone needs to feel the real pressure, other than our students and educators, and if you think our educational system is broken, who the hell do you think broke it. The educators, not only educate, they counsel, they befriend the bullied, and now, due to the neglect of this gun issue, they are now qualified to include first-responder on their resume`.
Who should feel the pressure? Let’s start with those that don’t seem to have a conscience. There are plenty of complaints towards this current administration; however, let’s remember that this is not the first school shooting. There have been many school shootings under other administrations, and yet nothing has been done. If you want to blame the Republicans for getting in the way, go ahead; however, it still won’t solve this national nightmare. Personally, I’m tired of the “it’s their fault”, “no, it’s their fault”. That’s nothing more than a pissing match, at best. How about this…it’s everybody’s fault, that is willing to sell his or her soul for the sake of the bottom line. If everyone spends so much time bantering back and forth playing the blame game, this issue will go ignored until we have reason to be infuriated, yet again. This issue should not be a Republican vs. Democrat issue, liberal vs. conservative. It’s good vs. evil, and when things go this terribly wrong, affecting our fellow human beings, someone needs to step up. Find your conscience.
Does anyone think that Congress or this Administration is going to take a courageous stand? Do they have a conscience? Not feeling it, so far. So let’s look to another entity. How about the gun manufacturers, themselves? Do they have a conscience? Doubt it very much, as I haven’t heard any “breaking news” that all AR-15’s have been pulled from the consumer market. Did you know that in 1988, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the sale of all lawn darts, as the game was responsible for the deaths of three children? Apparently, times have changed, or maybe someone had a conscience.
Thinking of the many individuals that make up the above groups, I have to wonder… do you have children, grandchildren, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, or anyone that remotely resembles that of the victims of these fatal shootings. Any of you have family members or friends that work in the educational system? Would that make it so you had a conscience? Just when did you lose your soul?
Now some of you may be thinking that I want all guns banned, and that I’m an individual that has no respect for our Constitution, and the rights that we have been given through this document. Quite the opposite, as I believe in the importance of these rights for all of us, especially for those that are in our care – the children. We’ve been given these rights, as citizens of the United States; however, the lack of: common sense, respect and accountability seems to be wreaking havoc on the First and Second Amendments. When catastrophes happen, that’s when the rules of the game need adjusting, and I’m pretty certain these recent events just might meet the definition of a “catastrophe”.
The fact that this AR-15 rifle fell through cracks, as far as its consumer marketability, years ago, is a huge mistake that needs to be rectified. It’s not important who rectifies this issue, just that some responsible group of people gets the job done, correctly.
Mental health funding has been cut, so individuals that need help don’t receive the assistance that they need. They, too, have fallen through the cracks. Find some funding for this desperately needed issue. The money is there within the budget; it simply needs to be made a priority.
The combination of both of these issues falling through the cracks, or being overlooked has presented us with an extremely disastrous combination.
I implore you: President Trump, Congressmen/Congresswomen, Senators, NRA and gun/weapon manufacturers…please find your conscience, rattle the cages of your colleagues or allow your cage to be rattled, and if you can’t, please kindly step down. There is a new generation coming your way, and I’d be willing to bet that they will make the change; they’ll rectify this nightmare that you’ve ignored.