A lot of Ohioans, especially the poor ones, don’t trust the COVID vaccine and many of them have a good reason. Let me preface this by stating that I am not an anti-vaxxer. I got my Coronavirus vaccine as possible. I put on my mask and headed straight to the head of a socially distanced line. A whole lot of my fellow Ohioans did not and will not. They don’t trust the government, the FDA, or pharmaceutical companies. And you know something, they have good reasons. Especially residents of Southern Ohio’s Appalachian region. Experts say only about 37% of residents of Scioto County have chosen to get vaccinated. You might think they’re a bunch of stupid hillbillies who believe in conspiracy theories. They’re actually a bunch of hillbillies who were on the receiving end of a conspiracy.
The government happily sold us off to big pharma once before. I guess we’re supposed to believe they wouldn’t do such a thing again. An opioid epidemic, deadlier than the Coronavirus, has ravaged parts of this state for decades.
617 Pills Per Person
Drug manufacturers distributed over 48 million opioid pills in Scioto County between 2006 and 2014, that’s 617 pills for every person living in the county. Both the number and the prescription strength of the drugs are startling. Close to 50 million pain pills containing almost 1 billion MME (milligram morphine equivalent) were shipped to Scioto County along in just eight years. Of those pills, more than 22 million were Oxycontin and 28 million were various forms of Hydrocodone.
All of these drugs were approved by the FDA. They were prescribed by doctors and distributed to people by pharmacists. The Ohio Attorney General sued drug manufacturers and distributors for millions. When the majority of Ohio counties agreed to band together to sue drug companies, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said, “I am pleased that Ohio’s communities have agreed to come together as OneOhio. It’s a simple concept, but when we are united, we are stronger. OneOhio puts us in the best position to face the drug companies did so much to destroy lives and communities when they got Ohioans hooked on their highly addictive products.”
But now, Governor DeWine is asking citizens to put their faith in drug companies for a brand-new product. Again, I got damned shot and I’ll get a booster if it’s offered. But people who are wary aren’t stupid. They just know that past behavior is often a predictor of future behavior.
Birth Of The Pill Mill
Southern Ohio has the distinction of being the birthplace of the pill mill. Shady doctors set up practices and happily wrote prescriptions that turned ordinary folks with aches and pains into full-on opioid addicts. It was a great place to set up shop because so many residents were on Medicaid. The government actually footed the bill to turn an already vulnerable population into drug addicts.
The DEA took the FDA-approved drug fentanyl that doctors’ prescribed to elderly people with back pain and moved it to Schedule 1 along with heroin. The very same drug they thought was safe to stick on pain patches and allow you to apply at home. Opioids in all forms are known to be notoriously addictive. That’s been common knowledge for over a hundred years. Yet somehow, everyone was convinced they were safe for widespread use.
So, they scrambled to take the pills away and heroin along with other dangerous synthetic opioids moved in to take their place. The neighborhoods I played in as a child look like my hometown was on the losing end in a war. We’re coming up on two generations where a significant portion of the population is lost to drugs. Drugs you promised us were safe. Drugs you told us would help.
You, dear government officials, sewed the seeds that lead to distrust of vaccines. Vaccines which I personally believe could save our lives. But when someone has misled you time and time again for their own gain, it’s hard to believe them even when they speak the truth.