Drugs, drugs everywhere, and we’re not talking about the illicit kind, but those available legally on prescription. Based on a depressing mountain of statistics produced by a wide array of government and private institutions, maybe the “War on Drugs” launched by Richard Nixon in 1971, needs to be re-launched, this time with a new enemy: Prescription Drugs. Paul Rowney, reports.
The figures show a country close to addiction on drugs manufactured and sold legally and freely. They also describe a frightening increase in use, and abuse, over the last decade.
This addiction covers all age and social groups, across every State, nationwide. And it’s getting worse, not better.
Overall in the US spend on medicines has almost doubled in just over 10 years, from $215 bn in 2003 to $425 bn in 2015.
In fact, America consumes 80% of the World’s pain medication while only having 6% of its population.
There are some sound, non-addictive reasons why this has occurred: an increase in population, more healthcare coverage allowing access to these drugs, changes in the law, the aging population, and the overall decline in health related to such problems as obesity.
But one of the other main drivers worsening this problem has to be the Advertising and Marketing of drugs. America is only one of two countries in the World (New Zealand being the other) that allows, with few restrictions, “Direct to Consumer Advertising” for prescription drugs. Some $3.5bn (2012) was spent trying to persuade US consumers to ‘buy’ their drugs. But that’s just the start, Big Pharma spent another $24bn promoting their wares direct to Doctors. And just to make sure their backs were covered, combined they doled out $509m to Lobbyists in 2016 alone to make sure no inconvenient laws curtailed the blanketing of America with their sales messages.
And all these advertising dollars are driving the demand from the American public for more and more drugs.
As a result America has the largest Pharmaceutical market in the World, worth a staggering $339,694 million, four times as large as Japan, second in the table.
The trickle down effect of this relentless pressure on the consumer and medical community has now reached the stage where nearly half the population is on at least one prescription drug a month and nearly 22% are on three or more prescription drugs each month: That’s over 70 million users; potential addicts in the making?
As they say, Big Pharma doesn’t create cures, they create customers. And unlike other manufacturers and producers, their products can get you hooked for life.
Some more depressing news: Deaths from pain medication abuse out number deaths from traffic accidents in young adults and the biggest abusers of prescription drugs are, you guessed it, aged 18-25.
But Big Pharma wants to get you hooked even earlier, if possible. So children and teens are a big market, in particular when it comes to ADHD drugs. It’s estimated that some 15% of children are now on drugs for ADD/ADHD, up from 7.3% in 2003.
This litany of statistics show a tidal wave of prescription drugs effecting every aspect of our lives, should be a cause of worry to all of us. (Not of course to Big Pharma who one assumes, regards this as a huge business achievement).
Maybe instead of relying on drugs to solve our physical and psychological problems, we should be looking at alternatives?
The sad, hopeful, but underreported fact; there are non drug therapies for many of the ailments currently treated with this super funded arsenal of drugs. Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Migraines and many more respond well and effectively, to a wide range of treatments that will not leave you addicted, or dependent, on anything or any product.
For example: In the four months since we opened the Harmonized Brain Center in Nashville, using the well established LENS Neurofeedback treatment, we have helped dozens of people get off their meds and onto the route of a drug free existence, particularly those with problems such as Depression, Anxiety, Concussion, Migraines and ADHD. The scope of this article doesn’t allow us to go into detail about how LENS Neurofeedback can help, but please do call us on 615 331 8762 to find out more. There are alternatives to drugs, it’s worth a little of your time finding out how they can help.
- Over a billion prescription painkillers were prescribed in Oklahoma in one year.
- Over a two-year period out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly nine million hydrocodone pills to one particular pharmacy in Mingo County, W.Va.