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More Deaths from Pharmaceutical Painkillers than Cocaine and Heroin Combined

Anthony Gucciardi
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November 2nd, 2011
Updated 11/08/2012 at 10:54 pm
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drugsod2 210x131 More Deaths from Pharmaceutical Painkillers than Cocaine and Heroin Combined

More Americans died in 2008 from pharmaceutical painkiller overdose than fatalities from illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin combined. Responsible for nearly 15,000 deaths in 2008, prescription painkillers have become wildly popular among Americans. The news comes after a previous report found drugs to outnumber traffic accidents in fatalities. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, as of last year more than 12 million were on prescription painkillers purely for the high they cause instead of their intended medical purpose.

Many of these individuals obtain the drugs by eliciting prescriptions from several doctors, known as ‘doctor shopping’ within the community. Others purchase them from underground drug rings and illegal online pharmacies, bringing the ingredients into question. It is no wonder that the amount of painkillers made available at pharmacies and even doctors’ offices has quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. In fact, the CDC has blamed irresponsible doctors for unnecessarily prescribing painkillers to patients who do not need them:

“More of a problem is now created by a few irresponsible doctors than drug pushers on street corners,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters in a phone briefing.

The issue is very similar to the current problems surrounding antipsychotic drugs. With 50% of all Americans to be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime, antipsychotic drugs have become the most popular therapeutic class drug. Even as experts speak out against antipsychotics in a similar manner to how many are raising awareness against prescription pain medication, it seems that the medical establishment has ignored the evidence.

“The system is awash with opioids, drugs that get people hooked and keep them hooked,” Frieden said.

In 27 years, there have been 3 million deaths from prescription drugs, and 0 from vitamins. Prescription drugs come with up to 525 negative side effects, with around 70 being the average. Avoiding these drugs and utilizing high quality organic alternatives like whole food-based multivitamins and green superfoods will lead to a total health transformation without harsh side effects and an exponentially increased death risk.

About Anthony Gucciardi:
1.thumbnail More Deaths from Pharmaceutical Painkillers than Cocaine and Heroin CombinedGoogle Plus ProfileAnthony is the Editor of NaturalSociety whose work has been read by millions worldwide and is routinely featured on major alternative and mainstream news website alike, including the powerful Drudge Report, NaturalNews, Daily Mail, and many others. Anthony has appeared on programs like Russia Today (RT), Savage Nation, The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM, and many others. Anthony is also dedicated to aiding various non-profit organizations focused around health and rehabilitation as well as the creator of the independent political website Storyleak

From around the web:

  • http://www.carolinadrugrehab.org/rehab-programs.html Cheryl

    This statement says it all…"In 27 years, there have been 3 million deaths from prescription drugs, and 0 from vitamins. Prescription drugs come with up to 525 negative side effects, with around 70 being the average. Avoiding these drugs and utilizing high quality organic alternatives like whole food-based multivitamins and green superfoods will lead to a total health transformation without harsh side effects and an exponentially increased death risk." There are exceptions with some very good, caring doctors out there who watch what you are taking, but I have run across too many that are not watching what you are consuming and are deadly. This has happened to multiple family members.

  • Carline

    In my case, and many others I would imagine, the benefits outweigh the downside. These drugs should not be rationed out solely to dying cancer patients. They must remain an available option for those of us who suffer from agonizing conditions that we have no choice but to live with on a daily basis. People in pain do not need bureaucratic government agencies like The CDC making treatment decisions for them in this country. http://www.nonfaithbased-drugrehab.org/contact-us

  • http://www.nonfaithbased-drugrehab.org/blog/ site link

    Why is the Government even interferring with people's drinking habits. If someone wishes to drink themselves silly then that is their right. The suggestion that the Government should ban advertising of alcohol is absurd and is an attempt to infantalise the population.

  • Gudrun Johnson

    I agree with Mike. decriminalize all drugs for adults. Just like alcohol and cigarettes. One should be able to buy good quality heroin or cocaine over the counter as well as other recreational drugs. The only role I would like to see the Gov play in any of this is Quality control. It is your body and you should have the right to ingest mind altering substances if you choose to. If your little daughter Sally decides for whatever reason to start shooting dope, that is her choice. If the heroin she is using is regulated for strength and purity by some responsible agency she is more likely to come home alive than if she is shooting dope from the street that is almost always a sort of russian roulette. In a case like that it is your fanatical anti drug attitude which is more likely the true cause of her "accidental over dose." Other countries have decriminalized hard drugs and have had positive benefits from it. Check out Portugal for instance. You "puritans" think there is something wrong with pleasure be it from drugs or sex or whatever. What is your motto:? "No Pleasure Without Pain."

    Then on the other hand if she is arrested for possession and sent to prison, she will most likely end up the sex slave of some butch dike lesbo. Think about that you moralist fanatics.

  • Mike

    Hey Diane, I got news for you, if the parents did their job they shouldn't have to worry about "kids" as you say getting into this stuff. That's a whole different topic all together. But, the bottom line is that opium/opiate derivatives have been around for centuries and they will continue to be. We have too much government regulation as it, the government should not have a say in what a person does or does not put into their body. In fact just like prohibition increased gang violence 10 fold in the 1920's, (which mostly ceased to exist once alcohol was legal again). I believe if all drugs were made legal, there first of all would not be thousands of people suddenly going out and using something like heroin. In fact, just the opposite would probably happen and like life after prohibition, drug related violence would almost be non existent. Plus the whole idea of it being a "bad taboo", act that entices teens to want to try it would actually make most young teens just think of it as no big deal, and so the level of use with teens would surely decrease. My point is, drug use weather legitimately needed and prescribed or not should be up to the individual regarding what they personally choose to put into their own body or not. It should no be up to what some bueratic agency with its own self appointed non elected members choose. All drugs should be legal period. Just like the local town drunk who lives out of a shopping cart wants to be a wandering unemployed drunk bum all day provided he/she is not causing any public disturbances or bothering anyone, I see no reason why some drug addicted bum can't also be allowed to choose his/her own fate again provided they are not causing any problems to others. I myself am not a drug user or here to glorify drug use, I just believe that in a truly free society the right to what you can and can't put into your own body comes down to your individual choice. That goes for what is prescribed and what is found on the streets. The drug companies are going to still manufacture drugs anyway.

    • ME

      Mike, as a recovering Heroin addict, alcohol is 10 fold less addictive then drugs like opiates and methamphetamines. When we try alcohol in high school, and beyond, addiction comes slowly and at much lower rate, because it is so far from opiates on the physically and mentally addictive scales. So next time you think legalizing would be a good idea, think about your child or grandchild trying heroin (since now it would be easy to obtain and much more common among youth, I NEVER came across hard drugs in high school just 5 years ago) and rather then them just having a good time a thinking lets do that again next weekend, it becomes the best feeling they've every experienced and nothing else will every bring that feeling, it quickly (within days) becomes an every day activity, or necessity for their survival. I got into heroin because I had two sports related surgeries and was prescribes opiate pain killers, which I took responsibly as prescribes, and got addicted over time. And when somebody told me heroin provided the EXACT same feeling as those pills, only better and cheaper. I tried it, regretfully and foolishly. But your body and subconsious does not take into account that it will ruin your life quicker than you can imagine. SOOOOO next time you decide to suggest something so f*cking stupid and careless and thoughtless, think of somebody you love ruining there life because heroin was legal and you thought they'd be "smart" enough not to get addicted (because clearly all drug addicts and alcoholics want to end up ruining there lives.. NOT). So again, stop saying and thinking such stupid f*cking thoughts you careless ignorant f*ck.

  • ClusterHead

    As a law abiding adult, who lives with chronic severe pain, I resent the statements of CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, that,“More of a problem is now created by a few irresponsible doctors than drug pushers on street corners,” . Yes, I am well aware of the dangers of long term opiate use, however, it is, and should remain, a decision that is between my doctor and myself. In my case, and many others I would imagine, the benefits outweigh the downside. These drugs should not be rationed out solely to dying cancer patients. They must remain an available option for those of us who suffer from agonizing conditions that we have no choice but to live with on a daily basis. People in pain do not need bureaucratic government agencies like The CDC making treatment decisions for them in this country. M.D.'s are qualified, and allowed, to make these decisions on a case by case basis, and I certainly hope it stays that way. Pain medicine should not only be reserved for the dying. A person who is is LIVING with severe chronic pain needs to have access to this medication without being branded a "drug seeker", or an addict. Doctors nowadays are extremely hesitant to prescribe opiates because of the abundance of bad press like this. Sure, there are, as stated in the article,"a few irresponsible doctors", but why on Earth should this be cause to punish every doctor and patient who has responsibly, and legally, used these drugs for the purpose that they are intended? Is this nothing more than a case of one or two bad apples spoiling the entire bunch, or in this case, population? This is extremely troubling to me, as a person who has suffered from an incurable neurological disease that is indescribably excruciating. If I were denied access to the pain medication that I am prescribed, I would wish that I were one of the dying patients.

    • diane

      I would say its not "one or two" bad apples, it's a truckload of bad apples, and unfortunate and tragically suffering chronic pain sufferers are not the focus of the article. Its about the kids who get it in school, irresponsible docs who give it to patients for a sore tennis elbow etc, and the addicts who sell their methadone for pills, but even more its the underlying pathetic state of modern man, who needs something artificial to feel good about life itself. The article isn't about chronic pain issues or sufferers. Hope you find some relief to your condition down the road.

    • nathan

      And there are millions and millions and millions of us in various similar situations.

      Educate your kids, and give them the support they need if they get in trouble. Ask your government to step in for support (and by support I don't mean throwing them in prison) for cases where families/friends are not able to step in for one reason or another. And let the rest of us be, whether we want the stuff because we "need" it or because people are chasing pleasure.

      Lucky for me, pot does the trick well enough. Lucky, because you can still function at a much higher level than when on opiates, because it's not addictive and because I can find it everywhere in the world. But typically I face potential danger both from the law and supplier, every time I go to look for my meds, primarily because of the stupid laws surrounding the whole thing.

      Meanwhile, drug-related violence continues on throughout the world, in particular seriously messing with many Latin American country. One of many problems that could be profitably solved by legalizing everything and picking up the (much smaller) pieces left behind. Sorry for the kids that get into the mess, but entire countries pay the price for the current legal framework. If trips to the firey place below were based on outcomes rather than intent to do right, the puritans out there would surely have secured their place.

  • Anonymous

    Share this with the AMA and see what they say.