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Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Anna Nicole Smith.
Death is the Prescription, how many more?
Prescription drug abuse, which I term medical drug addiction, like all addictions including alcoholism, (addiction to ethyl alcohol), though more
widely recognized nowadays, is still not widely understood. And of course, the practice of combining the abuse of prescription
drugs, (obtained legally or not), with “street drugs”, and maybe adding alcohol to the mix, though highly dangerous,
is commonplace too. My substance abuse Professor, James Crossen Ph/D, used the generic term “Drugoholism” to cover
all Chemical Dependency Issues, because though they have surface differences, most of the underlying downward spiraling progression
process, towards ultimate destruction and often death, is the same. Poly-substance Abuse is the technical term. “Better
living through chemistry.” is the 12 step equivalent.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription
drugs, more than the numbers who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and ecstasy combined. The DEA says the number
of painkiller addicts has nearly doubled from 2000, when 3.8 million Americans were hooked, Prescription and illegal drug
overdose is the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
"Nearly all poisoning deaths in the United States are attributed to drugs," according to the CDC, "and
most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs." Prescription drug overdoses now kill
more people than homicide.
How do we reconcile these facts with the continued over-prescription of these drugs, and the
continuing high profile celebrity deaths, only the more visible tip of this massive iceberg? Compare the two following statements.
“He was rocketed to stardom, but unable to handle the pressures of money and fame, he turned to drugs.”
Or, “His career was going downhill, and unable to handle the pain of failure, he turned to drugs.”
As a young man stated on the phone to me as a “hotline” counselor, “I only drink when I have problems.”
I replied, “It seems to me that life is full of problems, so that means you will always be drinking!”
Appalled silence on the other end, then a small voice, “Oh, I never thought about it like that.”
Similarly, “He is drinking because his wife died.” What about the majority
whose wives have died, who are not? Mistaking effects for causes, and vice-versa, in the self-feeding reciprocating cycles
of Drugoholism, is the usual rather than an exception. Blaming the addiction on external or past events, rather than the independantly
occurring internal addictive process."Often what happens is someone experiences discomfort, anxiety, or pain.
They start being treated with medicine, and need more," said Dr. Steven Juergens, an assistant clinical Professor
of Psychiatry at the University of Washington and a private addiction specialist in Bellevue, Washington. “They
feel better when using the medication and often feel like "they need it,"” “I’m not an addict,
I never took a drug to get high,” maintained Michael Jackson. Unfortunately for him, his non-addiction proved fatal.
Dr. Paul, another Psychiatrist, reports in the hilarious history of his personal Drugoholism, entitled “Doctor, Addict,
Alcoholic,” “I never took a pill I didn’t have the symptom for.” From the book, “Alcoholics
Anonymous.” Anyone who is in the position of refuting that they have a problem usually has one. By the time any question
comes up, some kind of difficulty has already begun. When was the last time your Sunday Church going, one sherry at Christmas
Great Aunt Maude, had to disprove ideas she has might have a problem?
What is missing in most media reportage on celebrity addiction is that THE PERSON is the addict,
and more specifically, the person’s choices have become dominated by addictive thinking. All behavior choices are the
result of thinking, conscious or otherwise, so addiction operates in the addict’s head, not in the pill or bottle in
their hand. Recently I read on the web another hypnotherapist’s statement, “After twenty five years of practice,
my observation is that addiction is 10% physical and 90% psychological.” And in my opinion the physical is
the easiest, as it is physiologically concrete, to treat. Otherwise those leaving incarceration, rehabs, or hospital detoxification
units, who are physically sober, would never relapse! Right! One client I was counseling, an early stage milder case, could
not “get it” until I said, “You are dependent on changing your mood with a chemical to get through the
day.” His eyes focused and lit up. “That’s me,” he exclaimed, and his resistance
to recognizing his alcohol abuse, mainly due to false ideas and stigma, evaporated. This was despite being comfortable with
the concept of addiction, as applied to his intermittent cocaine binges. A facet of the times perhaps, or it’s relative
undeniability in his case, as he hated the effects of his cocaine use, while still clinging to the far slower destructive
direction of his up until now social alcohol consumption.
So a person’s chosen response to inner and outer “stress” is the missing
link, this is what creates a Drugoholic. An addiction to the “quick fix”, to the easy way out, ensues. This, apart
from any other factors, becomes an ingrained increasing habitual response, including response the real or imaginary stress
created by the addiction itself. One of the many self-feeding cycles of addiction, independent of the “host” personality.
Part of the cognitive, (thought), behavioral habit apparatus, known as psychological habituation in Drugoholism. And the alterations
of cognitive processes and perceptions produced by ongoing use, whether physical, due to chemical toxicity in the brain, or
psychological, from the addictive process itself, continues to actually create and additionally amplify perceived stress,
as the condition, (the dis-ease) progresses. Plus any negative results of the addiction in the real world. So there is an
increasing reliance on chemicals for stress relief, and increasing amounts of stress, real or created mentally, or both, needing
relief. This process underlies the confusion created by focusing on any combination of chemicals, or circumstances, at any
All of this mentality applies to the withdrawal physiology of the body, when a Drugoholic initially
attempts to “clean up”. So this becomes a major source of Drugoholic terror at the idea of, or results of withdrawals,
rather than the withdrawals themselves. This is irrespective of the fact that with severe physical, (metabolic) dependencies,
that additionally may be both physically and psychologically horrendous. The problem is not the initial withdrawals, for a
true Drugoholic, insurmountable as the addiction convinces the addict, (and bystanders), to believe. The problem is learning
to live a life on an ongoing daily basis without resorting to chemicals to escape/recoil/retreat from inner and outer reality
and stress in any way.
How much of Michael Jackson’s “weirdness” and reports of him being a “complicated”
person, were not due to his personality, but were in fact his response to medical drug, (and other drugs perhaps) addiction
I wonder? His spendaholic ways an attempt to fill the feelings of inner emptiness that addiction creates, expressed with a
grandiosity that his wealth permitted? And the degeneration into histrionic emotionalism, hysterical melodrama and other forms
of narcissistic immaturity, that so often becomes exaggerated as part of the overall deterioration of Drugoholism, as exhibited by Anna Nicole Smith too? Even worse, many categories
of psychiatric drugs can cause potentially horrendous reactions. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Xanax,
Lithium, Zyprexa and other psychiatric medications may convince patients into believing that they are improving, when too
often they are becoming worse, without the individuals realizing that their medications are deforming, perhaps semi-permanently,
their way of thinking and feeling. Later, when the drug use becomes fatal, people including doctors, wish to describe it as
an accidental overdose. About as accidental for an addict as picking up a loaded gun and playing Russian roulette, while putting
more bullets in the chamber as time goes on. Unintentional, yes. Accidental hardly. Inevitable, certainly. In AA they describe
the end results of Alcoholism as, “Jails, institutions and death.”
There are many reasons for this confusion around Drugoholism. Myth, misinformation, misunderstanding
and ignorance, using a true meaning of the word which is, “lacking information”, abound. In “The First Session
with Substance Abusers.” Nicholas A. Cummings, Ph/D, quotes studies that show MD’s identify .05% of alcohol/drug
problems in those who cross their door, while those well trained in Chemical Dependency identify 100%! Two hundred times more!
Psychologists and other allied professions may often fare not much better in my experience and opinion. The psychology of
addiction is a specialized field. Though MD’s and Clinical Psychologists are highly respected and often quoted authorities,
unless they have this specialized education, it is more likely to be a case of the blind leading the blind.
The current usual attitude to prescription drugs blinds MD’s to what is happening. How
many times is a new wonder drug trumpeted abroad? Sleep aids, Barbiturates etc., (Mebaral and Nembutal). Stimulants, (“uppers”
such as Dexedrine, Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta). Tranquilizers, (Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax). Painkillers
from Oxycontin type designer opioids on down? Even anti-depressants, including SSRI's, (Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft), can be
seen to be addictive to the vulnerable from a non-medical perspective. All of these are now the source of endless drug problems.
I never tire of reminding people, “The first medical use for Heroin was as a cure for Morphine addiction.”
So when medical people proclaim the latest painkiller or anti-anxiety medication as non-addictive or non-habit forming,
I retort, “Except for those persons with chronic long-term anxiety, or chronic long-term pain.”
This is in respect of any combination of these factors, plus those induced by the medications themselves, and addictive ones,
real or imagined of course.
As Drugoholism is stigmatized, people are loath to attribute this bad “character flaw”
to another, especially those idolized and celebrated for other genuine talents. And the ongoing mental, emotional and physical
deterioration/ degeneration process of Drugoholism is attributed to other sources to excuse the addicts again, in order to
avoid personally “denigrating” them. This goes hand-in-hand with the addict's “blaming defenses”.
In actuality, the vulnerability to addiction in many recent studies increasingly reveals a 50% genetic/biochemical basis.
There is also another additional constellation of factors that are outside the person’s current will power or control,
from pre-verbal cellular level infantile trauma, to role modeling from early childhood onwards. And there are many others
pain, “His wife died…” is perhaps the least factor, except for extremes such as severe traumatic
events, warfare for example, as is also the last ditch of blaming it on childhood pain. Again, there are many with severe
childhood pain that display no addictive tendencies whatsoever. It is the Drugoholic’s chosen reaction to the stress
and pain of childhood issues that fuel their addiction, though it may be true that childhood pain may produce psycho-neurological
changes that add to the addictive mix.
Another source of confusion is the actual disinformation put out by the psychiatric-medical-pharmaceutical
complex. This has been rigorously documented by the psychiatrist Peter Breggin, MD, dealing with the medical bureaucracy at
its highest levels. He reports how the drug manufacturer Eli Lilly was taken to court for offences tantamount to repeated
criminal fraud in this regard. (Recently - 09/09 - Pfizer has been fined over two billion dollars, for similar ones, following
their string of similar offences, and see **Footnote). In the early 1990’s, in his book, “Toxic Psychiatry.”
he outlined the growing problem of medical addiction. “The commonest drug addict in America is a female in her mid-forties,
addicted to barbiturates and a benzo-diazapine,” he stated at that time. The description of negative aspects of
commonly prescribed psychiatric medications above, is taken from his website, http://www.breggin.com. He exposes the growing propaganda infused into the medical
community, including the FDA, by the pharmaceutical industry, which diminishes, hides, sidesteps or flat out denies the negative
effects of commonly prescribed psychoactive psychiatric drugs. Anyone interested in alternative information to mainstream
Psychiatry would do well to view his website or read his books listed as footnotes.
All of these are major contributors to the idea that medical drugs are not as harmful as other
drugs, and are legitimate, so those hooked on them are not real addicts. Also a convenient denial for the Drugoholic themselves.
In fact, being 100% pure, it needs to be stressed they can be worse. Oxycontin, 100% pure from the Doctor, is as bad IF NOT
WORSE, than diluted heroin from the dealer. "I think people of all ages don't take medication as seriously as street
drugs," said Dr. Marvin Seppala, the chief medical officer at Hazelden, a drug and alcohol treatment center. "There's
sort of a naïve belief they're safer. The truth is pain medications are in the same exact class as heroin, morphine --
they're very addictive." The same could be said regarding sleeping pills, stimulants, tranquilizers et al. It is
similar to the confusion around alcohol, another socially acceptable drug. Many can drink with enjoyment and impunity. But
once the ominous earmarks of the addictive process begin to appear, a trained counselor can identify the alcoholic condition
years before the final accelerating deteriorative downward spirals.
Due to the subconscious nature of much denial, and the stigma and ignorance surrounding the
addictive process, those close to the addict are often the most totally blind to the malady. The fact that Elvis Presley obtained
FIVE THOUSAND pills from his Doctors in his last months was invisible to them and his personal staff. The obvious obscuring
and corrupting interlinked interpersonal influences of fame, power, status and money, as the deteriorating celebrity surrounds
themselves with sycophantic yes men, are a special factor for the wealthy and those in the public eye. But how many alcoholics
leave a complaining spouse to later marry someone with fewer objections, often an alcoholic themselves?
So now I hope
it becomes more evident that addictive processes include prescription drugs in exactly the same way as with illicit ones,
and that celebrities have no exemption from the identical states of mind and body that occur in these circumstances. Specific
medications may have different social, psychological and physiological results, just as non-medical drugs may, but the inexorable
addictive process will take its toll in similar ways for the rich and famous, just as the scythe of Drugoholism cuts down
the ill-educated poverty stricken ghetto street addict. In general, only acknowledgement of the addictive condition, and an
individual taking responsibility for seeking and accepting help for it can save a Drugoholic. If this article helps one person,
I deem it a success, though I do of course hope for more.
Brian Green, c. 2009. http.www.mindmagic123.com
Books by Peter Breggin, MD.
1991 - Toxic Psychiatry
1994 - Talking Back to Prozac.
1998 - Talking Back
1999 - Your Drug May Be Your Problem
2001 - The Anti-Depressant Fact Book.
2002 - The Ritalin
Diabetes Drug Supporters
Had Financial Tie to Glaxo,
Study Says. By Michelle Fay Cortez. March 19, 2010 (Bloomberg)
who published articles supporting GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s diabetes drug Avandia after it was linked to heart disease in
2007 had financial ties to the company, according to a Mayo Clinic report. The Mayo researchers examined more than 200 articles
that appeared after an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine linked Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart
attacks, and a subsequent clinical trial found no greater danger of heart disease. Almost 90 percent of scientists who wrote
positive articles, reviews or commentaries about Avandia had financial ties to London-based Glaxo, the study published in
the British Medical Journal found.
Almost three of every
four authors who expressed negative views of the drug had no financial ties to manufacturers of diabetes medicines, while
just 6 percent of those with positive opinions of the drug received no funding or fees from industry. The relationships between
scientists and pharmaceutical companies may help explain why the interpretations of the published articles varied so widely,
the researchers said.
to determine whether financial conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical manufacturers could be fuelling this fire,”
wrote the researchers, led by Amy Wang, a resident in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “From
our findings, it appears that the answer is yes.” Glaxo will disclose all the research payments it makes to investigators
and their institutions in the U.S. starting this year, said Jo Revill, Glaxo spokeswoman.
Professor C. Heather Ashton DM, FRCP Emeritus Professor
clinical pharmacology, has run a benzodiazepine, (Atavan, Klonopin,Valium, Xanax etc.) detox clinic in the UK for 15+
years, (2011) . She gives chapter and verse for addiction to benzos, estimating there are millions of addicts, in "The
Ashton Manual." Her entire info and detox manual is available for free pdf download.
++ Benzodocs: Resources, Books & Information for Benzodiazapine Addiction ++
++ Stopping Benzodiazepines: Simple Straightforward Advice ++
++ Drug Side Effects ++ Drug Watch: Up to date information on the properties & potential side effects of prescription
& over-the-counter medications: Currently, side effects of Accutane and Yaz are the most recent.
++ US Government: Details re Medications: includes potential for Abuse ++
Now Most Prescribed Class of Medications in America.
Two reports by addiction researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
and the National Institute on Drug Abuse show a drastic shift in prescribing patterns impacting the magnitude of opioid substance
abuse in America. The reports, published in JAMA, (Journal of American Medical Association), recommend a comprehensive effort
to reduce public health risks while improving patient care, including better training for prescribers, pain management treatment
assessment, personal responsibility and public education.
The JAMA Research Report shows that there has been a drastic increase in opioid prescriptions while prescriptions
for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have gone down. Prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone account for
84.9 percent of opioid prescriptions. Over ten years, there has been a fivefold increase in admissions to substance abuse
programs for opioid addiction.
While effective at reducing
pain symptoms, opioid medications such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are associated with high rates of abuse, particularly
among young adults. One in four 18-25 year olds will abuse prescription painkillers in their lifetime.
"The scope of the problem is vast - opioid overdose is now the second leading cause of accidental death
in the United States and the prevalence is second only to marijuana," said Thomas McLellan, PhD, co-author of the studies
and director of the new Center for Substance Abuse Solutions, housed in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "This study provides valuable information about factors contributing to the high rates
of opioid analgesics, and identifies areas ripe for intervention."
"The research published today clearly demonstrates the risk of harm that pain medications can cause
when used incorrectly," said Michael Ashburn, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and director
of Pain Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "We hope our efforts will demonstrate that improvements
can be made to the patient care process and lead to improved pain control and a lower risk of abuse and diversion of these
Taken from Science Daily: Full report:
++ WebMD: Prescription Drug Abuse: Who Gets Addicted and Why ++
++ Prescription Drug addiction Helpline & Resource Center ++
From: National Drug Threat Assessment 2010 report, 03/25/10.
While the use and abuse of illegal drugs is of great concern, the abuse of prescription drugs is rapidly becoming more
alarming, said the report, which also said that more state and local law enforcement groups identify prescription drug abuse
as their top worry. Increased abuse of prescription opioids such as morphine, codeine and methadone sparked a 98 percent rise
in overdose deaths between 2002 and 2006, the report said.
"The 2010 National Drug Threat Assessment highlights diversion and abuse of prescription drugs as a serious and
increasing problem," said Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy. Kerlikowske said the Obama
administration has "developed a plan to curb prescription drug abuse, which includes expanding prescription drug monitoring
programs and educating healthcare providers and patients about the danger of abusing prescription drugs."
"This report presents a comprehensive analysis of the drug threat to our nation and will be valuable in helping
direct our fight against drug trafficking and abuse," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
++ Further Articles on Prescription Drug Addiction on addictionsearch.com ++
Footnote 2***April 2,2010. (Bloomberg).
Pfizer Inc. agreed
to pay about $400,000 to settle a lawsuit mid-trial that blamed its Neurontin epilepsy medicine for helping cause a Massachusetts
man’s suicide, two people familiar with the accord said. Pfizer,
the world’s largest drug maker, agreed yesterday to resolve claims by Hartley Shearer’s family that Pfizer’s
Warner- Lambert unit knew Neurontin posed a suicide risk and failed to disclose it to patients and doctors.
Shearer’s wife and son sued the New York-based drug
company in federal court in Boston. The settlement is the first of its kind for suicide claims tied to Neurontin, said the
two people, who declined to be identified because terms of the deal aren’t public. “Pfizer is pleased to report that the Shearer case, pending before USDC Judge Young in Boston, has been
settled on favorable terms,” Rob Haralson, a spokesman for Pfizer said. “While Pfizer maintains that
it has strong defenses to each of plaintiff’s claims, and has great confidence in the jury and the Court, Pfizer agreed
to settle the case for less than its defense costs remaining in this case.” Ron Rosenkranz, a lawyer for the Shearers, declined to comment. Pfizer faces more than 1,000 lawsuits accusing it of illegally promoting Neurontin for unapproved
uses and helping to cause some users’ suicides. The settlement comes a week after another Boston jury ordered Pfizer
to pay more than $140 million in damages to an insurer over the drug. Pfizer has denied any wrongdoing in connection with
its handling of Neurontin. “They took a drug that was expected to generate $500 million over its lifetime and turned
it into a drug that sold roughly $10 billion,” said King, an economist who testified for the Shearers as an expert
on pharmaceutical-industry marketing practices.
Pleaded Guilty: The Warner-Lambert subsidiary pleaded
guilty in 2004 to criminal charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department in connection with allegations it illegally marketed
Neurontin and paid a $430 million fine. Pfizer acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000. The 57-year-old Shearer, a part-time lecturer at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, took Neurontin
for 16 months before killing himself, according to court filings. His family contends his doctor wasn’t aware of Neurontin’s
suicide risk when he suggested the drug to Shearer, who also served as a high-school hockey coach. The doctor prescribed Neurontin to Shearer to manage his pain, which was a so-called off-label use of the drug. While
doctors may prescribe a drug for uses not found safe and effective by the FDA, federal law bars companies from promoting medicines
for off-label uses. Dr. Charles King,
a former Harvard University business professor, told jurors in the Shearer case yesterday Warner-Lambert officials used illegal
off-label marketing tactics to turn Neurontin into a “blockbuster drug.”
Of Addiction & Dependency
Each one one is link to it's description on
++ Drug Side Effects: Drug Watch: Up to date information on the properties & potential side effects of prescription & over-the-counter
medications: Side effects of Accutane and Yaz are current additions ++
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