Recreational Drugs FAR Less Likely to Kill You than Prescribed Drugs!

Posted by: Dr. Mercola
January 15 2008

By Christopher Kent, D.C., J.D.

Recreational drugs, including cocaine and heroin, are responsible for an estimated 10,000-20,000 American deaths per year [1,2]. While this represents a serious public health problem, it is a “smokescreen” for America‘s real drug problem. America‘s “war on drugs” is directed at the wrong enemy. It is obvious that interdiction, stiff mandatory sentences, and more vigorous enforcement of drug laws have failed.

The reason is simple. Cause and effect have been reversed.

The desire to solve problems by taking drugs is a product of our culture. When a child is taught by loving parents that the appropriate response to pain or discomfort is taking a pill, it is obvious that such a child, when faced with the challenges of adolescence, will seek comfort by taking drugs.

Drugs are Dangerous Whether Pushed or Prescribed

While approximately 10,000 per year die from the effects of illegal drugs, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that an estimated 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs which, by medical standards, are properly prescribed and properly administered. More than two million suffer serious side effects. [3]
An article in Newsweek [4] put this into perspective. Adverse drug reactions, from “properly” prescribed drugs, are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. According to this article, only heart disease, cancer, and stroke kill more Americans than drugs prescribed by medical doctors. Reactions to prescription drugs kill more than twice as many Americans as HIV/AIDS or suicide. Fewer die from accidents or diabetes than adverse drug reactions. It is important to point out the limitations of this study. It did not include outpatients, cases of malpractice, or instances where the drugs were not taken as directed.

According to another AMA publication, drug related “problems” kill as many as 198,815 people, put 8.8 million in hospitals, and account for up to 28% of hospital admissions. [5] If these figures are accurate, only cancer and heart disease kill more patients than drugs. Has the situation improved since the publication of this information? Hardly. Null [6] et al have published the most comprehensive and well-documented study I have seen of deaths associated with medical practice. In this report, their research revealed some shocking facts. The findings are summarized in the abstract:

“A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.
The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.”

Drugs Number One Killer

The authors conclude: “When the number one killer in a society is the healthcare system, then, that system has no excuse except to address its own urgent shortcomings. It‘s a failed system in need of immediate attention. What we have outlined in this paper are insupportable aspects of our contemporary medical system that need to be changed — beginning at its very foundations.”

A recent article in Archives of Internal Medicine [7] stated that in the seven year period from 1998 through 2005, reported serious adverse drug events increased 2.6-fold, and fatal adverse drug events increased 2.7-fold. The authors noted that reported serious events increased 4 times faster than the total number of outpatient prescriptions during the period. Another study concluded that the majority(86%) of the adverse drug reactions for which patients were admitted to a medical intensive care unit were preventable. [8]
One proposed solution to the illegal drug problem was encouraging potential users to ignore peer pressure and “just say no.” Interestingly, this strategy is not being recommended for prescription drugs. Bruce Pomeranz, MD , one of the authors of the JAMA paper, said he is not warning people to stay away from drugs. “That would be a terrible message,” he said. Lucian Leape, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health said, “When you realize how many drugs we use, maybe those numbers aren‘t so bad after all.” [4]

Does that mean that the number of deaths due to illegal drugs, suicide, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, accidents, and drunk driving “aren‘t so bad” either? Does it mean that we shouldn‘t discourage drunk driving or unsafe sex?

The folly of such double standards should be obvious to all. It is time to address the real drug problem — the cultural notion that the first solution to seek for relief of life‘s problems is a drug. That‘s the drug culture we need to address.

1. “Drug deaths.” Globe & Mail (Canada). February 27, 1998.
2. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC. 2007;56(05):93-96.
3. Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN: “Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients.” JAMA 1998;279:1200.
4. Kalb C: “When drugs do harm.” Newsweek. April 27, 1998. Page 61.
5. “Reaction.” American Medical News. January 15, 1996. Page 11.
6. 1. Null G, Dean C, Feldman, M, Rasio, D, Smith D: “Death by Medicine.” Life Extension. March, 2004.
7. Moore TJ, Cohen MR, Furberg CD: Serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration, 1998-2005. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007;167:1752-1759.
8. Rivkin A: Admissions to a medical intensive care unit related to adverse drug reactions. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 2007;64(17):1840-1843.

Many thanks to Dr. Kent for his article. He is a good friend, and one of the leaders in the chiropractic profession. Dr. Kent was named the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) “Chiropractic Researcher of the Year” in 1991, and was the recipient of that honor from World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA) in 1994. Dr. Kent was also selected “Chiropractor of the Year” in 1998 by the International Chiropractors Association, and is the Main Representative of the WCA to the Department of Public Information, the first chiropractor elected to that position.

Dr. Kent is co-founder of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance (CLA) along with another good friend of mine, Patrick Gentempo. An attorney as well as a chiropractor, Dr. Kent is an active member of the State Bar of California, and is admitted as an attorney of the United States District Court, Southern District of California. You can read more about Dr. Kent‘s work in a special issue of The American Chiropractor.

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Dr. Kent is one of the sharpest health commenters that I know of, and has written many masterful articles about the dangers and hypocrisy of conventional medicine, and the insidious pharmaceutical PR campaigns that create phony diseases to justify the use of even more unnecessary drugs.

Taking a Closer Look at Drug-Induced Mortality Statistics

According to available data, some 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered, and side effects kill as many as 198,815 people.

Let me give you an idea of what the medical error and mortality rate of conventional medicine looks like:

The recorded error rate of ICU’s is like the post office losing more than 16,000 pieces of mail every hour of every day, or banks deducting 32,000 checks from the wrong bank account every hour, 24/7
The recorded medical errors and deaths equate to six jumbo jets falling out of the sky each day, 365 days a year
Since 2001, a recorded 490,000 people have died from properly prescribed drugs in the United States, while 2,996 people died on U.S. soil from terrorism, all in the 9/11 attacks; prescription drugs are therefore 16,400 percent more dangerous than terrorism. If deaths from over-the-counter drugs are also included, then drug consumption leaps to being 32,000 percent more dangerous than terrorism. And conventional medicine viewed as a whole is 104,700 percent deadlier than terrorism
However, sobering as this may sound, let’s take a closer look at these statistics, to give you an even more shocking view of what your REAL risk of drug-induced death might be.
During sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate on November 18, 2004, whistle-blower David J. Graham, MD, MPH, stated that according to estimates derived from the Kaiser-FDA study, Vioxx caused upwards of 160,000 heart attacks and strokes. This data was published in The New England Journal of Medicine October 21, 2004; 351(17): 1707-1709.

Of these, an estimated 30-40 percent probably died. That would put us at an estimated 64,000 deaths from Vioxx alone between its release in 1999 until its removal in 2004. That makes just one drug responsible for about 6 percent of all recorded deaths from side effects in one year.

Or, based on the other statistic of 490,000 deaths from prescription drugs between 2001 and 2007, which comes out to be about 70,000 people per year, Vioxx alone would account for just under 19 percent of drug deaths per year.

What I’m driving at here is the fact that the number of properly recorded drug-induced deaths are MINUSCULE in relation to the REAL numbers. Reputable sources state the number of properly recorded deaths and side effects from drugs to be around 6 percent. Some state it’s probably lower than one percent. I’ve never seen anyone go over 10 percent.

So, let’s be generous and say it’s actually as high as 10 percent. Then the recorded number of deaths attributable to side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, currently at 198,815 people per year, would look more like this:
1,988,150 people per year.

According to the 2007 CDC mortality report, just under 2.4 million people died in the U.S. in 2004 from any and all causes. Also note that these numbers are nearly four years old; you can bet that they are far higher today.

Am I playing with estimated numbers? Sure. Could I be way off implying that drugs might actually be the underlying cause of about 80 percent of all deaths in the United States?

Then again, is it not possible that a vast majority of heart disease, cancer and stroke are misdiagnosed side effects of synthetic drug use? You decide — but based on the scientific findings, many of the drugs on the market do indeed increase your risk of everything from heart problems to diabetes, and millions of people are taking anywhere from five to 25 different medications at the same time!

Until accurate and unbiased reporting of side effects and deaths from drugs is implemented, we’ll never know the true extent of the genocidal drug experiment you’re experiencing. But there is absolutely no doubt that FAR more people die from pharmaceutical drug use than from illegal drugs.

Street Drugs VS Pharmaceuticals

As I stated in a previous article, we live in a strange paradox where society condemns street drugs like amphetamines, yet has no qualms about giving it in massive doses — under legalized brand names — to two-year-olds who are in their prime physical- and mental developmental years.

I just don’t buy the idea that so many American children are in need of amphetamines to function “normally,” and neither should you — considering the fact that death from prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs has doubled in five years.

You may also have noticed that more and more parents are now facing jail time for refusing to drug their children for invented diseases that — according to an ever more involved government — must be treated with pharmaceutical drugs, while overlooking all other alternatives. Even the American government is siding with Big Pharma, using legal action to perpetuate this bizarre forced-legal-drug-use scheme.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is raking in massive profits — more than three times the average of other Fortune 500 industries — even after including all research and development costs. Let’s face it. Pharmaceuticals are not about making you healthy and well.

Make no mistake, there is no such thing as a pharmaceutical drug that can offer true prevention, because synthetic chemicals cannot produce health. They do not belong in your body to begin with, and you should know that your body will always try to protect itself from foreign substances and “invaders,” so how would these chemicals possibly create health?

I realize that asking you to Take Control of Your Health means battling a massive drug culture that has permeated the very core of American society. But there is no magic pill!

You cannot cure your ailments with pharmaceutical drugs.

Just Say No to ALL Drugs, and Embrace Optimal Health

Rather than focusing more time and attention on your health as you age, or as you see degeneration setting in, many of you will settle for a “diagnosis” and the latest medications. Realize that the only winners here are the ones who profit financially.

Do not seek passive medical intervention for your physical and mental wellbeing – you have to actively participate in it.

When symptoms arrive as a result of how poorly you’ve neglected your body and mind, take personal responsibility for your own wellness (restoring wholeness) and trust in the God-given recuperative powers of your body, rather than seeking out those who are only too willing take on this role for you.

As a result of handing over the full authority of your life over to the industry of medicine, the pharmaceutical and medical establishments have become so bloated, profitable and powerful, we’re now witnessing it getting completely out of control.

The harm that the present health care delivery system causes now outweighs the good. It’s time that balance gets restored — taking the good of medicine and replacing the bad with new ways of thinking and more appropriate ways of taking care of your body.
Dr. Bruce Lipton offers encouraging and enlightening advice on how to do this, and reminds us that conventional medicine is in fact referred to as “the central dogma” in medical schools. And dogma literally means, “A belief based on religious persuasion and NOT scientific fact.”

Whereas the current medical dogma states that you are ruled by your genes, and therefore you are at “risk,” you are a victim of your genetic makeup. But the new biology has already dispelled this idea as a myth, a belief that is not based on scientific fact. In truth, your genes do not predispose you to any particular fate. Instead, your mind, which you have total control over, rules over both your genetic, and cellular expression.

What Dr. Lipton refers to as the “new biology” has proven that our current view of biology is just as incorrect as our pre-1925 view that we live in a material universe.
As Dr. Lipton said in my recent interview with him, “… the new biology is going to take us from a world today of crisis and ill health, and a failing environment and world, and take us to another level of masterful control, where we — in our consciousness and our experiences of life — will actually have power over our own lives and not be the victims that we were programmed to be.”

Further, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) reports an impressive number of cases wherein the symptoms of major diseases improve rapidly by simply addressing the emotional and energetic causes of disease. Hundreds of these cases are written up on the EFT website and many are filmed so you can see the results right before your eyes. No drugs, radiation or surgeries necessary.

As you move into a brand new year, remember: You’re in control.
Once enough people have had enough, and enough people become the change they desire, change will be inevitable.

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