We take too many prescription drugs. A study in JAMA(2015:314(17):1818-31. Nov. 3, 2015) was titled, “Trends in prescription drug use among adults in the U.S. from 1999-2012.” The authors used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which included 37,959 adults. The authors found an increase in overall use of prescription drugs among US adults between 1999 and 2012. The most upsetting part of this study was the polypharmacy aspect. The researchers reported that 15% of Americans use at least five prescription drugs. Folks, this is a disaster. Where are the studies that show it is safe to take five or more prescription medications at one time? There aren’t any. Perhaps the increased use in prescription medications resulted in better health outcomes. If you believe that, I may have some swampland in Florida for you! In every health indicator the World Health Organization tracks we finish last or near last among every Western country. We don’t live as long as other Western people and we have more chronic illness. Things are getting worse for us, not better. And, we spend nearly 20% of our GNP on health care–over two-fold higher than any other Western country. Clearly taking more drugs is not the answer.
Prescription drugs and multiple drug combinations are frequently found in the blood of drivers involved in fatal car crashes on US roads, according to a new study in Public Health Reports. Drivers today are more likely to test positive for drugs than drivers 20 years ago, and drugged drivers are now likely to be older than 50. Gone are the days when drunk drivers were our only concern—alcohol is but one of MANY drugs that can make you dangerous behind the wheel. And now many people are on multiple drug cocktails, especially prescription drugs, which multiplies their impairment.
European doctors may have caused as many as 800,000 deaths in five years by following the “standard of care” to use beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients—a guideline based largely on discredited science.
Phthalates are synthetic chemicals used in plastics, lubricants, insect repellants, nail polish, perfumes, and, yes, even in prescription drugs. Phthalates have a number of well known health risks and it’s been well established that patients who take drugs containing phthalates absorb that chemical into their body. In 2012, the FDA politely asked drug companies not to use phthalates in their drugs. This is despite the fact that the FDA has full power to ban phthalates. Why would the FDA issue a voluntary guidance, when they have the power to ban harmful substances outright? The answer, as always, can be reduced to three little words: “Follow the money.” Drug companies today pay a large proportion of the FDA’s budget, and FDA career personnel may hope to work for drug companies later in their career.
No medical drug in the US can be released for public use unless and until the FDA says it is safe and effective. That’s the rule. The FDA is spitting out drug approvals month after month and year after year, and the drugs are routinely killing 100,000 people a year and maiming two million more, which adds up to a million deaths per decade and 20 million maimings per decade. The FDA and the federal government are doing nothing about it, even though they know what’s going on. This is mass murder. Not accidental death.
With nearly 79 million Americans currently taking at least one mind-altering psychiatric drug, it boggles the mind that a May 13, 2014 USA Today article titled, “The cost of not caring: Nowhere to go,” would argue that the nation is somehow suffering from a lack of mental health treatment. According to the article, “More than half a million Americans with serious mental illness are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters.” Based on the fact that one in four Americans is taking at least one psychiatric drug, it seems the psycho-pharmaceutical industry will not be satisfied until every American is under the influence of pharmacological “treatment”. The real force behind the article is the push to increase mental health screening, which is part of Representative Tim Murphy’s (R-Pa) controversial legislation (H.R. 3717). The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013, not only creates a new mental health czar, but it also increases spending for mental health training, screening, awareness campaigns and court-ordered treatment—up to a whopping $270 million a year. And this taxpayer mental health financial benevolence is expected without any data to support that even one psychiatric disorder is based in science. Worse still, nowhere in the article is mention made of the known serious adverse reactions to the psychiatric drugs commonly used as treatment.
What we are looking at is a potential storm of inmate addiction, violence, and soaring federal medical costs. Last month, Alliance for Natural Health told us about how under the new healthcare law, many more prisoners will receive powerful psychotropic drugs to treat mental illness—despite the fact that these drugs are linked to addiction, crime, and violent homicidal outbursts. The social consequences of treating inmates with these drugs is frightening. We all need to utilize safe, effective, and economical alternatives to lucrative Big Pharma drugs. We also need to break the government protected monopoly that allows a company to charge $1,000 per pill. But so long as the money keeps flowing back and forth between Pharma and public officials, it will be difficult to rein in the current plague of crony medicine.
Far from being recognized for their potential health hazards, ADHD drugs have gained a reputation as “cognition enhancers” among students and young professionals. Narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants are also notoriously overprescribed. Benzodiazepines, a class of anxiety drugs, are also widely overused, and a common source of drug addiction. Clearly, what we have here is a gigantic spinning merry-go-round of drug use and addiction to mind-altering medications, where one drug frequently leads to the use of another. The full societal ramifications of all this pain-avoidance, whether physical or emotional, and the insistence on immediate relief, are probably far greater than any of us can conceive.
When I read an article in The Atlantic recently with the title: Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America - Chronic illness is the new first-world problem - it caught my attention. This is the kind of topic we cover on a regular basis here at Health Impact News, but seldom do you read about it in the mainstream media. There are 3 things that are rather astonishing about the sad state of health in America today: 1. We're sicker than previous generations, and most of us know it. 2. We don't seem to care about it too much. It is not headline news. 3. There doesn't seem to be much motivation to change this fact: it seems to have been accepted as the new "norm." Last year, we reported about a study funded by the government and your tax dollars which clearly showed that the United States ranks #1 on healthcare spending, but last in life expectancy among wealthy nations (See:U.S. Ranks First in Healthcare Spending – Last in Life Expectancy). The mainstream media barely even covered this story, and even here at Health Impact News it was probably not even in the top 100 stories read from everything we published last year. The sad fact seems to be that most Americans have adopted an attitude that the current health situation in the U.S. cannot be changed. For those few of you who have not drunk the Kool Aid, and still believe you do have control over your health and have choices you can make to live a healthier life, then this article by John Thomas identifying the problems and solutions is for you. Please understand that if enough Americans understand that the healthcare system (which is not really a "healthcare" system at all but a MEDICAL system) is the primary problem and take measures to avoid it, that it would absolutely destroy our economy, since so much of it is dependent on sick people. But maybe our economy is heading for destruction anyway, so don't let that threat stop you from making healthy choices today.
Deaths caused by overdosing on painkillers now surpass murders and fatal car accidents in the US. America’s rising drug problem recently received renewed attention following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor died from a heroin overdose on February 2. Last year, Hoffman entered rehab when addiction to prescription painkillers led him to switch to heroin. US officials now acknowledge that narcotic painkillers are in fact a driving force in the rise of substance abuse and lethal overdoses.