By Ryan Dube
Top Secret Writers
On June 12th, BBC writer Paul Adams explored a troubling rising statistic in the United States – the rise of drug addition. Not illegal drug addition, but instead the growing addiction to perfectly legal prescription drugs.
According to the report, prescription drugs represent that fastest growing drug problem in the United States – surpassing both heroin and crack cocaine in accidental drug overdoses.
More and more states are suffering under the growing burden of prescription drug addiction, a problem that affects more and more kids every year. The problem is that as teens seek to experiment with drugs, they unfortunately choose to experiment with the prescription drugs stored in their parents’ medicine cabinet.
Unlike days past when teens experimented with drugs that were not quite as potent or addictive, children today are stumbling upon drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry that far surpass most natural substances in terms of addictiveness.
In 2009 along, 978 people died from prescription drug overdose in Kentucky. 7 people died in Florida. 4 people died in Ohio. The list goes on as you explore the rising rates in every U.S. State. The real tragedy is this – the average age of the youngest prescription drug addicts is 11 years old.
Rising Drug Use Leads to Rising Crime
Unfortunately, with rising drug addiction comes rising crime, as addicts seek to feed their addiction using any means at their disposal. This usually leads to an increase in armed robbery of businesses and individuals, either to find money so that they can purchase the drugs illegally on the black market, or to steal the drugs themselves from pharmacies or private homes.
In Kentucky, where prescription drug addiction rates are at the highest point in the nation, officials are calling the problem, “Pharmageddon.” Dan Smooth of Unite in Kentucky told Paul Adams:
“I believe I can safely say that over 80% of the inmates in the Pike County regional detention centre are in there for something dealing with their addiction to prescription drugs.”
In April of 2011, the White House administration told drug makers that produce the most potent drugs – the “extended release” drugs – that they need to take a more active part in educating both doctors as well as patients.
The problem, of course, is the fact that drug makers instead provide doctors with financial incentives to prescribe their drugs rather than other drugs on the market, regardless which drugs actually work better.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics revealed troubling statistics about how doctors feel about the influence pharmaceutical companies have upon prescription decisions that doctors make.
While only half of the doctors surveyed responded to the survey questions, those that did respond admitted that it was okay to accept incentives, such as free drug samples, lunches, or a well-paid consultantship, from pharmaceutical companies.
The most troubling statistic is that 33 percent of the doctors admitted that they would often choose to prescribe drugs where free samples were offered because some patients had financial needs that made many other prescriptions unaffordable.
This leads to the next question: Are pharmaceutical companies using the “free sample” technique to develop a needful and desperate base of drug addicts that will beg their doctor for prescriptions to obtain more of the medication?
Without stiff regulation of the drug industry, it seems certain that the problem of prescription drug addiction in the U.S. is only going to get much worse.