Prescription Painkillers: America’s New Epidemic

Methadone Addiction - Learn MoreI just read a very disturbing article online that pointed out some numbers on how many Americans are dying each year from prescription painkiller drug overdoses.  What bothers me most about this is the majority of the deaths aren’t caused by people abusing these medications to get high.  The problem stems from patients following doctor’s orders, following the dosage for the drug itself, and developing addictions.

This stat really hurts:  Approximately 15,000 people are dying each year from prescription painkiller overdoses.  Believe it or not, that is more than the number of people who die each year from heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.  Those numbers have been increasing dramatically each of the past few years.

I can see two paths that have developed and subsequently converged here.  It’s pretty easy to see why this has become such a problem and the forces at play are very powerful and very stubborn at the same time.

Several years ago someone decided Americans were lazy, out of shape, overweight couch potatoes.  This label came about even before the newer generation of lazy, out of shape, really smart video game addicts took control of the scene.  Even the government got into the act and in 1956 established the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.  So the people in Washington poked their heads in and helped to get more physical activity infused directly into the school day, among other initiatives.

Since the government was prodding us to be more active you knew the other crazies were soon to come around.  The joggers, the bikers, the handball players and all the other weekend warrior types.  I’ve even seen the mall walkers, people.  Mall walkers, who get to walk the malls before they open for business.  Physical fitness is everywhere now, like the spreading of a super virus or a really bad joke.  Gym memberships are at an all-time high in this country, so much so I would like to buy a gym because I wouldn’t have to lift a finger to make a profit.

With all that exercise and physical exertion come injuries.  Legs snapping in half, bones grinding against bones, ligaments being shredded, organs being punctured (depending on your activity of preference, of course), arteries being severed…you get my point.  Along with the joys of leading an active lifestyle comes the threat of serious pain.  Serious pain requires serious painkillers and those painkillers are available in a wide variety depending on your personal pain threshold.

Here comes that second path now, meeting up with the first path and forging an unbreakable bond out of both necessity and profitability.

Here come the doctors who practice Western Medicine.  Do you know what Western Medicine is really all about?  It’s not about healing people.  It has nothing to do with preventive medicine, promoting healthy lifestyles or anything like that.  Western Medicine dictates the Facilitation of the Application of Pretense (let’s call it “FAP”).  In other words, Western Medicine is the practice of prescribing drugs.  Drugs that mask pain or ease symptoms.  In today’s healthcare world, doctors in America aren’t motivated to cure ailments or even prescribe healthy lifestyle instructions to their patients.  They go to big, lavish conferences held by drug manufacturers and are brainwashed to push their products.  Plain and simple.

Think about the last time you visited a doctor.  Did you happen to notice the promotional propaganda scattered about in the exam room?  Did you see all the little table tents pushing the drugs that solve every ailment?  Regardless of what your problem was, did you walk out of that doctor’s office with a prescription of some sort?  If so, was that prescription designed to cure your problem or was it just something to mask your symptoms so you could carry out your regular day-to-day activities?

What better way is there to mask pain other than painkillers?  Vicodin, Oxycodone, Percoset and many more prescription painkillers are commonplace in our world today.  We can’t forget about those anti-inflammatory drugs, either.  These drugs are all considered safe if taken in their prescribed dosages.  That might be true, but when you factor in how long you’re taking them and what you’re taking them with, you can run into some serious trouble from organ damage all the way through to addiction.  You can have the best intentions but obviously something needs to be done to better manage the time one is taking these things.

I know a thing or three about prescription painkillers.  In 1998 both of my knees were taken out by the front bumper of a car that was travelling at 55 miles per hour.  Throw in a couple of broken arms and broken legs and I had a very well-rounded three ring circus of pain going on.  Once I healed enough to have my knees reconstructed I was ready for a steady diet of Percoset.  The doctor who worked on me offered me a never-ending supply of the stuff.  The first thing he asked me at every appointment was if I needed more.  I knew Percoset was a class B narcotic and I knew I had to be careful with it.  I knew that if I drank alcohol with it I’d be putting my liver at risk.  The hard thing was NOT drinking alcohol with it.  One Percoset and three beers is one of the nicest buzzes I’ve ever had.  You can even pull off some nice hallucinations with that combination!

I was lucky, though.  It took two years of surgeries and many rounds of rehab to get that all straightened out and I was lucky to eventually not even need the Percoset even directly after a surgery.  I think part of that was having an excellent orthopedic doctor who knew what he was doing.  Part of it was also being scared stiff of being addicted to a potentially dangerous drug.  But I can see how someone can easily get addicted to them to the point where they miss work, withdraw from their normal activities and other things associated with that type of addiction.  I can certainly understand the perils and the potential of those things messing up one’s life.

The purpose of this blog post is to make you aware of this serious problem.  I encourage you to read the article I read and if you are in a situation where you’re having painkillers prescribed to you, I suggest you to speak to your doctor about them.  Find out what the risks are, talk about the early signs of addiction and even discuss alternative methods of controlling your pain.  My strongest suggestion is that you avoid seeing traditional doctors who practice western medicine altogether, but that’s a whole other blog post for a different time.

The “experts” are calling this prescription painkiller addiction and overdose problem a national epidemic.  The only way to turn the tide on this is through education and common sense.

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  1. KDawg

     /  January 9, 2013

    Excellent point. Many of the foods we consume are processed. A lot of foods contain things that aren’t good for us. Bacon and eggs used to be a great start to a day before they started adding nitrates and preservatives directly to the food. Then they started injecting hormones and other things into the animals harvested for food. One company touts their cheese product as being good for you because each slice contains milk. What they don’t tell you about are all the unnatural ingredients that are also in each slice. These days people seek convenience in preparing their food and that convenience, unfortunately, comes with a price to pay in regard to one’s overall health.

    Thanks for reading and dropping off your comment, Jady G.!

  2. That was a pretty good and strong post you got there. I also loved that abbreviation, “Let’s call it “FAP”.” My Mind couldn’t help but find the slight innuendo in there and it made me giggle.
    Prescription Painkillers though unfortunately aren’t the only health-issue or “Crisis” we are facing sadly. Would be nice if it was. You’ve probably seen articles or heard things about the possibility that they are genetically modifying our food to possibly make us sicker? Some people might think that’s far-fetched but when you look at how many people are absolutely sick, unwell or harboring dis-ease in some way – it’s hard not to give it a moment of “pause”.

    The evidence we have is in our history. About a decade or two ago people were not nearly as sick as they are now. I don’t remember growing up with news stories that constantly said, “Oh god! We are having an Influenza Epidemic!” or “Whooping Cough is the new Epidemic”. That has been the trend in the last decade that I’ve noticed. When one considers how much “Sugar”, additives, artificial preservatives and other nasty goodies or surprises that they put in our food with no idea what their other “alternative” effects could be, I think that’s when we run into a major problems as well.

    We really aught to know what’s going into the things we buy – food, cosmetics perhaps, Body Wash, Shampoo, Conditioner – everything. It’s the only way to take better care of ourselves – through self-empowerment of the people and knowledge. Maybe the drug companies want us “Sicker” so they can make a profit off of us and so can the Doctors, Hospitals and whoever else – but eventually it’s going to bite them in the butt (if that’s how it really is as many believe), me thinks. Right now Hospitals are starting to become overcrowded and I don’t think some people are even getting the care they so desperately “need”. That’s a sad thing.

    As a final note I’d like to share something about a “Prescription Drug” my mother was given for her recovery from Breast Cancer. The Doctor prescribed her a pill that would help keep Cancer cells from regrowing for whatever time period he/she said she should take them for. The problem? The pills granted my mother incredible amounts of lower back pain as well. What did she do? She stopped taking the medication and felt FINE. The Doctor’s clinic offered her another more “expensive” alternative and my Mother asked, “Will this cause the same lower back pain problems?” and the woman responded, “Unfortunately, I believe so – but you are getting it at a discounted price”.

    It’s the information I listed alone that I choose to try and DIY my healthcare. I try to DIY before I see the doctor because most stuff can be taken care of at home if you have the right books with the right information. I think the other best method is definitely seeing a Homeopathic Doctor if you can. That’s just my thoughts and two cents. Take it or leave it as you will.


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