Studies show that 70 percent of Americans are on prescription drugs, a number that has risen by 20 percentage points in five years, according to statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1) Researchers from the Mayo Clinic also found that among the most common prescriptions given to Americans are painkiller opioids, a direct reflection of studies which show that Americans consume 80 percent of the world's supply of painkillers (2).
As the number of prescription drug-related deaths continues to top 16,000 annually (3), Kent Runyon, Executive Director of Novus Medical Detox (www.novusdetox.com) says that the above statistics further evidence America's reliance on prescription drugs as a cure-all for common ailments. Some attribute the increase of prescription drug use to the "millions of dollars spent on relentless advertising of brand-name prescription drugs that make it seem like the solution to crippling depression or plaque-free arteries is just a pill away" (4), a statement with which Runyon agrees:
"While there is no question that modern medicines can help those who truly need them, there is a darker side to prescription drugs that can lead to addiction and even death. Consumers are being urged to try pills for sleeping, arthritis, high blood pressure and scores of other ailments--many of which could likely be improved or even eliminated naturally simply by making a lifestyle change."
Runyon says that prescription drug use has become a public health threat, signaling a need for stricter prescription-monitoring programs which indicate details such as when and where patients have controlled medications filled. But while the programs could help prevent patients from getting controlled medications from multiple physicians, current models could benefit from modernization due to the minimal level of information sharing among states, per Runyon.
In addition to tighter control of prescription drugs, Runyon feels that the first step in stemming the rise of prescription drug abuse is by educating the public of the inherent dangers of prescription drugs and preventing future addictions.
Novus Medical Detox Press Release
1 Markert, Jennifer. "Pills for Everything: The Power of American Pharmacy." Curiousmatic.com. N.p., 11 July 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. curiousmatic.com/pills-for-everything-the-power-of-american-pharmacy/.
2 Zennie, Michael. "Americans Consume EIGHTY Percent of the World's Pain Pills as Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic Explodes." N.p., 10 May 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2142481/Americans-consume-80-percent-worlds-pain-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-epidemic-explodes.html.
3 Kroll, David. "How Can We Prevent 16,000 Deaths In The U.S. This Year?" Forbes.com. Forbes Magazine, 31 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2013/08/31/how-to-prevent-16000-u-s-deaths-this-year/.
4 "There's a Pill for That: Drug Prescriptions in the U.S. Hit a Record High." News.yahoo.com. Yahoo!, 14 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. news.yahoo.com/theres-pill-drug-prescriptions-u-hit-record-high-195404492.html.