Prescription Pills More Harmful Than Marijuana

Marijuana still safer than many prescriptions.

For those of you who may ever been prescribed an 800mg ibuprofen, your doctor was giving you something that is nearly 25% of the amount it would take to cause an overdose for some people. Accidental overdoses are a cause of death so common in America but for some reason we are only reminded of them when celebrities make the news because of it.

Even the recent death of World Champion surfer Andy Irons, who contracted dengue fever (a very painful thing from what I understand) was found dead at 32 from either the mosquito or the methadone that was found next to him in his hotel room.  Was Andy trying to relieve the pain he was feeling by taking too many pills?  A report is underway and it could go either way, depending on the severity of the viral disease.

According to a report from the National Forensic Lab  Information system (NFLIS), legal drug use sky rocketed.

All of us have seen the ads asking us “isn’t it time you ask your doctor” about another thing that is “wrong” with us.  And according to the statistics, many of us have lots of things “wrong” with us. Sometimes the ad will even list side effects that will be worst than the actual symptoms we’re trying to deal with.  I recently saw a pharmaceutical ad on television that had ‘death’ listed as a side effect.  Not overdose mind you, a side effect from taking the medication you trust the doctor to give you to treat a symptom that is probably better than death.

In the BBC Documentary Series film The Trap, director Adam Curtis aims to set out “that drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalize behaviour and make humans behave…” through what Curtis develops in part two as an “outcome of market-driven self-diagnosis by checklist based on symptoms.”

Curtis would show people with normal mood variations diagnosing themselves as abnormal. They would then go to see the doctor and fulfill the diagnostic checklist but without offering personal histories (relationship just ended, loved one recently died, etc. was not taken into consideration).  They were then given their prescriptions and continued to medicate themselves, resulting in vast numbers of Westerners have had their behavior and mentation modified by SSRI drugs without any strict medical necessity.

Andrew White was in Iraq for a nine months when he began to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, including insomnia, nightmares, and constant restlessness.  His doctors experimented with three psychiatric drugs, including Seroquel, to ease his symptoms.  The nightmare continued and doctors upped the dosage levels and at one point was prescribed more than double the recommended dosage.  One night not too long after that, Andrew died in his sleep.

According to the Associated Press:

“Thousands of soldiers suffering from PTSD have received the same medication over the last nine years, helping to make Seroquel one of the Veteran Affairs Department’s top drug expenditures and the No. 5 best-selling drug in the nation… Several soldiers and veterans have died while taking the pills, raising concerns among some military families that the government is not being up front about the drug’s risks”

They also want Congress to investigate, which may be the chance to reschedule cannabis, as one group called Health Professional for Responsible Drug Scheduling sets out to do as well as scores of those throughout the states that have taken medical marijuana laws up for vote.

My heart truly goes out to all the Veterans who suffer from PTSD, and other physical and mental pains soldiers experience.  My heart also goes out to the Iron’s family.  He was trying to get home to his 8 month-into-her-pregancy wife back in Hawaii and died en route.

We all experience pain.  Who doesn’t?  And it’s important we understand the Lethal Dosage (LD) of everything that we take as a medicine.  I am a medical marijuana patient and cannot reach the estimated LD for that particular drug. However, there are many patients who still relay on opiate based medicines, and in Andy’s case (and in my case if I needed it) there are lots of other forms of practical allopathic medicines, and we very much need those forms of medicines.

But pain management shouldn’t lead to pill addiction, behavior modification and death.  When they do, we need to examine the examiner and see what needs to be healed from the root cause; perhaps the Adam Curtis approach, or maybe just a very sick population eating unhealthy foods or returning from wars to find themselves suffering, prescribed something to take away the pain, and it goes away forever.

By Sam Sabzehzar

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