Addiction & Children, Drug Addiction, Facts About Addiction, Families & Addiction, Substance Abuse  |  February 18, 2016

The TV audience for Super Bowl 50 witnessed a somewhat mediocre game and what may have been Peyton Manning’s last game in the NFL.

And as usual – there was the annual parade of high priced and often humorous TV commercials to watch and enjoy.

There was one ad, however that stood out.  And it was disturbing.

Remarkably this commercial showed a man longingly gazing at a dog squatting to defecate, a pile of prunes, and another man leaving a public restroom with a look of great satisfaction on his face.

The subject of the ad?

A new drug – Movantik – formulated to treat the constipation common to chronic opioid painkiller use…

The commercial cheerfully proclaims that relief has arrived and that with this new drug, those chronically consuming painkillers can enjoy regular bowel movements again.

Beyond the adverse effects common to taking Movantik – including abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, vomiting, headache and possible abdominal perforation – the ad delivers an even more dangerous implied message.

That message - that chronic opioid painkiller use is a new normal.  That it’s OK.

We are the first to acknowledge the power of pharmaceutical companies to market their products.  They have both the financial resources and the marketing brains to sell milk to a dairy farm.

But it is these very companies – and their advertising and lobbying dollars - that have created the crisis of opioid painkiller addiction that has swept across America – destroying lives by the millions.

Medicine must reform its practices.  The irresponsible habit of blithely prescribing opioid painkillers for every patient complaining of pain must be eliminated and other forms of treatment recommended.

There is a better way.  And that better way must be taken if we are to avoid the rising toll of addiction devastating families all across the U.S. – and leading to a secondary and equally deadly crisis of heroin addiction.

Do yourself and your family an immense favor – the next time a physician suggests taking a drug like Oxycontin, Vicodin or Percoset for pain – tell them you want to try all other options first.  And not because you want to avoid chronic constipation.