With the width of topics and information covered in my blogs about blogs and all the angles that I've covered so far, there will always be a missing gap or unexplained view point. It's not to say for lack for trying, but to analyze so much information through the multiple lens of humanity and all the nuances that can drastically change how we perceive, interact or consider things such as opioid additions would have to consider a lifetime dedication to research. Not just for the points of views that exist yesterdays past or today, but for the rest of our lifetimes as well.
To further hone into a particular issue and framing it within context, I'll explain what a 'lacunae public' are. Explained in an article, researcher A. Krishna explains that: "Knowledge deficiency, or the absence of scientifically legitimized knowledge, is key to the conceptualization of lacuna individuals" (2017, p. 180).
Krishna, A. (2017). Motivation with misinformation: Conceptualizing lacuna individuals as knowledge-deficient, issue-negative activists. Journal of Public Relations Research, 29, 176–193.
Access the article: HERE
In regards to a lacunae public, this means people who may have no awareness or knowledge of a particular subject, that either participate in said subject or not, and may have general negative perceptions of said subject.
A part of the public that's forgotten or missing from the discussion of opioids, if I had to guess from all the research I've done in my blogs, is if there is a significant impact, or noticeable phenomenon in the LGBT community. I think I ever only found one statistic out of 50+ sources that I've compiled of my semester's worth of research that mentioned LGBT, but it didn't talk about the overlaps, such a race or gender or even possibly religious backgrounds that may or may not play a part in someone's choices of taking/abusing/overdosing on opioids. I would like to see more research being shined in this rather unknown area of opioids.
That's not to say all of the LGBT community itself are lacunae activists or part of a public, nor to say those fall outside of that community are either, but there is a certain level of knowledge gap, whether that be through not enough research has been conducted, the openness or willingness of the LGBT community to share what it generally understands about the overlapping issues of opioids, etc.
To address this missing gap, I've research through the angle of the LGBT community and opioids, and have came across this alarming quote:
"Compared to the approximately 9% of the overall population that engages in substance abuse, between 20% and 30% of the LGBTQ+ community abuse drugs or alcohol. Also, compared to 4.5% of the total population, LGBTQ rates of Opioid addiction are considerably higher. Among adults over 18 years-old who misused prescription Opioids (such as Hydrocodone or Vicodin®) in the past year, the LGBTQ+ community accounted for 10.4% (or 1 in 10). Moreover, they are nearly 3 times as likely to develop an Opioid addiction than heterosexual adults."
Access the article: HERE
However, evident in the article is also the fact that only 7.4% of treatment services have any specialized LGBT training to coincide with opioid assistance. This demonstrates an example of a lacunae public.
Additions sources can be found below.
Opioid addiction in the LGBTQ Community: HERE
Article on treatment in sexual minorities: HERE
Scope of Opioid Addiction in the LGBTQ Community: HERE
Addressing Opioid Use Disorder among LGBTQ Populations: HERE
Corporations and Activism
If there was any more pressing topic to talk about opioids, it's about responsibility. As someone who has research extensively into the subject, there's almost no other angle to focus on opioids than the pharma companies, drug companies, and reckless doctors that have taken advantage of the legal systems, people's pain, and the hopelessness of the unfortunate.
There has been multiple instances in this blog that has pointed out that doctors have contributed to the crisis we face now, but we must dig deeper. Further, to the very roots of the issue: The drug and pharma corporations. New and older evidence has revealed that powerful companies such as Abbot Laboratories and Purdue Pharma, have either directly suppressed or grossly mislead the addictive natures of opioids to organizations and the people consuming them, or had gotten doctors into their pockets so they only sell certain, more dangerously addictive opioids than other competitors. This has created a perfect storm, one in which keeps people addicted to the opioids, for as long as they keep buying, the companies will keep producing, and will keep growing bigger and become more aggressive. This is a serious health risk caused by corporatism that has manifested from the worst parts of humanity.
Article on what pharma used to draw their fake assumption of "low risk addiction": HERE
How Purdue Pharma is responsible: HERE
How Abbot Laboratories bought out one doctor: HERE
How Insys Therapeutics Inc. took brides and kickbacks to physicians: HERE
Cornerstone article on corporate responsibility: HERE
Victims of opioids, and those who are impacted by the pains or deaths of those who overdose on opioids have risen up in a display of an activist public. An article by Heather M. Zoller explains the phenomenon of activism and the outreach it possesses:
Although activists are often considered “outsiders,” there is growing recognition that health activists cross institutional fields as professionals and nonprofessionals, working from within as well as outside public and private health institutions and governments (Levitsky & Banaszak-Holl,2010). Health activists may include health departments, scientists, and members of federal agencies, along with local and regional grass-roots groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and social movement organizations (discrete formal organizations that share interests with a larger social movement) (pp. 220)
Zoller, H.M. (2017). Health activism targeting corporations: A critical health communication perspective. Health Communication, 32, 219–229.
Access the article: HERE
Multiple testimonies have come out against companies such as Purdue Pharma of how many lives, families, and loved ones have been destroyed or seriously harmed due to their sheer negligence and arrogance on not respecting their due diligence to tell the people of the dangers, as well as falsifying and silencing the truth on their drugs. In one instance, an art piece, a huge bent and twisted spoon, burned with the markings of drug usage sits outside as a symbol of protest. Lawsuits have swamped these pharmaceutical giants as more people share their stories. The money, power and influence these companies have is near limitless, and they will go to any lengths to protect their status quo, just as other insidious companies have done before in the past, such as the cigarette and tobacco giants did before.
Sadly, there isn't even any corporations who are taking an activism approach to bring awareness to the problem. In fact, the further research so, the more names of companies are popping up that are being sued in some form of negligence.
The challenges the activism public faces is still an uphill war. It will take more pain and suffering before we are heard loud enough for the companies responsible to pay retribution for their conduct. While activism does have its criticisms, it can also bring those who have large audience followings, such as social media platforms and/or influencers to become vehicles to champion the cause. The fight against opioids is more than just treated the already affected, it's about finding out who else is suffering that we've overlooked, providing fair treatment by equipping our care providers with the right education and practices to care for all those people affected, including the minorities, while taking those responsible to justice. One day, if we try hard enough, we will free our loved ones from the addictions, and hold those who choose to harm those accountable.
Senior at Salisbury University, working towards a Bachelor's on Community and Professional Communication.