5 Heartbreaking Side Effects Of The Opioid Crisis In America

After hundreds of overdose deaths in public libraries in recent years, some librarians have had to essentially become EMTs. We’re not talking about basic CPR classes here, but kits with medications that reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, as well as the full training to administer them. It sounds insane, but this has prevented numerous deaths. They’re getting so good at it that some librarians have identified the drugs taken simply from the sounds the user made while overdosing. So maybe the next time one of them shushes you, you go ahead and shut the hell up.


The American Labor Force Is Missing 900,000 Workers Thanks To Opioid Addiction

The unemployment rate may have plummeted since the Great Recession began, but that number only includes people who are actively looking for work, so the slacker friend crashing on your couch doesn’t count. The labor participation rate — that is, the number of people who aren’t hogging your PlayStation and eating all your Toaster Strudels — has only grown by a fraction of a percent from its all-time low in 2014. What gives? Is it those darn lazy Millennials? It’s the darn lazy Millennials, isn’t it?

Bureau of Labor Statistics“We could lure more young workers with some kind of award for participation. They like those, right?”

At the beginning of 2017, a survey found that 1.8 million Americans weren’t actively looking for work, and didn’t have a good reason (that is, they weren’t “retired, in school, disabled, or taking care of a loved one”). In what is surely an amazing coincidence, about half of them also reported taking an opioid the day before. Fully half of all U.S. companies now test employees for drugs, so even if you drag yourself out of your haze long enough to land a job, you won’t keep it. One drug-testing company reported that the number of workers failing their drug tests ranged as high as 20 percent. So now we don’t have enough workers, and since immigrants are less likely to use opiates, more employers are turning to them to fill the void. Goddammit, is this why we have Trump?


The Rehab Boom Has Created A Disturbing New Occupation: “Body Broker”

But the opioid epidemic is also creating some jobs, in the form of comically dystopian-sounding “body brokers.” It’s a body broker’s job to find patients with great insurance and shuttle them off to shady treatment centers, which makes it a pretty lucrative side hustle for managers of sober homes — private halfway houses that provide accommodation for struggling addicts. Hey, selfless ministry doesn’t pay like it used to.

Once there, those treatment centers then run a battery of expensive tests on the patient (one center charged $9,500 for five urinalyses) on the pretense of monitoring the patient’s well-being. On occasion, they’ll even pay the patient’s insurance premium for them, out of the sheer goodness of their hearts — and also because they know that they’ll get way more back from the insurance company than they could ever pay in. They make so much profit that they can also toss a weekly kickback to the broker who brought the patient in.

Peter Haden/WLRNSee? Trickle-down economics works!

It’s a sweet deal for everyone except the patients, who are often relegated to squalid living conditions and straight-up lied to about their treatment. If they’re even aware of what’s happening to them, they’re usually given cover stories to memorize to better scam their insurance. The insurance companies probably aren’t very happy either, but luckily, they run on a magical supply of money that materializes out of nowhere. That’s how we’re all going to keep this up forever, right guys?

Jordan Breeding also writes for Paste Magazine, the Twitter, and most importantly, himself. If you want to get high on interesting facts, go to Markos’ Twitter.

For more on how addiction can really cripple people, check out the movie Trainspotting.

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For more, check out 5 Drugs That Turn Your World Into A Real-Life Horror Movie and 5 Terrifying Things I Learned as a Drug-Addicted Nurse.

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