Sunday, July 08, 2007

Acknowledging the role Pharmaceutical Drugs Play in Addiction

The Birmingham News has two articles out today on the surge in deaths from pharma drugs and the problem of too many addicts and too few treatment beds.

I am very happy to see both stories, although it pisses me off royally that the likely reason the BHAM News is running these stories is because of the high profile bust of Brandon Scrushy for possession of pharmaceuticals while out on bond for the same thing and the arrest of Al Gore III for possession of pharmaceutical drugs. I guess all the regular people that make up the majority of numbers of people caught and people who die because of pharma drug addictions just ain't that fucking important.

The second article says some really great things though like;

"We're such a drugged society," said Jack Kalin, a head toxicologist at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, an agency that analyzes blood from drug deaths. "I thought we were drugged back in the'60s, but that was illegal drugs," Kalin said. "That doesn't hold a candle to what we're dealing with today. There are serious problems with illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, he said. "But the sleeper problem is multiple legal drugs. "You go on television and there's a pill for every ailment we have, and some ailments you never even knew you had," Kalin said. Medication has become sustenance, he said. "We're sending bad messages, that medicine is the cure for everything."

I do believe Jack Kalin has some sense boys and girls.

Meanwhile there is a shortage of treatment beds and facilities for people addicted to pharma drugs and all other drugs for that matter.

Chris Retan, executive director of the Aletheia House, said his 100-bed drug treatment center in Birmingham is able to offer treatment to only 20 percent of the people who come in seeking help.

The rest are turned away, and often end up in prison, committing crimes or dead.

"If you don't want people dying ... you've got to provide them with drug treatment," Retan said. "It's just the right thing, not just for them but for the community that wants to be saferStudies have shown that communities get a seven-fold return on dollars spent for drug treatment. It's an investment that drops crime, lowers prison costs and reduces public health problems such as HIV infections, Retan said.

Retan said Aletheia House constantly gets telephone calls from judges saying they have defendants who need treatment, and if they don't get it, they are going to jail.

"Well, we say, `I'm sorry, your honor, but we can't make you that offer,'" Retan said. "So the overcrowding of the prisons to over 200 percent capacity is directly related to our inability to provide drug treatment in a meaningful amount."

Crime statistics from 2005 show that 17,867 people were arrested in Alabama on drug charges. About 90 percent of those arrests were for possession, and 10 percent for dealing, according to the Alabama Justice Criminal Information Center.

Here is my take on the pharmaceutical drug companies. They are the largest, most powerful and best funded lobby in the US. They have lobbied to pass laws that say we will do their drugs for whatever ails us, or we can go to jail. When we become addicted to those same drugs and can no longer get them in a legal manner then we can still go to jail.

I read a story recently in Forbes Magazine that said pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising and marketing than they do on research for the drugs they are pushing. In the case of Lamasil, which is used to treat yellow toenail fungus which has never been known to cause the death of anyone, federal regulators have linked the drug to 16 cases of liver failure, including 11 deaths. Studies show that Lamasil only worked in 38% of cases.

Talk about drug pushers. Read the rest of the FORBES article linked above.

One other thing I noticed about both in the BHAM News articles is that neither of them mention marijuana. The reason for that is because marijuana in NOT ADDICTIVE and WILL NOT KILL YOU. Maybe these news folks are starting to wise up and push away from the ONDCP propaganda trough and be a little more honest about where the real dangers with drugs lie.


paul said...

Joni Lynn said...

Here I am struggling to get the right amount/dose of pain medication from my doctor, and fighting for my right to have and partake of medical marijuana for MANY of my extremely painful and irritating conditions, yet since I was three years old, I've been given more pharmaceuticals than you could almost fathom! THESE pharmaceuticals have literally been the cause of many more health conditions and problems, and I have to suffer in pain everyday because the pain I'm in is profound and I'm told I can only have so many pain pills per day, yet I've been on the same dose, or close to it, for over 8 years now! My pain is desperately worse and I have more conditions now than I had 8 years ago, yet I practically have to BEG just to get my recommended dose! YET, if I were able to be a legitimate medical marijuana recipient/patient, my back pain, insomnia, nausea, seizures, tremors, migraines, and fibromyalgia, among other things... would improve tremendously, yet everytime I mention this to my doctor, she tries to give a shitload MORE of pharmaceuticals!

I could have so many lawsuits going on for all of the meds I've been on that have been recalled or ones that I shouldn't of even been prescribed due to interactions! YET, all I want is MY DAMN RIGHT to take care of myself with the medicine that works the best and is effective with literally every single condition I have!

Yet, because of BigPharma, their precious money, and devilish greed, I have to suffer and live under their dictatorship; either that, or go to jail and be treated like an animal!

Where's the justice in that? Justice IS blind, but IT can be heard!

joni lynn said...

Anonymous said...

The patient must be aggressive in his/her own treatment and even the diagnosis. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell my doctor my condition, what to prescribe, the dosage, etc. One thing happening in the U.S. is that doctors are overbooking the number of patients they see, so they cannot possibly be prepared when the patient comes in, and cannot possibly care for each patient properly. Many doctors are basically blood-takers and pill-pushers, period. At least I have medical insurance and a good internet connection so I can research doctors and drugs and choose the good ones. I have an inside track to health care, having medical people in my family, but most folks do not have this luxury so they are at the mercy of the medical establishment and big pharma who are in bed together, and who ARE NOT working for Americans best interests. Unfortunately, the people who need care the most are the most vunerable. The young and old are prime prey for these vultures since they can't arm and therefore defend themselves, and the federal government sure as hell isn't going to help them...