I shared some personal stories as did a couple of commenters. Today I want to discuss some statistics and touch on the power of the pharmaceutical industry.
According to the CDC, “Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. Throughout the nation, it is a growing problem with no signs of slowing down.”
And here are some more scary facts about the pills which are possibly lurking in your medicine cabinets:
- Currently, there is enough Vicodin prescribed to provide every American 5mg every 4 hours for 3 weeks.
- Opiate related deaths from 1999-2007 rose from 2901 to 11499 – a 296% increase.
- Nationwide, prescription drug use averages 1.5 prescriptions per month for all Americans under age 65 and almost 4 per month for Americans over age 65.
- In Wisconsin, 5.5 million prescriptions were dispensed each month in 2009.
- Between 2007 and 2008, 15% of Wisconsin adults reported using pain relievers for non-medical purposes.
- National trends show that, in many states, prescription drug use has now overtaken marijuana use as the most common drug used by youth.
- In Wisconsin, prescription drugs are the second most common drug used for recreational purposes after marijuana.
- In 2009, 20.5% of Wisconsin high school students reported ever taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.
- Prescription drugs are now involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
- Overdose deaths from prescription drugs have outnumbered deaths from car crashes in the U.S. for the first time ever.
- During the first six month of 2010, prescription drugs were involved in 78% of the fatal overdoses in Milwaukee County – up 70% from 2002.
- During the first six months of 2010, nearly two out of every three fatal overdoses in Milwaukee County were caused by prescription drugs alone – these do not include suicides.
While jail cells are occupied with those who may have been caught with some weed, in some cities, people in more serious drug cases are being sent home due to overcrowding. I have yet to hear of a case of marijuana directly causing death.
I think we all know the power of Big Pharma in our country. They want to keep us medicated and perhaps even addicted – more profits for them. They lavish our doctors with gifts, dinners and game tickets in hopes to sprinkle their offices with free samples to get people “hooked.” I remember hearing stories of drug dealers tempting kids on playgrounds with little baggies of cocaine or meth. They would give them out for free to give birth to a new addiction, thus providing themselves with future customers. How is this much different, really?
Marijuana has side effects: increased appetite, slow response, feelings of euphoria and laziness.
Here is a list of side effects of a common antidepressant advertised in just about every adult magazine (chosen randomly): abnormal thinking; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, sore throat; increased sweating; involuntary movements of the tongue, face, mouth, jaw, arms, legs, or back (eg, chewing movements, puckering of mouth, puffing of cheeks); loss of control over urination; loss of coordination; muscle tremor, jerking, or stiffness; new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, anxiety, depression, agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent restlessness; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, urination, or appetite; unusual weakness); trouble swallowing; trouble walking; unusual bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes.
Here is a list of side effects from a heavier drug, one more typically abused: Constipation, Dimness in vision, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Dry mouth, Fatigue, Headache, Itching reflex, Lightheadedness, Nausea, Sleeplessness, Sweating from shock, Vomiting, Weakness, Abdominal pain, Anxiety, Diarrhea, Euphoria, Hiccups, Loss of appetite, Nervousness, Short or painful breathing (dyspnea), Impotence, Enlarged prostate gland, Decreased testosterone secretion, Confusion, Difficulty urinating, Fainting, Fast or slow heartbeat, Lightheadedness, Seizures, Severe dizziness, Slowed or difficult breathing, Tremor, Vision changes, Low resting heart rate, Cold, clammy skin, Suspended breathing, Abnormally low blood pressure, Pupil constriction, Circulatory collapse, Respiratory arrest, Death
Point being, we have drugs in almost every home that are potentially deadly or harmful.
Many people do, in fact, need these medications as they are prescribed. And I am more than supportive of individuals taking the medications they need to survive or maintain a quality of life. My intent is by no means to downplay the importance of that. However, there is no argument about the dangers which seem to be cloaked by a prescription pad. Parents are quick to lecture and punish if they smell marijuana on the clothing of their children – as they should. But their medicine cabinets are well within reach. There is no obvious smell to those pills and the consequences could be much more severe.
We have drug companies running our medical communities by pushing their products, keeping people dependant and lobbying in Washington to keep safer options at bay. Masking symptoms while carrying the knowledge of possible debilitating withdrawal symptoms and side effects is most profitable. This also makes curing illnesses that much less likely. There is no money in a cure.
This is a scary thing, people. Something I hope you will start paying attention to in your own homes and communities. This doesn’t just happen in Hollywood and is not just a topic for Celebrity Rehab.
Original story HERE