Reasons Prescription Medicines May Be Killing Thousands of Americans Each Year

A recent article in the Huffington Post highlighted the alarming statistic that there is an American killed by psychiatric drugs and prescription painkillers every 14 minutes. The number of people taking such tranquilizers has jumped 286 percent from the year 2000 to 2009 and will probably reach 341 percent by December 2011.

Doctors admit having inadvertently created a huge black market for these prescription painkillers. The CDC reports that doctors’ prescribing practices have caught up with them. In 2009 there were over 37,000 deaths caused by improper or over-prescribing of prescription painkillers and stimulants by American doctors. This number now exceeds the number of deaths from both car accidents and firearm mishaps.

On the streets, 20 Vicodin pills, perhaps purchased through insurance for minor amounts, can sell for $1,000-$2,000. Prescriptions for stimulant drugs have skyrocketed and Vicodin is the single most prescribed painkiller. The cost of these prescription medications is significantly higher than the cost of cocaine or even heroin on the streets. Because of over-prescribing, the streets are awash with the prescribed drugs and drug peddlers are making huge profits.

According to the CDC, painkillers are the single most dangerous of all the drugs available. Since they are not being prescribed by psychiatrists but rather other types of physicians, they have not been identified as killers.

Physicians believe there is a lot more we can do to better educate the public and medical field about this problem we have propelled. It starts by being more cautious, talking more and educating patients and having a higher bar for prescribing these drugs.

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The Pain of Addiction

Vicodin addiction often starts innocently enough. Most people start taking Vicodin or other pain medications after surgery or an injury. But then they can’t stop. They need more to get the same pain relief. They start doctor shopping to get more pills. And the cycle continues until it takes over their lives.