Thursday, May 10, 2007

Drug Wars II

Last week, I wrote about how illegal drug usage has skyrocketed. There is another phenomenon taking place simultaneously. We are taking more prescription drugs than ever before. Some would have us believe that it is due to our being better able to diagnose and treat diseases. I am not so sure.

One in ten of our children are taking prescription drugs. Not just for treating diseases, the majority of them are taking a potent cocktail of psychiatric drugs for behavioral problems. For the first time ever spending for behavioral problems outpaced spending for antibiotics and asthma among children. One in twenty of our kids are taking more than three prescription drugs per day. There has been a 369% increase in spending on ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyper Disorder) drugs for kids under five. That’s right, kids under 5! We are setting them up for a lifetime of drug dependency and we do not even know what the long term effects of these drugs are. We are already seeing an increase in suicides and violence in our young people. Not to mention the costs they will incur for a lifetime of drug therapy.

Are there children who have legitimate medical reasons for taking prescription medication? Of course there are, but from the numbers there appears to be a large number of doctors and parents that are using these medications for quick fixes. There are some doctors over prescribing these dangerous drugs and misdiagnosing these children. We are not even letting these children develop personalities before we begin to try to alter them with these psycho drugs, many of which were not even developed for or tested on children. We must be careful and more diligent in this area; the stakes are too high to just casually prescribe these medications.

American consumers spent nearly $100 billion on prescription drugs last year, more than double what the nation spent on drugs in 1990. That number seems astronomical to me, so I have to break it down in a form that I can understand. That would put us number 48 on the worldwide country GNP list. We spent more money on prescription drugs than three-fourths of the world made in GNP. Why do we need to take so many drugs? Are our lives any better with all these drugs? Has our medical care gotten better because of taking all these prescription drugs?

There are a few things that are crystal clear concerning prescription medication in recent years:

1) Most seniors are taking more than one prescription drug, with almost half taking three or more.

2) Children are becoming major consumers of prescription drugs, in some cases on par with their parents, depending on their age.

3) The policy of prescribing multiple drugs simultaneously has become standard practice for most medical doctors and hospitals.

On the one hand we condemn the use of recreational drugs in our society and criminalize it, however we have no problem with drug usage as long as it prescribed and distributed by “Big Pharma”. We go into the schools proclaiming the dangers of drugs at the same time every morning these same kids are standing in line to get their morning dose of “Ritalin” to make them feel better. So, it is okay to use drugs to feel better so long as they are the drugs we give you. Am I the only one who sees the inconsistency here?

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