When we think of drug related deaths, don’t we all assume it’s heroin, barbiturates, or even alcohol that is involved? What if I told you that the fastest growing drug killer in our medicine cabinets today are painkillers – would you believe me? Well you’d better. A recent U.S. study has found that deaths or injuries related to drug treatments have more than doubled between 1998 and 2005 in the United States, with painkillers and immune-system boosters accounting for most.
Ouch. This further hurts a medical industry that increasingly relies on pharmaceutical treatments for every ailment, no matter how minor. Shame that it has even gotten so far as to make non-medical conditions “easily treatable” with drugs (hear my Podcast Episode 3 on lifestyle drugs to get a glimpse of this travesty). When there is a drug for every situation – forget illness, it’s gone way beyond that – then expect death and disability to rise.
The biggest shame is that there are so many “alternative” solutions for pain – like chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, exercise, yoga – yet so many people refuse to try them or give them an honest chance. Making matters worse, far too many medical doctors, and the medical institution as a whole, are slow to accept these alternative therapies as a part of mainstream care. And they certainly aren’t making a habit of referring their patients to these other useful and effective therapies.
Is it fear? Is it a desire to remain the cultural authority on all things health that leads to this sort of negligence? I think it’s both, with a little bit of arrogance tossed in. The general consensus regarding alternative therapies among medical practitioners is, “There is no proof – no scientific evidence.” This concept is such malarkey that it’s almost painful (excuse the pun) to bear. Take chiropractic for example. There is plenty of research on its effectiveness, but the doors need to be opened for serious dialogue to occur between the professions. Furthermore, chiropractic has been helping people remove pain and maintain health for over one hundred years, and has survived attempts to bury it, discredit it, and even outlaw it. How would this be so if scores of people were not being helped by it? Like, get with it, man. When are you going to accept chiropractic’s validity? When are you going to think first of your patients and steer them toward a non-drug option?
The bottom line is this: Keep prescribing drugs like there is no tomorrow, and see death rates soar. It won’t last forever because the public is getting smarter and more savvy (like my readers). Thanks to the Internet, information is easily shared and the position of physician as absolute authority is being severely challenged. Doctors are guides; they are teachers. Teach the truth and people will listen. There is no truth in the excessive manipulation of body chemistry to maintain health. You heard it hear first, so pass the word. And be diligent and cautious when seeking treatment. What you don’t know can kill you.