Perhaps the fallout of the
Jun 17, 1971
Nixon Begins War on Drugs
President Richard Nixon coins the phrase, "War on Drugs," promising in a major speech to defeat "public enemy number one in the
United States. If we cannot destroy the drug menace, then it
will destroy us."
That was forty-four years ago that
launched a war on drugs, both illegal drugs, and the pre-occupation of
Americans with legal prescription drugs.
Drug statistics, conveniently, it may seem, run about five years behind in reporting.
Prescription drug use
Percent of persons using at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days: 48.5% (2007-2010)
Percent of persons using three or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days: 21.7% (2007-2010)
Percent of persons using five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days: 10.6% (2007-2010)
Source: Health, United States, 2013, table 92[PDF - 9.8 MB](http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus13.pdf#092)
Physician office visits
Number of drugs ordered or provided: 2.6 billion
Percent of visits involving drug therapy: 75.1%
Most frequently prescribed therapeutic classes:
Source: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2010 Summary Tables, tables 22, 23, 24[PDF - 382 KB](http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ahcd/namcs_summary/2010_namcs_web_tables.pdf)
Hospital outpatient department visits
Number of drugs ordered or provided: 285.1 million
Percent of visits involving drug therapy: 74.4%
Most frequently prescribed therapeutic classes
Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2010 Outpatient Department Summary Tables, tables 18, 19, 20[PDF - 330 KB](http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ahcd/nhamcs_outpatient/2010_opd_web_tables.pdf)
Hospital emergency department visits
Number of drugs ordered or provided: 286.2 million
Percent of visits involving drug therapy: 80.3%
Most frequently prescribed therapeutic classes
Antiemetic or antivertigo agents
Minerals and electrolytes
Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2011 Emergency Department Summary Tables. Tables 20, 21, 22[PDF - 1
The report -- titled "Health, United States 2013" -- found the percentage of Americans taking prescription drugs has increased dramatically. During the most recent period, from 2007 to 2010, about 48% of people said they were taking prescription medication, compared with 39% in 1988 to 1994.
Prescription drug use increased with age. About one in four children took one or more prescription drugs in the past month, compared to nine in 10 adults 65 and older, according to the study.
"This is really not earth-shattering news. There's an increasing number of people with chronic illnesses, and the primary management tool available for dealing with chronic illness is medication," said William Lang, vice president of policy and advocacy for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
One in 10 Americans said he or she had taken five or more prescription drugs in the previous month. That raises concerns about potential drug interactions, said Anne Burns, senior vice president for professional affairs at the American Pharmacists Association.
"We know that the number of adverse drug events a patient is likely to experience increases as the number of medications they are taking increases," Burns said. "You've got everything from potential interactions between medications to timing issues taking a variety of medications throughout the day."
People who took five or more drugs in the past month tended to be older. Only 10.8 percent of people taking that many drugs were between 18 and 44, while 41.7 percent were between 45 and 64 and 47.5 percent were 65 and older.
Drugs to manage cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease are the most widely used medications among adults, the CDC report found.
In particular, the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among people 18 to 64 has increased more than six-fold since 1988-1994, due in part to the increased use of statins. Also, nearly 18 percent of adults 18 to 64 took at least one cardiovascular drug during the past month.
The CDC report noted some headway in efforts to combat the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Prescriptions of antibiotics for cold symptoms during routine medical visits declined 39 percent between 1995-1996 and 2009-2010.
But the report also found a tripling of overdose deaths due to prescription narcotics. Painkillers taken among people 15 and older caused 6.6 deaths for every 100,000 people in 2009-2010, compared with 1.9 deaths per 100,000 in 1999-2000.
There has been a fourfold increase in antidepressant use among adults, but Holmes said that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Seeking help for a mental health disorder isn't as stigmatized as it once was, she noted. In addition, companies have introduced more effective antidepressants, and researchers have found that antidepressants also can be used to treat panic and anxiety disorders.
"If antidepressants enable people to function fully in their social roles, that's a good thing," Holmes said.
All that said, prescription drug use has spiraled out of control since 2010 as health officials now say antibiotics, antidepressants, and opioids are used by seven out of ten people.
Drug overdose death rates have never been higher. In the
alone, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day, most of them caused by
prescription drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
officially declared prescription drug abuse in the US an epidemic.
Number one on the list of prescribed drugs, we continue to be subject to levels of antibiotics far in excess of our needs, and the shift of antibiotics to animal feed from human treatment assures our contamination for years to come, even if we stop taking antibiotics for a toothache, and for many other reasons.
It is also important to note that antibiotics are frequently used in settings where they will not provide any benefits. An example of this sort of inappropriate use of antibiotics is for viral infections, such as the common cold. In fact, there is a tendency for patients to believe that if they are ill with an "infection", an antibiotic is the solution. Well, it's not always.
As recently reported in the news, For The Love Of Pork: Antibiotic Use On Farms Skyrockets Worldwide.
The love of meat is exploding in
and with it, comes antibiotic consumption by chickens (top) and pigs (bottom).
Green represents low levels of drug used; yellow and orange are medium levels;
and red and magenta are high levels.
Pig farmers around the world, on average, use nearly four times as much antibiotics as cattle ranchers do, per pound of meat. Poultry farmers fall somewhere between the two.
That's one of the conclusions of a study published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It's the first look at the amount of antibiotics used on farms around the world — and how fast consumption is growing.
The numbers reported are eye-opening. In 2010, the world used about 63,000 tons of antibiotics each year to raise cows, chickens and pigs, the study estimated. That's roughly twice as much as the antibiotics prescribed by doctors globally to fight infections in people.
"We have huge amounts of antibiotic use in the animal sector around the world, and it's set to take off in a major way in the next two decades," says the study's senior author, Ramanan Laxminarayan, who directs the Center for Disease Dynamics Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C.
In all cases, since we know the over-use of antibiotics increases drug resistance in cells in our bodies, which make us susceptible to many new mutant, drug-resistant bacteria and virus's such as staff infections and others. It may also be a contribution factor to increases in well known diseases like cancer.
Antidepressants - Feel Good Medicine
Antidepressants Aren't Taken By The Depressed; Majority Of Users Have No Disorder
Depression’s increase in the
U.S. has been persisting for years,
and it’s going on decades. And while the increase in antidepressant use has
followed a predictably similar path, not all cases can be explained by the
parallel rise in disease. Many people, in fact, take antidepressants regardless
of a diagnosis.
A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports some 69 percent of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the primary type of antidepressants, have never suffered from major depressive disorder (MDD). Perhaps worse, 38 percent have never in their lifetime met the criteria for MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder, yet still take the pills that accompany them.
In a society that is increasingly self-medicating itself, capsules, tablets, and pills are turning from last resorts to easily obtained quick fixes. Between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400 percent. Today, 11 percent of the American population takes a regular antidepressant, which, by the latest study’s measure, may be a severe inflation of what’s actually necessary.
Opioids - Pain Killers
Although many types of prescription drugs are abused, prescription opioids take the lead. Chronic pain is frequently treated with prescription opioids, the clinical use of which nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010. This increase was accompanied by a rise in opioid abuse; it’s estimated that over two million people in the
currently abuse prescription opioids. Nearly 75% of prescription drug overdoses
are caused by prescription opioid painkillers;
these drugs are involved in more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. In
2010, pharmaceutical drug overdoses were established as one of the leading
causes of death in the US;
drug overdoses were more lethal than firearms or motor vehicle accidents.
If you take any of the following you could be subject to drug abuse.
Central nervous system depressants include:
Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®)
The Most Popular Drug in America is an Antipsychotic—and No One Really Knows How it Works
The Raw Story – November 16, 2014
By Martha Rosenberg
Does anyone remember Thorazine? It was an antipsychotic given to mentally ill people, often in institutions, that was so sedating, it gave rise to the term “Thorazine shuffle.” Ads for Thorazine in medical journals, before drugs were advertised directly to patients, showed Aunt Hattie in a hospital gown, zoned out but causing no trouble to herself or anyone else. No wonder Thorazine and related drugs Haldol, Mellaril and Stelazine were called chemical straitjackets.
But Thorazine and similar drugs became close to obsolete in 1993 when a second generation of antipsychotics which included Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon and Abilify came online. Called “atypical” antipsychotics, the drugs seemed to have fewer side effects than their predecessors like dry mouth, constipation and the stigmatizing and permanent facial tics known as TD or tardive dyskinesia. (In actuality, they were similar.) More importantly, the drugs were obscenely expensive: 100 tablets of Seroquel cost as much as $2,000, Zyprexa, $1,680 and Abilify $1,644.
One drug that is a close cousin of Thorazine, Abilify, is currently the top-selling of all prescription drugs in the U.S. marketed as a supplement to antidepressant drugs, reports the Daily Beast. Not only is it amazing that an antipsychotic is outselling all other drugs, no one even knows how it works to relieve depression, writes Jay Michaelson. The standardized United States Product Insert says Abilify’s method of action is “unknown” but it likely “balances” brain’s neurotransmitters. But critics say antipsychotics don’t treat anything at all, but zone people out and produce oblivion. They also say there is a concerning rise in the prescription of antipsychotics for routine complaints like insomnia.
They are right. With new names and prices and despite their unknown methods of action, Pharma marketers have devised ways to market drugs like Abilify to the whole population, not just people with severe mental illness. Only one percent of the population, after all, has schizophrenia and only 2.5 percent has bipolar disorder. Thanks to these marketing ploys, Risperdal was the seventh best-selling drug in the world until it went off patent and Abilify currently rules.
Just as Big Pharma has camped out in Medicare and Medicaid, living on our tax dollars while fleeing to England to avoid taxes, Pharma has also camped out in the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Arguably, no drugs have been as good for Big Pharma as atypical antipsychotics within the military. In 2009, the Pentagon spent $8.6 million on Seroquel and VA spent $125.4 million—almost $30 million more than is spent on a F/A-18 Hornet.
Risperdal was even bigger in the military. Over a period of nine years, VA spent $717 million on its generic, risperidone, to treat PTSD in troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet not only was risperidone not approved for PTSD, it didn’t even work. A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the drug worked no better than placebo and the money was totally wasted.