Deconstructing the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a two-fold problem that includes illicitly-acquired fentanyl and legally-prescribed oxycontin. 

 

On one hand, the pharmaceutical industry is completely corrupt. There are private interests making healthcare decisions. There are lobbyists and creative salesmen making sure pharmacies and doctors continue stocking and prescribing addictive medications. 

 

On the other, you have the cartels, as well as ethically questionable Chinese laboratories run amok. Underground labs produce fentanyl that’s cut with coke, meth, dope, and every marketable street drug you can imagine. It’s a scene right out of Breaking Bad. 

 

Under those auspices it seems that no matter what we do, we’re on a disturbing trajectory.

The Social Media Effect

Social media has become an important human utility that has been improperly handled by selfish actors. Since the medium became ubiquitous in popular culture over the past decade, dangerous decisions made by a few web designers have had a negative impact on the world in many ways.

 

The “Big Data” social media companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter, et al) operate under a business model that uses people’s personal data against them to keep them engaged on their platforms longer and target them with advertising. 

 

Their system is based on the use of algorithms to sort a user’s content according to relevance instead of date. These companies build psychological profiles on their users, sell them to advertisers, and manipulate the users to engage more and for longer periods of time. This is never openly acknowledged, but it’s commonly accepted by anyone in the know.

 

There’s evidence to suggest that social media’s effect has created a climate where truth is ever-doubted, no matter the evidence and the legitimacy of the claim, where radicalism and violent extremism are now a cogent force in our world, and the very foundations of journalism and democracy are regularly called into question.