This is a long but informative article about painkiller abuse--starting with heroin, which wasn't even a Schedule 1 substance until 1970. As several states move towards legalizing the relatively harmless marijuana, it's fascinating to learn how unscrupulous doctors, pharmacists, insurance companies and our "trusted" medical organizations like the FDA and AMA band together to permit and even fuel the epidemic since there's money to be made in this mainly white, middle class trend which destroys the lives of users and suppliers. Yet we outlaw harmless and inexpensive drugs like weed that simply grow in the dirt because no pharma giants are involved and you don't need a doctor for a prescription. The very organizations and insurance companies which should be concerned about the abuse prefer to reap massive profits from it and the doctors who are monitoring our health are often lured by cash into overprescribing very dangerous drugs.
The author even suggests that painkillers are not that effective for all kinds of pain. I remember being prescribed some of these drugs after a knee surgery. My mom asked if they worked and I had to tell her that they didn't actually alleviate the pain at all--they just made me so high that I didn't care about it. While healing and unable to get around, it was pleasant to have an escape hatch buzz, but at what point does that make your doctor a dealer? I'm not suggesting that these drugs not be prescribed, but if you've read this post this far and are interested, this article will blow your mind.
WHOLE ARTICLE: VILLAGEVOICE