Not surprisingly, I learned of the so-called zombie apocalypse that apparently started with the face-eating incident in Miami from a bunch of teenagers, who were shocked (and … gulp … fascinated) that bath salts could bring on such an event. It sort of reminds me of the one that went around when I was younger about the guy high on angel dust who jumped out a window to his death.
Yup, don’t do drugs, they said. Cocaine, LSD, heroin, marijuana, that’s all bad news. Comic books where evil drug dealers snuck out of a grove of trees to pressure innocent kids into shooting up. The egg in the frying pan as a universal image for “this is your brain on drugs”.
But actually, yeah, I do have a question.
Why is it that everyone skirts around the fact that what are arguably the two most dangerous categories of “drugs” can be found right at home?
Let’s face it, the liquor cabinet is a dangerous place. How many people are killed each year by drunk drivers? I mean, think about it, how often do you hear about someone arrested for “Driving While Tripping”? Yet the list of DWI revocations distributed by the DMV at the end of each month is tragically long.
But don’t smoke crack, kids!
Even more silent than any of the heavy hitters or even alcohol, is the abuse of prescription medication. Men and teens are victims of this one, but this type of quiet drug abuse has long been owned by women primarily, with the concept of “Mother’s Little Helper” coming into common conversation back in the sixties thanks to the Rolling Stones.
Perhaps the biggest problem vis a vis prescription medication in 2012 is the concept of “doctor shopping” … or, well, I guess steps being taken to curtail prescription pill addicts from rotating doctors to get their prescription of choice.
Well, something’s gotta give, and a potentially mitigating circumstance seems to be on the horizon.
A CDC report last year said 15,000 people died as a result of overdoses of prescription painkillers in 2008 – more than three times the number in 1999.
Kentucky is a hot spot. Nearly 1,000 people in the state died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010, or about three a day, ranking it among the top states for such deaths.
In America as a whole, about 12 million people aged 12 and older reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in 2010.
Abusers and dealers typically get drugs by finding doctors willing to prescribe them, forging prescriptions, theft from pharmacies or individuals, or buying from “pill mills” — storefront clinics that sell painkillers for cash up front.
The answer seems to be a database of sorts, where medical providers can quickly run a name check on a patient …