Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL, February 27, 2015
Asheville, NC Correspondent-In 1900, the three leading causes of death in America were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infection. Today, these diseases don’t even crack the top ten. The reason for this advancement? Perhaps the greatest invention in history: antibiotics. Many diseases which were once grave threats to life now pose no more than a mild inconvenience for healthy adults.
Yet, like most advancements, this extension of lifespans has not come without a cost. The rise of “superbugs,” or multiple-resistant strains of bacteria, threatens to reverse this progress. On February 19th, a Los Angeles hospital detected one of these deadly organisms and linked it to a hundred exposures and a dozen deaths. Each year, multiple-resistant infections kill nearly 100,000 people in the U.S.
The overuse of antibiotics comes from two sources. First, roughly half of doctors admit to prescribing antibiotics as a “placebo.” Numerous medical studies have confirmed that taking a pill, even a sugar pill, can improve symptoms of depression or hypertension, usually as well as medications designed to treat these conditions. Many doctors use antibiotics for this purpose, prescribing antibiotics when they are not necessary.
Finally, modern agricultural practices use, according to the Center for Disease Control, 70% of antibiotics consumed in America. These antibiotics are necessary given the concentration of animals in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). A diet with sufficient nutrients to enable livestock to fight infection costs more than prophylactic antibiotics for the entire herd, which creates a perfect breeding environment for multiple-resistant strains of foodborne illnesses.
Unless we take a very serious look at our use of these powerful drugs, we may accidentally breed a bacteria against which we are powerless. Diseases like tuberculosis and e. coli may once again ravage human population. Our current management of antibiotics makes the revival of these diseases inevitable.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Whether Americans like to admit it, they are generally over medicating for a number of reasons. With the barrage of everyday health-related anxieties facing old and young alike, both the drug industry and societal pressure have intervened with instant panaceas for every ailment known to man. The onslaught of both prescription and non-prescription medications in the marketplace has become epidemic, and millions of Americans have bought into the hype. They have become addicted to painkillers, anti-inflammatories, diet pills, sleep aids, antibiotics, mood alternating drugs, treatment regimens and everything else in between.
Relying on drugs, rather than old fashioned, practical approaches to maintaining health, appears to be replacing what was once thought to be everyday solutions to health issues. There are those with emergency and life-saving concerns and distinct disorders that do require prescribed drugs, and many of these patients benefit from the right combination and dosage of drugs to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. In addition, once eradicated diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, mumps-measles, diphtheria and other childhood ailments have come into critical play with large populations of school-aged children and adults. With the probability of exposure being imminent, through those who carry and spread these once conquered diseases, committing to vaccinating children has become a public health issue, as well as a parental concern with the risks that both exposure and the vaccinations themselves carry. Most public school districts will not allow children to enroll in school without records of inoculation, so parents are left to deal with both health risks and educational choices outside of the public sector.
With the safety issue of so many prescribed and over the counter drugs being at the forefront, the record levels of dispensing both prescribed and over the counter medications has become a critical concern. Overindulgence and over prescribing obviously leads to harmful side effects, addictions, reactions, and possible deaths. Drug companies are making millions while Americans are at risk.
There are solutions to over medicating and they involve influencing essentially healthy patients to take ownership of their own health problems, rather than turning over their exaggerated health dilemmas to the dangerous and addictive regimens prescribed by doctors while, at the same time, lining the pockets of the big drug companies. The tendency of Americans is to reach for a prescribed medication first before doing anything else to counter the condition. Quick fixes and instant gratification appear to be the current approach to health care. Accomplishing a healthy life regimen involves seeking prescribed medicines only for emergency and deadly disease issues-not for lifelong consumption. A total health package consists of consuming the right diet, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, exercising, clearing the body of toxins, taking proven natural supplements, and building the immune system.
Over medicating does not have to continue to increase at epidemic proportions. The final answer lies in Americans grasping and taking hold of their own health problems, finding natural and sensible solutions to simple health concerns and committing to preserving health rather than abandoning it to dangerous and lifelong dependence on prescription drugs and the companies that manufacture them.
Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-America is overmedicated, pointblank, period. There are no two ways about this issue. However, there are two sides. We have the “vaccination side” and the “pill side”; and these are two totally separate issues.
Let’s begin with the pill side of this story. Every day you see commercial after commercial for medications. These medications come with laundry lists of side effects that then require more medications. This is a vicious circle that needs to be stopped! We will eventually medicate ourselves to the point that we won’t be able to use medications that are actually going to HELP us. Penicillin and most antibiotics are arguably the only prescription medications that are absolutely necessary. However, the use of these over time will prevent future use. People need to be aware that every time they get a sore throat and get prescribed an antibiotic that next time if they go and are really ill the medication is less effective.
Now on to the vaccine issue. As a non-parent I can see the fear associated with vaccines. However, most of these fears should be associated with the more recently developed vaccines, not the time tested ones. I see absolutely no reason why a parent would not give their child MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella). This vaccine was developed years ago and has been used with very few issues. If you do the math the percentage of issues is VERY small—if they can even be directly linked to the vaccine and aren’t just hearsay. The issue I have with vaccines are the newly developed ones. I would never give my child or myself a vaccine that has been developed in the past 20 years. We haven’t had the time to test it properly, and I am not a guinea pig. Just like with the pill commercials, every day you see another vaccine for another obscure disease. The flu shot is one of the worse. The flu continues to change each year with new strains; so why are we injecting ourselves with it? What are we preventing, last year’s flu? That’s helpful.
Americans just need to think about what they are putting into their bodies. All these chemicals and pills are not good for the human species. Eventually, everyone will be taking so many medications that there will be a superbug that will be resistant to everything and will cause mass human extinction.
Raleigh, NC Correspondent-Pharmaceutical industry is a powerful, rich, and influential presence in the United States. While it employs a lot of people, it also earns billions of dollars by making millions of people purchase their main products, i.e. drugs. The United States is one of the two countries in the world (another one is New Zealand) which allow the advertisement of medications on TV, which certainly sways people to require medication from their doctors who, in their turn, are often influenced by pharmaceutical sales representatives to prescribe the products to their patients for handsome kickbacks. Thus, American pharmaceutical industry spent $2.4 billion on advertising in 2011, and every dollar spent on ads increased retail sales to $ 4.20.
According to the article by Daniel J. Flynn from March 14, 2014 “Overmedicated America”, about seven out of ten Americans take at least one prescription drug. Among most often prescribed drugs are antibiotics, antidepressants, opioids, ADHD drugs, and sleeping pills. It is especially troubling that the diagnosis of ADHD, which still is rather controversial, puts millions of kids on such medications as Ritalin and Adderall. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2011-2012, 7.5 percent of U.S. children between ages 6 and 17 were taking medication for “emotional or behavioral difficulties”; and there were as many as several thousand toddlers who received these medications. It is yet to be known what long-term effects these medications will have on our youth. More tragically, many of these kids come from poor backgrounds and often suffer childhood abuse and neglect, which leads to behavioral problems. However, instead of being put on medication, these children might simply need more help for their families, better support, care, stability, and safety.
Another dark side of overmedication is that many people take multiple prescriptions, which might lead to bad interactions between the drugs. According to the website http://www.thenursingbible.com, 48.5 percent of Americans are on one prescription drug, 20 percent are on three or more, and 10 percent are on five and more drugs. The elderly are especially vulnerable to this because they generally have more health problems for which the drugs are prescribed. Given the fact that pharmaceutical industry, doctors, and FDA are some of the major beneficiaries of people buying the drugs and are extremely powerful in the country, it ultimately falls to people themselves to decide what is right for them.
While nobody denies that the current achievements of our medicine are staggeringly impressive and save millions’ of peoples’ lives; still, it is an individual’s responsibility to become knowledgeable regarding their treatment, medications, and options. Some diseases (for example, Diabetes Type 2) might be controlled by making better lifestyle choices; people should always tell their doctors about all the drugs they are taking and ask informed questions; therapy might be a good option for treating depression as opposed to taking powerful medications; and requiring second (or third, fourth, etc.) opinion from different doctors might steer one toward getting better treatment.