With all the news about the dangers of prescription drugs – especially opioid painkillers like OxyContin, methadone and morphine – you would think people would be using less of them.
However, judging by the statistics, including the number of people going to drug detox and rehab centers to stop taking these drugs, it would appear that people are taking even more than ever. Do people really realize what these drugs can do?
According to a February, 2007 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the weekly digest published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional poisoning deaths in the U.S. rose 62.5 percent from 1999-2004. According to CDC studies, this increase has been going on since the 1990’s and overdoses of prescription drugs, especially prescription painkillers, are primarily responsible for the increase. In fact, according to the CDC, opioid prescription painkillers cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also said that admissions to drug detox, drug rehab and other treatment for this type of prescription painkiller increased from 46,972 in 2002 to 63,243 in 2004.
These vast increases – a 62.5 percent increase in deaths and a jump of about one-third for those going into drug detox, drug rehab and other treatment – indicate that far more people are taking dangerous prescription painkillers and other drugs than ever despite the fact that some of this information is all over the news.
* Purdue Pharma paid a fine of $634.5 million for misleading doctors and the public about the dangers of OxyContin.
* Xyprexa is killing 15,000 people a year in nursing homes – and God knows how many more are being given the drug at home.
* The whole concept of methadone treatment is in question because it has proven to be ineffective at getting people off other drugs and is involved in twice the number of deaths caused by heroin.
* Young adults are having ‘pharma parties’ – mixing any number of prescription drugs they’ve gotten from friends, or from parents’ medicine cabinets.
* The DEA says that kids given Ritalin and other stimulants are more likely to abuse cocaine in later life than others.
* There is tons of evidence of suicidal and homicidal tendencies caused by mind-altering psychiatric drugs – and some of those ‘tendencies’ actually result in the deaths of either those who are taking the drugs or people they’ve killed.
The list goes on and on.
Despite this, we keep taking the drugs. Big Pharma continues to advertise, we continue to be duped into thinking that drugs are the answer to all our problems, and we continue to ask our doctors for the advertised drugs – apparently completely unaware that we might need drug detox and, possibly, drug rehab to get off them, or that they can kill us, or that they can lead to further drug use, or potentially ruin the life of anyone who takes them.
Before you take a dangerous prescription drug, research the risks. Drug packaging has information on side effects and the circumstances under which the drug can be dangerous. The information is also widely available on the Internet. Read this information, and take it seriously: Don’t assume that you or someone in your family will not be one of the people who suffer those side effects.
And if you or someone you care about is already taking a prescription drug that could be dangerous, consider getting them through a good medical drug detox program so they are no longer at risk.
The prescription drug epidemic is not going to stop unless people truly understand the dangers, avoid taking them if at all possible, and get those who are already taking them into a drug detox program. The frontline of the war on prescription drugs is at the doorstep of your own home – fight the battle, and you will win the war, and save lives.