Nothing helps fan the war on drugs like poor people getting high. It doesn’t matter if the high is authorized or not either; the poor are evil, they’re takers, they are despicable for being poor, and the idea that the despicable poor might be getting some relief from pain and suffering is not a feature, it’s a bug! If only hatred of the poor could be combined with hatred of women, better yet, hatred for affordable healthcare, better yet, in fact ideally, if only it could be linked to some good ole fashioned slut shaming and something to do with babies … hey, is there a new study we can use for that?
CBS — It finds that more than a third of reproductive-aged women enrolled in Medicaid, and more than a quarter of those with private insurance, filled a prescription for an opioid pain medication each year between 2008 and 2012. … The researchers found that, on average, 39 percent of reproductive-aged women on Medicaid filled an opioid prescription from an outpatient pharmacy each year, as did 28 percent of those with private health insurance. The CDC suggested a number of reasons why opioid prescription rates are higher among Medicaid enrollees, including differences in which drugs are covered under various insurance plans, greater use of health services or more prevalent underlying health conditions among patients with Medicaid.
The researchers also noted significant differences among racial groups and regions of the country. Non-Hispanic white women were nearly one and a half times more likely to get opioid prescriptions than black or Hispanic women, according to Medicaid data. Private insurance claims show opioid prescriptions rates were highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast.
The quoted material is from the CDC, I suppose they have to do the responsible thing, but you can bet it has already fueled some nice, subtle, jabs at “those women” who “can’t handle their periods” on social media. That last part about white girls and the south won’t fit into the shaming narrative as well, and the difference between a fourth on private insurance versus a third on Medicaid in one study is not exactly jaw dropping, is it? But to put it in context, just how many women out there of child bearing age reading this were unaware that powerful prescription narcotics might have an effect on fetal development and that those women with questions and concerns should discuss that with their doctor? Assuming they’re lucky enough to have a doctor … and that might be the big factor here, huh?
These days it’s hard to find PCP’s who will even take Medicaid patients, mostly because conservative politicians, with the occasional assist from democrats, have systemically nerfed it for decades on end until it’s not profitable for those in private practice. Private employer sponsored group insurance is a whole different ballgame, those patients have a lot more choices in who will treat them. It makes sense that the better the insurance coverage, the better underlying conditions will be managed before they get to Defcon 1 pain levels. It stands to reason those with long term painful injuries or chronic auto-immune disorders (I’m lucky enough to belong to both those groups and further restricted from OTC anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen thanks to a heart stent) who enjoy regular, comprehensive healthcare and low Rx copays will have better access to non-narcotic, newer, and really expensive pain relief drugs, like Humira or Lyrica, and thus be less motivated to seek cheaper, more immediate relief wherever and however they can get it.
As someone on a relatively modest pain management regimen, I’m going to go way out on a limb here and wildly guess another big factor in why some women on Medicaid or private insurance are taking painkillers is … the pain. A reader brings up a related point in comments:
Without any researching, studying, and off-the-cuff, I would say more minority women of child bearing age are taking more opioids than their more well off compatriots is that the minority women are working their fucking asses of, on their feet all day, doing body breaking labour for minimal wages. The opioids allow them to continue working and ruining their bodies.
There are even times when :::gasp!::: those meds might produce a mild quasi-euphoria mingling into the temporary relief for a couple of hours, especially when they’re being hoarded for economic reasons and not taken very often. Fortunately, I don’t have a uterus, so I only have to worry about the DEA, the state of Texas, local police departments, and the occasional meddling employer randomly trolling through my urine or barging in without a warrant to inspect my medicine cabinet.
And by the way, if you think that’s hyperbole about employers, I know of a back injury patient who traveled to Colorado on vacation, got a script at the urging of a friend for a supposedly non-psycho-active hemp derivative touted as a pain reliever, used it only once — completely legally mind you — because in his words “it didn’t do shit to relieve pain,” came back, and guess what? He got nailed on a drug test at his pain management clinic which then promptly cut him off. Then he got caught on a random test at work and was summarily fired on the spot, presumably with “tested positive for illicit drugs” now on his employment record. Fortunately, he’s really well off, was able to keep his insurance using Cobra, and was able to jump through the hoops required to eventually be seen and treated by a new doc.
My condolences to suffering uterine Americans who work for a living and may now have an additional hurdle to clear.