From The Huffington Post: Celebrity Overdoses Highlight Prescription Drug Epidemic – Why Do We Need High Profile Deaths To Wake America Up?
Here is an article excerpted from a longer piece in The Huffington Post about the prescription drug epidemic. ONE80CENTER always avoid the tabloid approach to celebrity overdoses, and we respect the privacy of people across the board. Nevertheless, it is time for the rash of celebrity overdoses on account of prescription drug addiction and abuse to truly raise awareness across the nation and open the eyes of the public to this raging epidemic. It is not getting any better… it is only getting worse and the time for prevention is now!
Excerpts from the Huffington Post:
On Feb. 11, 2012, on the eve of the Grammy Awards, Whitney Houston fell asleep in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles and never woke up… it’s been well established that the 48-year-old singer ingested a cocktail of cocaine and prescription drugs before taking her final breath. Most notably, the toxicology report revealed that a ”plethora of prescription medication bottles” had been littered across her hotel room — 12 in total, prescribed by five different doctors. Among the drugs discovered were the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and the muscle relaxant Flexeril…
In the past decade, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson were just four of the most famous stars to overdose on legal medication.
Their deaths reflect a larger wave of prescription drug abuse across the United States. .. Recent studies show that, in 2010, 2.4 million people age 12 or older began using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. That’s 6,600 persons a day.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses from prescription drug medication have tripled in the past decade, up to 15,000 and more than the toll from cocaine and heroin combined… There are no illegal cartels profiting from the prescription drug epidemic. IA pharmacy system lacking centralized tracking (so that an addict may be able to recycle the same prescription to obtain hundreds of pills a month) and a pharmaceutical industry that spends millions lobbying against regulations that could squeeze their bottom line. And then there are the doctors…
Americans gained insight into the world of such excessively generous medical professionals during the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, who allegedly administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the late pop star in June 2009. Two years after Jackson died, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Portrayal of Murray throughout the six-week trial ranged from a sympathetic doctor who cured the troubled singer of his much-maligned insomnia to an incompetent professional who was a danger to society…
Since there’s little chance that doctors will suddenly start prescribing more responsibly or that the nation’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies will stop spending a chunk of their $600 billion in annual profits on lobbying, the best weapons against addiction are treatment for those who have already succumbed — and education for everybody else.
Prescription Drug Epidemic – Enough is Enough!
Enough is enough! At ONE80CENTER, we are sick and tired of seeing good people die for the wrong reasons, for stupid reasons as their lives are hollowed out into mere shadows by prescription drug addiction, leaving behind a wasteland of scarred family members and devastated children. Why do so many of us seem to need high profile tragedies in order to capture our attention and generate a little fire in our bellies? How many more senseless tabloid headlines will it take before the cry of “Enough is Enough” is heard across this country?
As we enter into the heart of the Presidential election, why do we hear nothing about the prescription drug epidemic from either campaign? Why do both the Republicans and the Democrats choose to ignore this growing problem that is affecting every community in America? Abortion will be debated left and right, as it is every election cycle along with all of the other hot button issues, but addiction will be shunted aside once again and ignored. Isn’t it time that addiction and the need for recovery becomes a central issue in the debate for the future health and well-being of this country?
If this plea sounds passionate and intense, it is because we are exposed at ONE80CENTER to the results of the damage being done every day by the prescription drug epidemic. To raise the stakes for money spent on prevention, education and treatment, no one else should have to die and there don’t need to be any more tabloid headlines or TMZ reports. Instead, we simply have to face the facts that if we do not do something, the prescription drug epidemic is only going to get worse.