(by Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP)
Did you see the Super Bowl ad about opioid-induced constipation? Did you do a double take when you read the previous sentence? You should have! I saw the ad. I could not believe what I was seeing and all that it implied; and how unbelievably messed up the United States is when it comes to prescription and illegal drugs.
Here is the play by play. The advertisement was intended to raise awareness of opioid-induced constipation, and was paid for by two drug makers marketing a drug to treat it.
But what does this mean? It means that there is a big enough population of people that are hooked on legally prescribed opioids (aka OxyContin and others) that big pharma thinks it is a good investment to spend 1 million dollars a minute on an ad for some of those people that have a hard time going number 2!
This is simply stunning!
All over the news, people are bemoaning the heroin epidemic that has besieged the United States. But this is not the real epidemic. The real epidemic is that people are getting hooked on legal opioid prescriptions or illegal use of legal opioid prescriptions. It turns out that on the street, oxycodone and the like are very expensive. So eventually people move to a cheaper substitute: heroin. No legally manufactured opioid – much less heroin use.
For years now, the pharmaceutical industry has been advertising on TV. The supposed goal is to inform the public about what is available to treat their ills. These ads continue to promote the hypnotic spell that the solution to our problems is some product: a medication, a new car, some sugary cereal or whatever. We should not miss the irony that this ad was aired during the Super Bowl – you know, the sport that brings you pain and concussion by the ton.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-drug per se. After shoveling a lot of snow, I like my ibuprofen as much as the next guy. But I also think you need to learn how to bend your knees when you pick up heavy things.
I think that most of us promote energy psychology within a framework of holistic approaches. Somehow holistic approaches have been painted as sort of woo-woo. The truth is, that looking at problems holistically and systemically is the sane and sophisticated approach.
What’s crazy is a commercial that says, “Friends, are you having trouble going poo poo, because you are hooked on the juju? Then take our new product Poopitall.”
What’s the answer? What can we do about it? The first thing we can do is – name it! Name it, to tame it. By calling something out, we can at least be mindful of what is happening. Hence this blog!
We can speak with our clients and colleagues about these things. Some physicians are a part of the problem. They prescribe pain killers and antidepressants mindlessly, like they are candy. Other physicians attempt to be part of the solution. We need to educate the former and support the latter. We can help provide alternatives such as energy psychology for pain control. And finally, we can try to have a bit of a sense of humor about the entire thing while we are trying to change it.
If you want to help change the world come to the 18th International Energy Psychology Conference, June 2-6, 2016 in Santa Clara, CA. Our theme this year is Changing the World through Personal Healing and Transformation.
Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP
Executive Director, ACEP
Author, Tools for Transforming Trauma