Nan Goldin's Back Story Complicates Her Anti-Opioid Narrative of Accidental Addiction

The photographer's long history of substance abuse predates her OxyContin prescription by more than four decades.


Nicola Marfisi/Avalon.red/Newscom

Where did people get the mistaken idea that the "opioid crisis" is driven mainly by drug-naive patients who accidentally get addicted while taking narcotics for pain? From stories like this one, in which New York Times reporter Colin Moynihan describes an anti-opioid protest led by photographer Nan Goldin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday.

Goldin targeted the museum's Sackler Wing, named for the family that owns Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin. Moynihan explains that Goldin "started an anti-opioid group called Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or PAIN, after being addicted to OxyContin from 2014 to 2017." He adds that Goldin "has called withdrawal from OxyContin the darkest experience of her life" and links to his January 22 story describing the roots of her activism.

According to that earlier story, Goldin "began taking the powerful painkiller in 2014 to alleviate wrist pain" caused by tendinitis while living in Berlin. She "quickly became addicted, increasing her intake of pills, seeking out black market sources and finally moving to other drugs." After overdosing on a combination of heroin and fentanyl, Goldin finally decided to go into treatment, and "she has been clean for a year."

As presented by Moynihan, Goldin's story illustrates the overwhelming power of oxycodone, the heedless greed of the companies that make it, and the recklessness of the doctors who prescribe it. Complicating that narrative is the long history of polydrug use and addiction that Moynihan omits from his portrait of Goldin.

"I wanted to get high from a really early age," Goldin told The Guardian's Sean O'Hagan in 2014, the same year OxyContin supposedly put her on a path that ended with a heroin overdose. "I wanted to be a junkie." According to that article, Goldin injected heroin as a teenager. She stopped at the age of 19 but continued to use heroin and cocaine intranasally.

"For years," Goldin said, "I used drugs before I abused them, and I had a good time. People take drugs because they feel good. Especially people who don't have a skin, who are really raw like I was. With heroin, you don't feel any pain. For me, cocaine was worse than smack. It's an evil drug. It sent me to the bottom." In the mid-to-late 1980s, Goldin said, "drugs became my full-time occupation, and about the only people I saw were my dealers."

O'Hagan reported that Goldin "went into rehab" in 1988. "There have been a few relapses since," he wrote, "including a 'major' one in 2000, when she was prescribed strong painkillers for a serious injury to her hand." That was 14 years before the prescription that Goldin says got her hooked on opioids again for three more years, which evidently happened after her interview with O'Hagan. Despite the earlier relapse, Goldin took "strong painkillers" again, aware of the risk that entailed for her. I'm not sure that's Purdue Pharma's fault.

Moynihan does not mention any of this in either of his stories about Goldin's anti-opioid activism. He does note that Goldin is known for her photographs of "people having sex or shooting heroin," which "illustrate[d] the world she inhabited" in the 1980s, when her book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was published. That is as close as Moynihan gets to acknowledging that Goldin, far from encountering opioids for the first time through a 2014 OxyContin prescription, has used them on and off, including several episodes of addiction, since at least the early 1970s.

According to O'Hagan's profile, Goldin had "a troubled relationship with her parents" and was haunted by the death of her older sister, who killed herself when Goldin was 11. By Goldin's own account, she was "really raw" and found relief from her emotional turmoil in heroin, which she did not come to via OxyContin but first used nearly half a century ago, a quarter of a century before the timed-release pain pill was first marketed.

Goldin's experience with OxyContin, in short, does not tell us much about how the average patient might react to the drug. In fact, the evidence indicates that people who take prescription opioids for pain rarely respond the way Goldin did. When they do, they are likely to have a background similar to Goldin's, including prior substance abuse and psychological trauma. These are important things to know if you are trying to assess the risks and benefits of opioid pain medication, as opposed to valorizing a newly fashionable political cause.

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  1. Goldin targeted the museum’s Sackler Wing

    I initially read this as Slacker Wing, and thought, “huh, a whole wing dedicated to my generation”.

    1. Y’all were too lazy to build one.

      1. I figured our parents would have built it for us.

  2. Oxy is so addictive that the addiction rays or whatever travel back in time!

    1. So basically, I’m made of OxyContin.

  3. Complicating that narrative is the long history of polydrug use and addiction that Moynihan omits from his portrait of Goldin.

    There’s a major difference between Oxycontin and her other drug use. One group is manufactured by shadowy foreign cartels and sold by people on the street. The other is sold by a billion dollar pharmaceutical company. So… corporations is where the narrative takes us.

    1. Corporations are taxable, regulatable, and answerable to their customers and we can’t stand for that.

      1. True mad.casual, however, in as much as the narrative is skewed by not including key information about someone who already had huge drug problems, it can be used to place blame excessively on one party which is not how the justice system is set up or at least should be set up.

        We can stand accountability but not accountability fueled by false narratives.

        1. It is low-life behavior, as she did by blaming Oxycontin, that took my practice from me. I had become tired of watching over my shoulder for the state medical board or the DEA. I saw, too may, knowledgeable physicians, ruined, and/or imprisoned, for practicing the management of chronic pain patients. It did not matter what the science, or statistics said. What mattered was a bunch of aged regulators, guided by old wives’ tales and gossip. Right now, the powers that be are harping about an opiod problem, when it is the age old problem of narcotic addiction, driven by desire of addicts to ruin their lives. They are doing it with diamorphine (heroin) and Fentanyl, both clandestinely produced. All the while, they are denying the patients, who now include me, the treatment with effective opiod therapy. They determine the proper maximum dose, or “morphine equivalents” without ever laying hands on, or even talking to any chronic pain patients.

          1. Add to it the turf wars offered up by anesthesiologists, who became the experts on pain management, when they figured out a way to have a practice, outside of the operating room. They are now to the point of telling us that the morphine, or oxycodone, are not effective in controlling pain!…………(;-P….Yet, so many chronic pain patients tell us that the medication gives them their lives back. Some, when having medication withdrawn, end up bedridden! That does not appear to be, practicing medicine, with sound scientific principles. But who cares, when one might build a multi-million dollar practice, treating chronic pain patients as addicts, in unneeded and/or forced rehabilitation facilities! This could be very helpful in destroying the move by the authorities to deny fair and proper treatment of people suffering in pain! It angers me to no end to be called an addict when taking the same dose of opiate, for years, without one problem! It is sick SOB’-s that joy in ruining the practice of honest, compassionate scientists, practicing medicine. Screw it. Life ends, anyway. For some, it will be by their own hands, suffering from a fate that we see as worse than death!

    2. Corporations can be sued, black market dealers can’t. Follow the money.

  4. “began taking the powerful painkiller in 2014 to alleviate wrist pain”

    Crusty’s saved google search is going to bring him right to this article.

    1. Took me a second with this one. A+++

  5. One could save an awful lot of time and money if one simply assumed that all Drug War narratives were particularly ripe bullsh*t. There may be exceptions, but they won’t turn up often enough to matter.

  6. It is curious isn’t it, how so many drug warrior narratives trade so freely in dishonesty.

    1. So does Sullum’s narratives.

      Nan Goldin’s background doesn’t provide one scintilla of support for why overdoses and ER visits have risen so much over the last 20 years. It is an anecdote – that like all anecdotes serves to further Sullum’s own narrative that there is nothing actually happening here so move along.

      1. Medicaid doesn’t provide heroin stamps.

        1. And my health insurance premiums didn’t ramp up paying for old pre-1999 junkies going to the ER. Those used to be irrelevant – and still are – and that is what Sullum wants to pretend is still the issue. My premiums went up to pay for the now 4 million ER visits – and still rising – for NEW (post-1999) addicts who were ‘created’ by the medical system and who view health insurance as a new sugar daddy.

          My rough guess is that those ER visits (for OD/reactions) are roughly $300-$600 per person (that’s not ‘per pain patient’) per year in cost-shifting. And I suspect the total cost is actually higher than food stamps too.

          1. So stop mandating that E.R.’s must see and treat everyone who wanders in and that ‘shared cost’ won’t be passed down to you. I mean, mandating that the E.R. must see all comers then bitching about the cost seems…idiotic. Obviously it’s going to be expensive as fuck no matter what, and you should also expect that cost to only go up as the market spirals.

            Also, as someone who literally worked in the E.R. billing people I can tell you that $600 per person is laughably under the mark. Try closer to $1200-$1600 and that was ten years ago, but circumstances vary that cost by a lot.

            1. Gawdawlfuckingmighty. That logic is as BS as saying that everyone else should give up their access to guns because the authorities can’t seem to prevent a school shooter from getting hold of guns. EMTALA may have a lot of problems but it is fucking insane to let junkies decide how much everyone else should subsidize them. And then for ‘libertarians’ to head down the path of ‘well if we subsidize one sort of thing we should subsidize everything’ like they did re gay marriage.

              Oh – and re the costs. I wasn’t talking about the cost of the ER visit itself. I was talking about the cost-shifting to ME for increased premiums. The current ER average cost for a ‘discharged’ drug-caused visit is supposedly $3000+. For the 40% or so which are more serious (ICU or such), the average cost is $30,000+ (though that distribution prob has extreme tails).

              1. The only possible result of EMTALA is to inflate costs and pass those costs along to you. That was the point.

                The fact you want to bitch about extent rather than cause is interesting since the only possible trajectory in terms of passed on costs is up, and notably that is exactly what has happened.

                The fact this was then used as proof that we needed the ACA is even more interesting since it effectively doubles down on that very trajectory.

                1. I wasn’t talking about the cost of the ER visit itself. I was talking about the cost-shifting to ME for increased premiums.

                  If that’s what you’re specifically talking about, rather than overall costs, than you have no idea what percentage it would be. You’ll be making up numbers. Forcing a provider to take a huge loss on E.R. visits means that they are being forced to make those costs up with people who actually pay their bills. QED.

                  It sounds to me like you’re angry at the wrong group since the government had mandated these things. Effectively they have mandated that in order to treat penniless drug addicts in the E.R. YOU must pay more. I honestly don’t know how you can’t see that, but you’re not alone in that blindness I suppose.

                  1. Even if you leave government and mandates out of it.

                    What is the ED or EMS going to do with the “penniless drug addict” turning blue?

                    We know what they will do and the costs will be passed on one way or another.

                    1. If you leave the mandates and government out of it, what is EMS doing there?

                    2. What is the ED or EMS going to do with the “penniless drug addict” turning blue?

                      That wasn’t the problem before 1999. And it isn’t the problem today. Today it is people with INSURANCE who are addicts – and non-addicted people who are paying for that via their insurance premiums because that’s what ‘health insurance’ is – cost-shifting from the healthy to the sick. The sick do not pay their medical costs. THEIR insurance premiums are subsidized.

                  2. than you have no idea what percentage it would be. You’ll be making up numbers.

                    No I used the numbers I cited which I got from somewhere.

                    2.5 million ER visits @ $3,000 each = $7.5 billion
                    1.5 million ‘expensive’ ER admissions @ $30,000 each = $45 billion

                    That’s $52 billion for 300 million people = $173 per person. And rounded up a lot cuz I assume that the ‘ER admissions’ category of expenses is a pretty small portion of those pain patients insured medical expenses (esp since pain specialists earn a median of $400,000 or so and they ain’t getting that from ER bills).

                2. the only possible trajectory in terms of passed on costs is up, and notably that is exactly what has happened.

                  The only reason the trajectory is up is if you accept that PRESCRIBED opioids got people hooked. Because if you accept Sullum’s narrative, there hasn’t been any underlying change in the ‘people with problems just use drugs’.

                  1. And, your BS can be dis-proven if one honestly looks at the situation since opiod prescriptions have been massively reduced. Even with that, the addiction and deaths from heroin, including that adulterated with Fentanyl, have continued to increase. The rate at which patients become “accidentally addicted” is infinitesimally small! It is driven by people, who would profit by treating patients in their rehabilitation systems, when it is not needed, at all! If there was, truly, a link to prescriptions, the accidental overdoses and deaths would have dropped precipitously! So far as ER visits go, people are more apt to abuse the system, when they think they will be able to get that care, without dropping one dime. The ACA was misrepresented to everyone. Those of us in the system predicted the overload. There are still not enough physicians to make sure people are seen in offices, instead of the, more expensive, ER! The cost is because of unthinkingly putting a law into effect that, predictably, increases costs, “hugely”!

            2. Yeah, I had an ER visit recently and the ambulance bill alone was close to $800.

  7. He adds that Goldin “has called withdrawal from OxyContin the darkest experience of her life.”

    Just wait until she kicks benzos (Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, etc) or booze that I’m sure she abuses. Most people say it makes the worst opiate withdrawal seem like the sniffles. Seizures, possibly weeks sleeping 0-2hrs a night (and corresponding hallucinations and psychoses), potential for brain damage. Due to a phenomenon called neuronal kindling, GAGAnergic withdrawal gets worse every time one experiences it. Further, since it’s essentially impossible to overdose on benzos (unlike alcohol or barbiturates), people can get addicted to absolutely insane doses. Don’t try this at home.


    1. Chances are she is high on Oxy at this moment. But, of course, it is someone else’s fault.

  8. Moynihan doesn’t want some douchbag’s long sordid history with drug abuse and addiction overshadow his own.

    Oh wait…wrong Moynihan.

  9. I don’t think anyone accidentally gets addicted. Even when a substance is physically addictive, that just means it is physically uncomfortable to quit. It doesn’t mean you can’t quit if you choose to do so. The drugs don’t magically jump into your body. And unless someone is slipping it in your food or putting a gun to your head, you take drugs because you choose to do so. The entire war on drugs is based upon the rejection of that basic truth. Sorry but I don’t buy it.

    1. You take drugs because you choose to do so. The entire war on drugs is based upon the rejection of that basic truth.

      I’m sorry, what? I thought the WoD was based on the idea that the threat of punishment can change someone’s decision, and if it doesn’t we should just lock ’em up.

      1. No, The premise behind the drug war is that drugs are a special substance such that taking them robs the user of their free will. You can kill yourself or destroy your life doing any number of things other than drugs. It is the same compulsive behavior no matter how it is expressed. Yet, only drugs are illegal. And the justification for that is that drugs are different from other vices because people “get addicted” meaning that taking them robs them of their free will such that they are poison to society and must be prohibited.

        1. And this is also why gambling is generally illegal too I might add, but oddly enough we have bastions where it’s perfectly legal. The longer the drug war grinds on, the more exceptions we’ll see that are right in line with that predictor (pot legalization, for example).

          For some reason America thinks that compulsion can me made illegal, which is more or less the equivalent of saying we should lock people up who have poor willpower. I’m sure a gambling addict is really happy to be put in jail to save them from ruining their life…oh wait.

    2. I don’t think anyone accidentally gets addicted.

      It depends on how you define “accidentally”.

      1. I don’t think babies intentionally become addicted.

        1. Yeah, but it’s really easy for them to quit.

        2. I was thinking more of a person that gets a really debilitating injury– usually a back injury and is prescribed an opioid as a painkiller. They may be on that painkiller for months while they recover. And again, I’m talking about severe pain– like you can’t function with it or even think straight. Then after you go through P.T. and start pulling back on the painkillers, you start suffering withdrawals.

          1. It is still your choice to take the drugs. The fact that you have a really good reason to do so it just mitigation. It doesn’t mean you didn’t choose to take them. Moreover, if the pain ever ends, you will stop taking the drugs even though doing so will require going through withdrawal.

            1. . Moreover, if the pain ever ends, you will stop taking the drugs even though doing so will require going through withdrawal.

              Agreed, but that’s still a case of addiction. Taking the pills was voluntary, but the addiction took you by surprise. Again, it depends on how you define “accidentally”.

              It’s a world of difference from our artist/activist above who made conscious choices to take heroin simply because she wanted to get high.

          2. Not everyone does and for those who do, withdrawal is easily mitigated with decreasing dosages.

        3. Sadly, most people, including physicians, don’t know the difference between physical dependence, and the psycho-social dysfunction of an addict. Addicts pursue, obsessively, the drug, in the presence of harm caused by those drugs. Babies cannot be addicted, since they can neither seek or obtain drugs, except through the action of their addicted mothers. That stops when the baby is delivered!. And, if they were handled, properly, would not have to go through withdrawal. Tthat might happen if “addictionologists” treated the babies with some ethics. Allowing them to go “cold turkey” sounds crazy! It is beyond barbarism!

    3. You can make a choice to use a substance while being ignorant of the consequences of the choice. That ignorance doesn’t absolve you from liability (why I reject the “disease” label) but it does imply unintentional addiction (i.e. unknowingly developing a physical/psychological dependency).

      1. Millions of people in this country have at one time or another used even the hardest drugs recreationally and never become addicts or even regular users for very long. At some point, those people decided that taking drugs wasn’t worth it or that they had something better to do. That fact alone shows that “addiction” such as it is is an expression of underlying personality defects that have nothing to do with drugs. People abuse drugs because they are irresponsible and self-destructive. If drugs disappeared tomorrow, those people would be no better off because they would just find a new method of expressing their irresponsible and destructive natures.

        Anyone who has ever dealt with an addict should understand this. It doesn’t matter how much you beg and plead with an addict or how horrible the consequences of their addiction, they are not going to stop until they are dead or they decide to do so. Drugs do not rob you of your free will. Every addict can quit whenever they decide to do so but not a moment before.

        1. People abuse drugs because they are irresponsible and self-destructive.

          In my personal experience with ‘drug’ culture I tend to agree with this bit. I never knew anyone who was addicted or overused to the so-called ‘hard core’ drugs like meth or heroin that didn’t have major life problems that caused them to seek out self-destructive behaviors. Drugs and alcohol are usually the go-to choice just because suicide seems a lot more final than burning your brain out, I think.

          1. If meth or heroin were legal would you or anyone you know go out and become an addict? I sure wouldn’t. And I can’t believe any halfway responsible person would. Indeed, even though they are illegal, those things are available if you want them badly enough. Anyone who wants to be an addict already is.

            1. I would probably try amphetamines if I could get them.

            2. If meth or heroin were legal would you or anyone you know go out and become an addict?

              Yeah, although it’s almost certainly the same grouping of people that I already knew who did it. I suspect that it being ‘legal’ would indeed expand that number appreciably since access would be less of an issue though, but again my response to that is ‘so what’.

              All it means is that a lot of people wanted meth that couldn’t find it, but I wouldn’t pretend those people are going to do nothing instead if they can’t find meth. Maybe they’ll just huff paint or gasoline. So I guess what I’m saying is these types of people are almost certainly already in the statistics since ‘nothing’ isn’t what these personality types are going to choose.

            3. BYODB and John,

              Methamphetamines are legal, class two drugs. There is, also, no physical withdrawal from stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Heroin, in South Africa and other countries, is known by its scientific name, diacetylmorphine or diamorphine. It is just another opiate pain killer, not much different than the other forms of morphine. Fentanyl (class 2), on the other hand, is a quick road to overdose and death, since it takes only micrograms to be effective! But, just because it takes less to be effective, I do not understand how it could be “highly addictive”. It is either “addictive “or it is not! It just takes a smaller dose to get the addict high, or kill him/her! Both drugs, when produced clandestinely, are even more dangerous. No one knows what, or how much, is in that bag! I agree that no reasonable person abuses those drugs, at the risk of addiction. Potential addicts don’t care…psychological tendency?

        2. It’s not clear how you’re defining “addiction”. I’ve always considered it to be “strongly compelled” to take a drug vs. “absolutely compelled”. Just because there are will power variations among people doesn’t mean they aren’t addicted.

          1. That’s a big problem with addiction, is what does it mean? And at least one underlying issue I see is that it requires us to make a value judgement that says they are overvaluing the drug. That’s why I think the best model is usually the “Does the user think they have a problem?” model.

            Same with mental illness.

            1. “Same with mental illness”. I couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

        3. That fact alone shows that “addiction” such as it is is an expression of underlying personality defects that have nothing to do with drugs.

          Well that’s just crap. A major reason doctors themselves started more recently changing the way they prescribe was because of medical studies that showed a huge difference in the % of patients who were still on ‘pain pills’ a year later based solely on the number of pills that the doctor had initially prescribed.

          IOW – the more pills they prescribed up-front (to prevent a ‘needless’ return visit), the more likely it was the patient would become dependent. That is doctor-created addiction. And since that is also a statement of the pretty fucking obvious to everyone except Americans, it is the main reason no other country went down this insane path of healthcare system created opiate addiction.

          1. So in other words the Doctor’s are responsible for their patients decisions? Hmm…interesting. I guess the Doctor should be arrested if you drive under the influence of those pills as well since clearly they should have pulled you drivers license as soon as they chose to prescribe you a medication. Your choice to fill that medication obviously has no bearing on the subject.

            Sheesh, you’re sort of an idiot on this subject it seems.

            1. for fucks sake. When a doctor PRESCRIBES a medication that comes with SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS on usage.

              You OTOH apparently believe that every patient should know more about medications than their doctor.

              Which I suppose should be no surprise to me since ‘libertarian’ suggestions re the healthcare system often seem to revolve around some variation of ‘if gummint let the village idiot or Jack deRipper do brain surgery and let every patient decide exactly which neurons should be operated on via a preestablished price list, then costs would go down a lot so it can only be gummints fault’.

              1. And your point was apparently that the doctor is somehow liable when a patient doesn’t follow those very instructions. Emote harder, please.

                1. Can’t you read? They CHANGED their initial prescriptions because the amount they had previously been prescribing was getting patients hooked.

              2. JFree,

                With the massive reduction in prescriptions for opiods, would we not expect a drop in accidental overdose and death. Fact is, the rates went up, in spite of it! The opiod warriors and addictionologists were wrong about it! And, I had never read the BS written about the size of the first prescription being responsible for causing “accidental addiction”! If the number of prescriptions was not the cause, then let’s blame something else! Just more BS!

          2. Yeah because those people couldn’t choose to stop if they were given so many pills. Again, that is just bullshit.

      2. I’d argue the opposite. One has to be taught to be an addict. That is why most “drug treatment” is bad for you

  10. Is Nan Goldin now rewriting her bio as some sort of mid-late 20th century Jacob Riis? She mad her fucking career “glamorizing drug abuse” and other self-destructive behavior.

  11. The problem isn’t drugs but ‘treatment’, because the victim is forced to confess, “If I ever drink or drug again I will surely die.” For some it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. For others, it’s fodder for a future memoir.

  12. Moynihan does not mention any of this in either of his stories about Goldin’s anti-opioid activism.

    I guess that part wasn’t “fit to print”.

    Honestly, why does anybody take the NYT seriously?

  13. Artist makes name glorifying drug use. Artist gets old. Needs attention? Artist tries to revive name blaming other people for what she happily engaged in and profited from in her youth, going as far as discouraging corporations from supporting art.

    Yes, we hopefully get smarter as we get older. But the Ballad of Sexual Dependency was a wonderful work, non-judgmental and open to experience. Starting another mob movement is a sad decline for her.

  14. I broke my big toe a few years back and was prescribed tramadol which I refused to take because (1) the pain wasn’t bad at all and (2) I have a highly addictive personality-am already hooked on caffeine and nicotine, and probably alcohol too; though I cut myself off after two drinks, but can’t go a day without having at least one drink. So I didn’t think I needed another substance in my life. Could I quit the other substances? Probably, but don’t really have a good reason to yet.

    1. Tramadol is less effective at getting you high than banana peels.

      1. Yes, it’s pretty weak tea, all things considered.

    2. If someone came to you and offered you say $20,000 a month and all you had to do in return was quit smoking, drinking and ingesting caffeine, would you do it? I bet you would. And if you wouldn’t, I bet you would if the amount of money got high enough. You do those things because you enjoy them and see the upside of the enjoyment as outweighing the downsides that come with them, whatever that is. Let the downside of doing it mean losing enough money and you will stop.

      1. I don’t smoke-I vape. If someone offered me the money, sure I would, but that ain’t gonna happen.

        1. Right? But imagine all the better drugs you could afford to buy on 20G’s a month.

        2. No, it won’t. But the point is that if it did, you would. So, you are free to quit anytime you want. You just don’t want to. And that is fine. It is your life. But, the idea that people do things because they have a disease or otherwise can’t help it is just bullshit. That is my only point.

          1. Never said I have a disease, and am not making any excuses for myself or anyone else. The main reason I didn’t take tramadol is that I didn’t need it. They also prescribed me diclofenac (NSAID) and I didn’t take it either because the pain wasn’t that bad. the warnings for that also sounded pretty scary too. Fortunately, I have not yet experienced such physical pain that I have felt the need to take drugs for it.

            1. Diclofenac is just an nsaid. It’s not really dangerous at all.

              1. I took one diclofenac and it upset my stomach pretty badly – much worse than motrin. That was enough for me.

                1. Well, yes, it will do that. I’m pretty sure it says take with food.

              2. NSAIDS are not dangerous, if you don’t mind having a perforated ulcer, or dying from massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage, or having an induced bleeding abnormality! Or, if you don’t mind risking renal damage, they are not dangerous. Now, are they?. It can be very dangerous, if one uses an uninformed physician!

          2. Yeah, but I also know other people … if you offered my next door neighbor $20,000 a month to stop smoking, he would be, “Sure, I’ll take it.” And within three days, he’ll be thinking, if I just sneak one, no one will ever notice. And at the end of the week, he’s smoking again, and would want to try again next month. When he would fail again. Every time.

            Some people are just broken. I don’t think this conflicts with your argument, just putting that out there.

      2. I’d drop the boozing and smoking and take up whoring with that kind of dough.

    3. Tramadol is a dangerous substance, probably designed to discourage addiction. It acts as a narcotic and a SNR (similar to an SSR like prozac). It interacts badly with a raft of other medications. Users risk seizures. You are probably better off with a straight up opioid. Make sure you talk to your doctor and read the insert if you choose to use it.

      1. A straight up opioid would actually work. Tramadol is worse than propxyphene.

      2. I had it prescribed once. After 2 doses I couldn’t wake up for more than 2 minutes for 24 hours. I list myself as allergic to it now. Horrible stuff!

        1. You shouldn’t list yourself as allergic to medications you’re not actually allergic to. It could actually kill you since they’ll avoid related Rx as well that could conceivably save your life.

          Just saying, in case you hadn’t considered that angle. Then again, the odd’s the hospital you end up in for emergency work will have your file in the first place is virtually nil so…it probably won’t help or hurt you.

  15. as opposed to valorizing a newly fashionable political cause.

    “valorizing” New verb. Perhaps related to “stolen valor.”

    Might find uses for it.

  16. I think opioids only jump out and take control of your life if you have the addiction gene. Most people don’t have that and can cope. My dad couldn’t stop smoking after two tongue cancers caused by smoking, and never did quit the booze even after three rehabs. That’s an addict.

    1. ” the addiction gene””

      This is one of those things that people “know” exists, but for which the evidence is dubious.

      1. It’s located right between the”homo gene” and the “schizophrenia gene”.

      2. There are people who lack enzymes that enable the body to deal with certain poisons. Laws in Washington and Oregon required bartenders to run informal racial analyses on potential beer customers. One-eighth Indian parentage sufficed to have you tossed out of the saloon. But additional coercion at gunpoint does not have a good track record at making things better. It does have a good track record at making people deader.

  17. I don’t know, but IMHO, she was an addict looking for “good” prescription drug. She was prescribed Oxy to alleviate “wrist pain”? My father was a double leg amputee (thanks to Type-1 diabetes) and the doctors put him on Oxy when it was first coming out. That shit all but killed him. Then to make matters worse, not fully realizing how addictive Oxy was, they cut him off cold turkey. That was a month of hell. I for the life of me cannot imagine a doctor who would prescribe that shit for minor pain/discomfort.

    1. It was definitely, not the first line drug. NSAIDS or steroids should have been used, first! (Toradol worked for me, personally, and in practice, post-op) Treat the inflammatory disease, then the symptoms if the inflammation persists. But, Oxycontin was abused for acute pain in so many instances. Giving it to addicts would be contraindicated. But, as dishonest as this patient seems to be, it was not listed on the intake history

  18. Ms. Goldin announced a series of demands in the form of short statements, including “harm reduction” and “treatment,” that were repeated loudly by the crowd.

    I absolutely love that this nitwit has an open pack of cigarettes in her hands.

    1. I think that was the point of the photo.

  19. I wonder if anyone will notice that the NYT article endorses the drug war with this type of reporting.

  20. All the news that fits, we print.

    General advice to Reason staff and others. Do not cite the NYT.

    1. It’s more reliable than their new go-to favorite Vox.

  21. Our country has the same problem with heroin. Big Pharma makes it, crooked doctors prescribe it, and then patients get hooked on it.

    Oh, wait….

  22. It’s amazing how backstory tends to raise questions about victims and perpetrators in that it makes the victims look stupid and perpetrators less unlikely. Actually, yes, the press does have an agenda.

  23. Evalyn Walsh McLean, famous for buying he Hope Diamond in 1911, blamed Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for her morphine addiction. Let’s face it. Many will lie to deflect the opprobrium the terminally superstitious will heap upon those who invite Demonic Possession by dabbling in illegal light beer “drugs.” Corn growers, sulphur extractors, glucose and yeast producers paid for ratification of the 18th Amendment. Coffee became a fad when in 1987 the Reagan-Bush r?gime declared other South American stimulant shrubs Avatars of Satan. Lobbyists swarm politicians to have potential competitors tarbrushed and banned, so pseudoscience rises to the bait and presto: freedom is lynched.

  24. Not including a detail like Goldin being an irresponsible junkie is called lying by omission. Moynihan sounds like a prick.

    1. Describing an addict’s relapse as becoming addicted is a flat-out lie.

  25. To quote Larry the Cable Guy about Goldin’s history with painkillers prior to the period she purports to be talking about: “that’s an important piece of information right there”.

    Look. Do some people find addiction through the use of opioids. Sure. Others, like me, don’t find addiction but habituation: the med that worked so nicely the last 6 months doesn’t have much effect any more. Instead of upping my dose as one of my docs suggested they simply cycle the meds to prevent that. Works quite nicely.

    My life is the best antidote to addiction. I have to work, meaning I have to drive. I am newly married. I have a grandson whom I dote on, meaning I have to be in shape to be responsible for him, drive him here and there, and so forth. So even were I so inclined to take the meds to a point where I could become addicted (which I am not), life intervenes.

    Let us and our docs figure it out, and provide the means for rehab in those cases where someone goes off the rails.

  26. I know somebody who takes oxycodone for chronic back pain. He seems to have the pain under control, and his dose has been stable.

    Yet because of the moral panic that’s been created around opioid use, his dose will be arbitrarily reduced over the next few months to about 20% of what he is now taking. This will probably leave him with a lot of uncontrolled pain. Some of his friends have recommend he look into medical marijuana (easily obtained in California); perhaps it will let him manage the pain.

    I’ve had acute backaches from time to time, so I have some idea what that feels like, but in my case a few days of rest, Aleve, and hot and cold packs and I’ll be in reasonably good shape, if not back to normal — _that_ usually requires some weeks of cautious exercise to restore normal flexibility.

    What is being done in the name of “preventing opioid addiction” is a crime.

  27. Just to suck up to the Reason commentariate.

    I wonder if Libertarians aren’t going to understand addiction very well. I know I could never be an addict because of my inner auto-rebel. Anything that’s mainstream or popular or even widely attractive kind of repels me. I pay careful attention to the trends and go in the opposite direction. I associate my need for independence as a primary source of my Libertarian beliefs, just as I associate my need for independence with not wanting to be dependent on any substance.

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