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August 19, 2008

Prescription Medication Home Deaths Are Up

Drug deaths from prescription drugs are on the rise. Heather Ledger’s death was caused by an accidental overdose of medication. He was taking medicines that did not mix well together. Ledger, like a lot of other people was taking the medication that his doctors prescribed him. Most of the people that are dying of drug overdoses in their homes are doing the exact same things. Most people figure that if the doctor prescribed it, it must be okay to take it.

Of course many people are taking several different prescriptions. Occasionally alcohol is mixed in or street drugs. However, even if you just stick with what is prescribed, you could wind up overdosing on it. This is why I am always looking for some alternative to medications. If there is another way to feel better, I’m going for that method.

I was telling a friend the other day about how I have had carpal tunnel since 1999. Back then I was prescribed Vicodin for it and given a brace to wear at night. Well, I hated the Vicondin so I stopped taking it. The brace helped some but eventually the pain got to the point where it woke me up in the middle of the night. My doctor told me they could inject steroids into my arm or I could have surgery or take pain killers. I said no on all three counts and started doing yoga. In 2008, many years after my diagnosis, I can say that the pain is gone. I do not wake up in the middle of the night anymore and I use my hands more than ever now.

So the morale of the story is that there are other ways to heal yourself. Most of the overdoses have to do with painkillers. Doctors are also putting more responsibility on the shoulders of patients. How serious is this problem? Well, deaths from medication mistakes were at 1,132 in 1983. In 2004 they were at 12,426. This is quite an increase.

If people can’t sleep their doctor gives them a sleeping pills. If you are anxious, an anxiety pill is served up. If you are overweight, there are pills for that too. If you have any pain, there are plenty of strong painkillers that will knock it out. At what point does the doctor stop and ask why you are having all of these problems. What is wrong in your life that you are in need of so much medication?

As doctors stop asking questions and continue writing out prescriptions, it is clear that medicine has taken on a completely different meaning. The whole person should be treated, not just the ailment that they have. If a person is having pain or can not sleep there are a number of other routes that can be taken to help that do not involve medication. Of course, it does not help that many patients go to the doctor looking for painkillers or sleeping pills. I think that entire way that both doctors and patients look at medicine needs to be reevaluated.

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