Americans typically head for hospitals and emergency rooms to receive medical care for injuries and ailments they suffer as a result of an unfortunate incident or persisting medical conditions.
However, recent reports indicate that the United States healthcare system may have been the cause of the more than 4.5 million ER visits in 2009, and experts are claiming that the profitability of the drug companies leads them to do more damage than good to the human body and society as a whole.
The ‘Near-Epidemic’ of Medical Care
In 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of a study about the dangers of prescription medicine. That study illustrated that the number of drug abuse treatment admissions involving prescription drugs increased fourfold, from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008.
The SAMHSA study revealed that the dangers of prescription drugs are just as real as that of illicit drugs and shed light on the growing trend of prescription drug abuse. But experts are now saying that the abuse of these drugs is just one of many problems with today’s medical care model.
According to SAMHSA, there were nearly 4.6 million drug-related visits to emergency rooms for medical care in the United States in 2009. Of those, approximately 50 percent resulted from adverse reactions to prescription medications, most of which were being taken exactly as they were directed.
“The ‘medicines’ themselves are often devoid of intrinsic value, being nothing more than rebranded and re-purposed chemicals, intended (though all too often failing) to be administered in sub-lethal concentrations,” writes Sayer Ji, founder of Florida-based GreenMedInfo.com. “Indeed, many of these chemicals are too toxic to be legally released into the environment, and should never be administered intentionally to a human who is already sick.”
What is perhaps more unsettling is the fact that these drug-related visits to emergency departments increased by more than 50 percent between 2004 and 2008. Because of this, health officials and policymakers nationwide are searching for alternative options before the country reaches a medical care epidemic.
We’ve all seen the prescription drug commercials with the fast-talking actors at the end, overwhelmingly running through all of the additional health risks that are created by the drug they are promoting. Ji, among other experts, say this is a perfect example of what the American people are being exposed to.
“You need look no farther than a typical drug package insert to find proof that the side effects of most drugs far outnumber their purported beneficial effects,” Ji added. Possible Commission?
Because nearly 20 percent of Americans have reportedly used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons, and since three-quarters of those are likely abusing the drugs, the country may be facing an epidemic in the form of prescription drug abuse.
What do you think the emergence of these statistics means for the country and the future of the medical care system? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below.