by Dr. Mercola

Many Americans take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs — including half of men aged to 65 to 74, and nearly 40 percent of women aged 75 and older.

In fact, a grand total of one in four Americans aged 45 and older are taking a statin. That means there are almost 32 million Americans taking a statin — the equivalent of the entire populations of Florida and Illinois combined.

Writing in the Harvard Health Letter, Peter Wehrwein says:

“Of course, heart disease death rates have fallen for a whole host of reasons … but lower cholesterol levels also belong on the list of positive influences … But there are alternatives…

Pat Skerrett, editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, has written a great piece about the 11 foods that lower your cholesterol. And I wrote an article for the Health Letter a few years ago about ways to manage common problems, such as cholesterol, without taking medication.”

It’s in your best interest to lower the amount of prescription drugs you take. In Ohio, fatal overdoses of prescription drugs have more than quadrupled in the last decade. By 2007, they had surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death. The Obama administration has announced plans to fight prescription drug addiction nationally — across the country, the problem is now killing more people than crack cocaine in the 1980’s and heroin in the 1970’s combined.

The vast majority of young people get the drugs indirectly from dealers and other users who have access to prescriptions.

According to the New York Times:

“Families are joining forces to combat the problem. Mothers whose children died from addiction have started to picket clinics that they believed were reckless with prescriptions.”

New research finds that unintentional overdose deaths from prescription medications have reached epidemic proportions. In 2007, prescription opioid painkillers were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

In fact, in 20 states, the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths exceeded both motor vehicle crashes and suicides.

Psych Central reports:

“According to the researchers, approximately 27,500 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2007, driven to a large extent by prescription opioid overdoses … Opioids are synthetic versions of opium that are used to treat moderate and severe pain.”


Health, United States, 2010
Harvard Health Publications April 15, 2011
New York Times April 19, 2011
Office of National Drug Control Policy April 19, 2011
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry April 19, 2011
Psych Central April 26, 2011

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Prescription drug use in the United States, both unnecessary prescriptions and prescription drug abuse, is an epidemic in its own right. The average American aged 19 to 64 now takes close to 12 prescription drugs every year!

The average senior typically fills over 31 prescriptions every year, and even children between the ages of 0 and 18 are taking an average of close to 4 prescriptions annually.

At the top of the list of most overused and unnecessary drugs are statin cholesterol-lowering medications, which new research shows one in four Americans aged 45 and older now take. That amounts to 32 million Americans or, as Peter Wehrwein pointed out in the Harvard Health Letter, the equivalent of the entire populations of Florida and Illinois combined.

In the report Health, United States, 2010 from the National Center for Health Statistics, it’s noted that half of men ages 65 to 74 also take statins, along with nearly 40 percent of women ages 75 and older. This is simply outrageous.

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