Bill Maher sure as hell opened my eyes with this segment of New Rules.
I already knew that red-staters were this nation's biggest drug addicts. I knew that in the red-voting desert communities of California, meth flows like the oil in Kuwait. Even here in Bawlmer, many a pill gets popped in the Trump-loving white working class suburbs, such as my own unhappy home town.
I knew all of that stuff before Maher did this "New Rules" bit. What I did not know about was the situation in West Virginia, the Trumpiest place on earth.
Drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia in just six years, a period when 1,728 people fatally overdosed on these two painkillers, according to an investigation by the Charlotte Gazette-Mail.
That amounts to 433 of the frequently abused opioid pills for every man, woman and child in the state of 1.84 million people.
Four hundred thirty three pills per person?
Can that possibly be real? Who sells those drugs? Where do the buyers find the long green? According to this site, here's the kind of money we're talking about:
We have found, for example, that oxycodone in almost any formulation (e.g. mixed with acetaminophen as brand name Percocet) costs about $1/mg almost everywhere in the US; in pure form (instant release) it can cost more in low doses (e.g. a 30mg pill of oxycodone can cost as much as $50 but usually costs $30) and in high doses (e.g. an 80mg pill of oxycodone sold as Oxycontin with OROS REMS "abuse" prevention costs only $50 as it is not easily converted into an IV formulation).
Since many of these pills were prescribed (by doctors who must have the ethics of snakes), we also have to factor in the cost of medical consultations. Looks to me as though the good Christian folk of West Virgnia spend at least one billion dollars getting goofy on opium-based happy pills. I've been all over that state and I know that there aren't very many good jobs to be had. So how can folks afford to get higher than Mothman on a daily basis?
I'm asking in all seriousness. I know that some of my readers are southern, either by heritage or by current address. Where do y'all find the money to buy all those drugs?
Let's phrase it another way. With all of the money which red staters give to evangelists (especially the ones who talk about "the prosperity gospel"), to supplement peddlers like Alex Jones and to the pushers of meth and smack and pill-shaped opiods, how can they possibly have enough cash left over to eat and pay the rent?
No wonder these red state pillbillies are so fond of conspiracy theories. They have to blame their own failings on someone else. It's those damned Clintons, I tells ya. It's all their fault.
On a related note, let us turn our attention to...
The Roger Stone mystery. A couple of posts down, we discussed Roger Stone's claim that "the deep state" poisoned him with polonium. We have no medical records to prove that claim, and the photos released don't show the hair loss associated with polonium poisoning. All we can see are some spots:
There's another damn-near-inevitable symptom of polonium poisoning which dear old Rog somehow managed to evade: Death. Here he is, just a short while after his alleged "polonium" attack, miraculously spot-free:
So now I'm wondering: What could have caused Roger's face to get all spotty for a brief period? Well, while doing some research just now into Oxy abuse in the red states, I came across this before-and-after picture...
Do you think...? Can it be?
Nah. Not possible. I'm sure that Roger Stone would deny that he has ever mis-used oxy. And if you can't believe the Republican party's most infamous dirty trickster, who can you believe?
(Of course, Rush Limbaugh would have issued an exactly similar denial just before he lost his hearing.)
Final note: Here's the new image adorning Stone's Twitter page. That's AJ by his side.
A while back, I noted the physical resemblance between Alex Jones and Julius Streicher, the guy who more-or-less played the AJ role in Nazi Germany. This picture really drives it home...
How do they afford it? Probably by getting ever deeper into debt.
I came to a similar conclusion about people who live in the Republic of Ireland. The supermarkets there charge sky high prices including for staple foods and yet they continue to do a thriving business. There is no way that incomes can cover that kind of expenditure.
posted by b : 5:27 AM
It's obvious, they're reselling this crap to other states on an industrial scale. What the Western states are to marijuana, West Virginia is to opiates.
Not surprisingly, the Red states have the most draconian anti-marijuana laws, so people turn to other (much worse) drugs to entertain themselves. In the reddest and most depressed states, the collapsed aboveground economy has devolved into a underground ghetto-style economy, reselling guns and opiates to other parts of the country. Both guns and boxes of pills are small, high-value, and the risk of detection on the highways are pretty small.
This is the traditional home of untaxed moonshine distilled in secret locations in the woods and booze smuggling, after all. They've just shifted to higher-profit activities.
posted by ColoradoGuy : 6:24 AM
The oral narcotics are relatively cheap. Those are street prices you gave. Several years ago there was a horrible problem with "pain clinics" who gave the drugs out like candy. The clinics were shut down, leaving thousands of people in West Virginia, Kentucky, eastern Ohio ad western Pennsylvania addicted to narcotics. This also happened in other states. With so many addicts and no more legal access to drugs, a heroin boom was born. The pills are very expensive on the street but heroin is comparatively cheap. Now the heroin is cut with fentanyl and carfentanyl which are much stronger giving us lots of dead people.
Drug addicts afford their habits in three ways: 1) become a drug dealer yourself; 2) prostitution; 3) shoplifting at one store and return the goods at another; or just trade the goods for drugs or half-price if you're lucky. Through anyone of these ways, or a combination of all three, drug addicts routinely spend hundreds of dollars a day on their habit, 365-days a year. It's a horrible existence you wouldn't wish on your most hated enemy.
posted by Anonymous : 11:58 AM
have to doubt oxo's the culprit. those spots simply look like the proverbial 'liver' spots of aging while playing a lot of mid-day golf in FL, if you ask me.
shots like those would have been taken by his dermatologist prior to having them frozen off..
convenient they could do double duty tho.
posted by Anonymous : 9:12 PM
Colorado Guy hit the nail on the head:
It's obvious, they're reselling this crap to other states on an industrial scale.
For a number of years, addicts across the south used to caravan to the pain clinics of Florida, one of the most infamous of which ended up burning the dollar bills it received rather than go through the hassle of laundering them. Following crack-downs in Florida, the traffic shifted to West Virginia. Obviously Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers knew what was going on -- but, at Hopsicker always says, "There are no American drug lords."
posted by maz : 4:52 AM
I find your framing kind of interesting. For some reason, you find it perfectly reasonable to say this:
No wonder these red state pillbillies are so fond of conspiracy theories. They have to blame their own failings on someone else.
But you'd never say anything like that about crack addicts in downtown Baltimore.
Why is that?
Drug abuse is, in large part, born of despair and lack of opportunity. That's the same no matter where you live, what you look like, or how you vote.
There are large parts of this country that have been abandoned by the bicoastal elites. Some of them are in inner cities, some are in the center of the country, and some are in Appalachia. Of course, they're all kind of hard to see from George Clooney's house.