Prescription Medication Problem Perpetuates

Doctor Shopping Cartoon

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.

From Fox News:

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 …

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What the Hell is Wrong With the Duggars?

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar Announcing 20th Pregnancy

When I heard that Michelle Duggar is, in fact, pregnant with what will be her 20th child, my initial reaction was, “What the hell?”

I don’t suspect I’m in the minority.

The gist of the shock and concern seems to be based around the dangerously premature birth of the youngest Duggar, Josie, who was born at a shocking 1 pound, 6 ounces.  Michelle Duggar’s pregnancy with Josie was shortened by her diagnosis of preeclampsia, a condition identified when she was initially hospitalized for gallstones.

Josie spent four months in the hospital after her December 2010 birth, and had to return shortly after being released because of vital sign concerns.  She didn’t, for all intents and purposes, get to go home from the hospital until she was six months old.

The idea of a baby having to spend her first six months of life in the hospital is tragic, as is the notion that nineteen kids were almost certainly getting a degree of shafting from parents obviously concerned about ..

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Are You 100% Honest With Your Doctor?

Photo of a Doctor

If I had to guess, I’d bet that most people have lied to their doctor.  Speaking for myself, sometimes it’s just easier.  Now, I realize this is a stupid thing to do, but I guess I can take heart in recent news out of Dr. Barbara Korsch’s recent work out of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in knowing that I’m not alone.

In fact, Korsch, the author of The Intelligent Patient’s Guide to the Doctor-Patient Relationship, led Fox News to recently explore the greatest areas of whopperdom faced by physicians when trying to treat their patients.

1.         Not taking prescribed medication correctly, completely, or … at all.

As embarrassing as it might be to admit it, “If you don’t tell us you’re skipping pills, we’ll assume you’re taking them and they aren’t working, so we might change the dosage or the prescription”—which may put off your recovery and cause side effects, says Laura Knobel, MD, a family physician in Walpole, Massachusetts, and a member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

And when you toss antibiotics before you’re done with the full course, you may not kill off all the infectious bacteria in your body, leaving them resistant to drugs and possibly causing the illness to come back with greater force.

There’s a real science to pharmaceuticals, and the balance is often a dicey one.  Doctors making sound medical decisions operate under …

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Dangerous Breast Implants Found to be Used Across the West

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The UK’s Daily Mail runs a piece this morning regarding Tracey Stevens, a 45 year old woman who is reportedly Britain’s first victim of a health scandal regarding faulty and potentially life-threatening breast implants. The Daily Mail states that:

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