Former Gov. Jesse Ventura breaks down America’s prescription drug abuse problem, and exposes the corrupt relationship Big Pharma has with the FDA.
Aaron Nelson (The Pontiac Tribune) — All it takes is a quick Google search to discover prescription drug abuse in the United States is out of control, worse than anywhere in the world. Why is it that most Americans are still unaware of this epidemic, or simply do not care?
In this episode of ‘Off The Grid‘, former Governor Jesse Ventura discusses the prescription painkiller abuse running rampant in the US and explains why he believes the epidemic is occurring.
Only 16% of Americans believe that the US is making progress in its efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse. More than half of America’s prison population are behind bars for illegal drugs offenses, and more than 4 million adults are currently on probation.
Considering how serious a crime it is to use, possess or sell illegal drugs such as marijuana and heroin, one would expect a greater effort from the federal agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health(Food & Drug Administration) to reduce prescription drug abuse.
10 Shocking Facts About America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
1) 80% of the world’s pain pills are consumed in the US and 70% of those drugs are bought, stolen, or obtained for free from a friend or relative.
2) 46 Americans die every day from prescription drug overdoses.
3) Nearly 10 million Americans abuse a prescription drug every month. That is double the entire population of Scotland.
4) 52 million people in the US over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in their lifetime, 6.1 million in the past month.
5) In just the last decade the rate of prescription drug abuse in the US has climbed 300%.
6) The CDC has already officially declared that prescription drug abuse in the United States is indeed an epidemic.
7) Heroin use rose by 75% between 2007 and 2011 and experts believe it’s because of prescription drug abuse. People often become addicted to pain pills before eventually progressing to heroin because it’s cheaper and can be easily obtained off the streets.
8) Big Pharma extracted more than $700 billion dollars in profits for Wall Street investors in 2013. Prescription drugs in the US are 40% more expensive than in Canada, 75% greater than in Japan and 300% more than in Denmark.
9) In 2012 pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline had to pay $3 billion in a fraud settlement pleading guilty to criminal charges of advertising drugs with unapproved uses and failing to report safety data. That same year Abbott Laboratories paid a $1.6 billion settlement over similar charges. A year later Johnson & Johnson had to pay $2.2 billion.
10) Big Pharma continually bribes doctors with money, sporting event tickets, vacations and other rewards to prescribe their drugs. This a severe conflict of interest and dangerously irresponsible of federal agencies such as the FDA to endorse. Several Big Pharma drugs have been and are still being approved by the FDA on fraudulent research.
The United States is one of two countries in the world (New Zealand is the other) that allows pharmaceutical giants to directly advertise their addictive drugs to potential consumers through television ads. Everyday millions of Americans are manipulated by Big Pharma and profited off of through massive multi-million dollar advertising campaigns designed to do one thing: sell drugs.
When Americans visit their doctor with a list of drugs they’ve already convinced themselves they need, it puts any Doctor in an awkward position, even the ones that do not accept bribes. The US patient-doctor relationship is no different than a drug addict and his/her drug dealer. The drug addict(patient) calls his/her dealer(Doctor) asking about a drug, and it leads to a financial transaction(sometimes not even the drug you originally wanted). On one end of the interaction there’s a sale for a business designed to make profit, and on the other millions of Americans are developing life-threatening addictions to drugs.
If you’re still not convinced this is a major problem facing this country, well what about your children? There is one more fact I’d like to share with you.
In 2013 the FDA approved a new drug called Zohydro. It is 100% hydrocodone, which is the main ingredient of Vicodin. Unlike most opiates, Zohydro doesn’t contain any acetaminophen and is without the abuse-resistant features added to some opiates to make them more difficult to abuse. It takes minimal effort to turn Zohydro into powder, so it can be easily snorted or diluted with water to be injected.
Million Dollar Question
Considering the United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world where direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceuticals to sell drugs is legal, why did the FDA permit Big Pharma, beginning in 1997, to not devote equal time to health risks and potential side effects of their drugs versus the ‘sales pitch’?