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BLOG: May 2008

Medication use at the all-time high

"Who in their right mind would use those medications advertised on TV, risking all those nasty side effects?" said a friend in a causal conversation. Well, looks like great many would. The latest data shows that use of medications in the U.S. is at the all-time high: now more than half Americans regularly use prescription drugs.

The number is put out by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a company in the business of managing prescription benefits. It is based on their customer data, and shows steady increase in prescription drug use in the U.S.: from 47% of the population back in 2000, to 50% in 2006, and 51% in 2007. This makes the U.S.

the most medicated country in the world.

Seniors over 60 top the list: 3 out of 4 use prescription drugs regularly. They are followed by adult women (2 in 3), adult men (1 in 2) and those below 20 years of age (1 in 4).

Why is the average American more prone to reach out for medication and push it down the throat, than the rest of world's population? It is not a secret that side effects of prescription drugs kill well over 100,000 Americans each year, in hospitals alone. Many more are suffering from adverse drug effects, often not even aware that they are caused by drugs.

While it is certain that many factors are involved, it probably boils down to only three of them: convenience, affordability and packaging.

It is much more convenient to toss a pill into the mouth, than to change unhealthy habits in the diet and lifestyle. And, Americans can afford to spend as much as it takes for the "quick fix" with medications.

Part of it is why the older folks in America is so drug-dependant: by the time they reach advanced age, it is only logical to "treat" accumulated effects of unhealthy habits by adding one more -

daily ration of drugs.

It has become sort of a norm, but it doesn't have to be like that. Elsewhere in the world, where people live healthfully, they remain physically active and mentally sharp well into their old age.

Of course, it is different ball game for people living in industrialized countries. Not only unhealthy lifestyle, or even short traumatic episodes, but also the polluted environment we live in can and do inflict genetically-based health damage that is

passed to the next generation, and generations after it.

In other words, we are more likely than before to inherit diseases.

The very base of our natural health - the environment - is already compromised, and it is only getting worse. This plays at the hand of drug use since there is more people that will not feel well, to some degree, even if living healthfully, as much as it is possible in this polluted environment. And the mainly uncharted, obscure health effects of thousands of foreign chemicals we're exposed to can certainly make many feel helpless, unable to control their own health.

Especially if unaware of these agents being able to cause disease - so called environmental illness - which is, by the way, ignored and/or negated by the "official" medicine.

As for the "packaging factor", it is about how prescription drugs, in general, are presented to the public. Unfortunately, this presentation is created not by independent medical professionals - as it should be - but by the very drug manufacturers and their cronies. The inherent defect, and danger, of not addressing the cause of a disease, typical of drug/surgery treatments, are

routinely ignored by practitioners,
and not communicated to the patient.

Possible direct adverse health effects of conventional symptom-suppressing treatments are downplayed, sometimes even concealed, while viable and superior alternative therapies are ignored, downgraded, or ridiculed.

People tend to think that what they hear from their doctor is some sort of a sacred medical knowledge. In fact, most of the time, it is no more than a sales pitch of the drug maker. Worse yet, practicing rules for medical doctors are written mainly by pharmaceutical and insurance companies, whose legitimate and clandestine influence on the official medicine is enormous.

Not to be aware of it is like being living in the Wonderland - a sickly Wonderland.