It’s time to take a serious look at the drug problem in America! According to the CDC, for the first time in recorded U.S. history, prescription drugs killed more people than motor vehicle accidents. The latest compiled research from 2009 showed 37,485 people died from overdoses and side effects of medications compared to 36,284 deaths from traffic accidents. The CDC also released that prescription drug fatalities doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008 and tripled among people 50-69. Let me be very clear, these deaths are not due to illegal street drugs, the study showed that legal prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Soma were the biggest culprits. To put this in perspective, these four prescription drugs caused more deaths in the U.S. than cocaine and heroin combined! This over prescription and overuse has spilled into the teen population in a big way. An article from the Baltimore Sun explains this clearly:
“According to the White House Office of National Drug Policy, prescription drugs are second to marijuana as the drug of choice for today’s teens. In fact, 7 of the top 10 drugs used by 12th graders were prescription drugs. More than 40 percent of high school seniors reported that painkillers are "fairly" or "very" easy to get. They also reported that they believed that if they were to get caught, there was less shame attached to the use of prescription drugs than to street drugs. This mirrors the perceptions of their parents, who when queried said that they felt prescription drugs were a safer alternative to drugs typically sold by a drug dealer."
The fact that our youth believe that prescription drugs are safe or “OK” to dabble in is a direct result of the drug companies and media downplaying the devastating side effects these powerful drugs have. We all need to be responsible for our use of drugs and explain to our children that drugs, all drugs, have very serious effects that can be fatal.
In June 2010 the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported that in the last 30 years there were 62 million death certificates issued with “medication errors” as a cause of death. As you can assume, through those years the numbers were escalating not declining. This drug problem is not going away and it even affects our economy. The current costs of adverse drug reactions are $136 billion annually, which is greater than the total cost of cardiovascular care and treatment. We are now entering a time where the medications that were designed to help us when we are sick, are causing more harm than good. This trend has to stop and can only stop when we look at drugs, all drugs as having serious risks. Not weighing the risks against the “hopeful” benefits can be fatal.
Let’s look at some facts. We have more medications than ever; they are more advanced, and more available than 30 years ago. We have more doctors, and more advanced tests to detect when we need these more advanced medications. More people are taking prescription drugs and doctors are prescribing them earlier and earlier each year. The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs, according to the latest statistics from the Kaiser Health Foundation. Are we getting healthier as a nation because of these wonder drugs? Well, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the US as the 37th healthiest nation in the world. 37th? With the previously stated statistic by the CDC that prescription drugs kill more people than motor vehicle accidents, we need to stop looking for health at the bottom of a pill bottle!
It’s time to start looking for other answers, besides harmful drugs, when we lose our health. Let’s adopt habits of a pro-active lifestyle. We all need to understand how our body’s work, and take care of them from the inside-out. Consult a wellness chiropractor today! They can help you make better choices and keep your body functioning well instead of waiting till it gets sick. Lets’ end our dependency on prescription drugs and rely on our bodies innate ability to be well and stay healthy. That’s the only way to a healthier drug-free America! Be Well!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 April 2012 09:10)