Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prominence of Medication Use in the US

This week is National Drug Facts Week. I know it might seem like a random post coming from me (although you have seen me share that we personally try to avoid medication whenever possible), but this is something I am becoming increasingly more passionate about. I have watched the misuse of “medication” rip families apart & destroy lives, and I think it’s a conversation our society needs to start having more often. I personally feel like it has to do with greed and pharmaceutical companies having entirely too much power, but this post isn’t about politics so I won’t even go there.

According to drugabuse.gov,

Infographic - see text below for description

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely thankful for modern medicine and the medications that save lives and allow people live a better quality of life. What I am NOT a fan of is the overuse, increasing immunity to antibiotics, overprescribing, and addictions to prescription meds. It is a serious problem. And if we’re not careful, it will continue to become a growing epidemic.

Did you see that stat about the US only having 5% of the world’s population yet consuming 75% of the world’s prescription medication? Sounds to me like we are trying to put a band-aid on issues that could be avoided all together or resolved through a different route (chiropractic, nutrition, diet/exercise, massage, supplements, proper sleep, stress reduction, prayer, etc.).

DrugFacts_Fact_2 (1) (1)

photo: {source}

This {source} was extremely eye opening & is worth taking a few minutes to look over. Here are a few statistics that didn’t necessarily surprise me, but should really raise our red flags.

  • In 2010, pharmaceutical drug overdoses were established as one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Below, some of the leading causes of death for 2010 are assembled in a table. Total drug overdoses killed more Americans than firearms or motor vehicle accidents in 2010.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially declared that prescription drug abuse [1] in the United States is an epidemic. [2]
  • As of 2012, overdose deaths involving prescription opioid analgesics, which are medications used to treat pain, have increased to almost 17,000 deaths a year in the United States.[3]
  • Experts say the increase in heroin use is linked to prescription opioid abuse. Young people often become addicted to pain pills and progress to heroin — which provides the same euphoric high — when pills are hard to come by. [5]

There are obviously times when medication cannot be avoided. However, it is important that we are educated. I know there were a few other bloggers who covered specific topics regarding drugs this week, & they are definitely worth looking into:

  • January 26th - Understanding your meds
  • January 27th - Dangerous drug combinations
  • January 28th - Prominence of medication use in the U.S.
  • January 29th - Questions to ask your doctor/pharmacist
  • January 30th - Identifying side effects
  • February 1st - Drug recall facts

It is so important to ASK QUESTIONS. I think so often we just trust whatever is prescribed and assume it is safe. There are some really scary side effects, drug interactions, etc. that we need to know about before choosing to put medicine into our body. Coincidentally, I just came across this article today on my newsfeed about Z-packs potentially being linked to heart issues.

Thankfully we do not get sick often, but we try to avoid medication whenever possible & always ask LOTS of questions in the event we do need medicine. Obviously sometimes it is inevitable. I had shoulder surgery in college (12 years of fastpitch pitching will do that to ya) and a C-section with Jase. Both surgeries required pain medicine afterwards. My mom was my caretaker after my shoulder surgery and made sure to get me the weakest pain meds we could get, use the minimum doses, and stop using them immediately (& dispose of them) when I no longer needed them. I tried my best to avoid medicine all together with Jase and go natural, which I was able to do up until the point where heart rates started dropping and we were scared for both me and the baby. Afterwards I only took Motrin & shredded the prescription for something stronger. (I can’t even remember what it was now- I know it was “safe” for nursing but I didn’t feel comfortable taking it & didn’t really need it anyway.) The nurses were really, really surprised that I didn’t want the stronger medication & I remember that I stopped using even the Motrin all together as soon as I could when we got home from the hospital.

I also cleaned out our medicine cabinet about a year and a half ago. Most of the time (for the issues we experience anyway) there is some other option if we just take time to look into it, so medication is always the last resort. We don’t personally believe in oral contraceptives or birth control either, but that is a whole different topic. (We did need to wait before getting pregnant for a second time to give us the best shot at a VBAC though, so we used this method. Totally works.)

I don’t think medicine is evil or anything crazy, and again, I am SUPER thankful for the times it is medically necessary. But I think you can agree with me that we live in an overmedicated world. If nothing else, I hope this makes you think twice before getting a prescription, or at least encourages you to stop and ask questions. I am super cautious about what we put into our bodies, & I pray that serves us well.


Unknown said...

i didnt know that drug over use was a problem over there. i am glad you wrote about this

DanielleWoods91711 said...

I barely take anything but Ibuprofen for my scoliosis. My grandmother takes so much medicine for pain (morphine is like tylenol to her) and it scares the bejesus out of me! I do NOT want to take an entire container of medicine when I am old. I want to live my life without thinking about prescriptions or do I need to take this or that at x time! I cleaned out my cabinet last week because there were so many expired meds! Don't people know how much just exercise fixes>>>

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this post! My family and my husband's family have both been severely impacted by overuse of pain medication, some of it has been remedied and some still hasn't. It's so wonderful to see others trying to raise awareness of this issue instead of just brushing it under the rug with the guise of "he's in a lot of pain so he needs it." because most of the time that is unfortunately not true. I am a huge Advocare/vitamin lover (and have been all my life) and my husband takes zero medications at all (but I'm working on getting him into vitamins too) so it's nice to hear that there are other families out there that are trying to set up healthier family structures for their children too. #yougogirl #youguysareamazing