Late last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to ban drug advertising on TV. There’s no legal effect of their vote, since only the FDA or Congress can pass such a law, but the AMA is making it clear exactly there they stand. However, the reasons behind them wanting to see these ads banned, although valid in themselves, also completely ignore the most important, and possibly the most dangerous, point.
Film is a powerful medium. Years ago a friend fighting for a particular cause told me how difficult it was to get anyone to really understand the issue and get on the bandwagon to support solving the problem. Then Hollywood made a movie about it. My friend garnered more support for the cause in the three months following the movie’s release than he had in the previous three years. I’m hoping the new film featuring interviews with drug overdose survivors and others touched by addiction, produced at the request of FBI director, James Comey, will have a similar effect.
It isn’t that difficult to get off prescription drugs – with the proper treatment – but getting to the point of being willing to do something about the problem is like pushing a boulder up a mountain.
As news items and articles increase the awareness of the potential for prescription drug addiction, abuse and deadly overdoses, the number of people going into prescription drug addiction treatment centers is rapidly surpassing those seeking treatment for street drugs. In fact, we’re only skimming the surface: If everyone with a prescription drug addiction or abuse problem decided to address it, treatment facilities would be so in demand it would be hard to find something available.
You may be surprised at how many people are completely unaware that they have a prescription drug addiction problem in their family or among their friends. Are you one of those people?
Given that there are about 260 million prescriptions written for highly addictive opioid painkillers every year – enough to keep the entire adult population of the U.S. drugged for a month – you can imagine how many people are using prescription painkillers.
You often hear of parents who didn’t know their kid was taking drugs until the call came from the ER at the local hospital, the police, or someone else telling them their kid is in serious trouble. The parents think their kids would never take drugs or, if they did, they would be open and honest about it. They’re shocked to find out that their kids have been taking drugs for a year or two, maybe longer. How can parents be so disconnected from what’s going on in their kids lives?
One of the major reasons is that parents have an image of drug-users that does not include their kids.
They see drug users as kids from horrible homes with horrible problems like parents who take drugs, drink excessively, abuse their kids or neglect them. Or maybe they’re extremely poor and the parents are constantly stressed out trying to keep up with things.
People assume that if a drug is approved by the FDA, it’s safe. If that were the case, however, we wouldn’t have a prescription drug addiction epidemic. What many people don’t understand is how the FDA works. If you want to avoid the possibility of prescription drug addiction, it’s important to understand the criteria for FDA approval.
Prior to submitting a drug for approval, studies are done on cells and animals. If there are no disasters, studies begin on humans. The first studies, Phase I of the clinical trials, are usually done on between 20 and 80 people. If the drug shows promise, Phase II begins. More people are usually tested in Phase II, but it may be only about 100. If Phase II also shows promise, Phase III is begun. This phase may involve giving the drug to several hundred people, or several thousand.
Years ago a friend of mine who was involved in preventing abuse of people with mental or emotional problems told me that there was more progress made in the three months after the release of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest than in the prior three years. That’s the power of film. It’s one thing to be told about issues like that, but it’s quite another to actually see it presented in all it’s gory glory.
While the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation (in association with other groups) film If Only isn’t that gory, it does a fantastic job at presenting the issue and its consequences in a very real and hard-hitting way.
Although prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs for 12- to 13-year olds, that is by far not the only age group that dies from these drugs. But the earlier they start, the greater the chances of them continuing to have a problem throughout their life.
The vast majority – 90% – of kids who use prescription drugs get them in their own home and from their friends. They don’t really have to have money or even know real drug dealers.
Watch this film. You can watch it or download it at dropthemoff.com. And show it to your kids – whether they’re involved in drugs or not – and anyone else you know who’s using prescription drugs for anything other than a short time when really medically necessary, like after surgery or a bad accident or injury.
And if you find out that your kids are using drugs – even if they’ve just started – do something about it fast. Call us at 855-895-2090. We can help. Don’t join the ranks of the thousands of parents, grandparents, kids, spouses, siblings and friends who have waited until it’s too late.
When your friend asks to share your burger, follow the kindergarten rules and share. It will make you both feel good. However, if your friend asks to share your Vicodin prescription because she “couldn’t get to the doctor to get her own,” know that you may be facing someone with an addiction problem.
I try to keep my cool. But today I read an article that really got me going. It’s called Poison Pill. And even though I already had a pretty low opinion of Purdue Pharma, the subject of the article, there was information in this article that made it very clear how bad the situation really was.