Legal Drugs: How Did America Get Addicted to Antidepressants?
Legal Drugs: How Did America Get Addicted to Antidepressants?

Between 100,000 and 200,000 people die from pills every year in the United States. The number of people taking medications for depression is staggering: 270 million prescriptions are prescribed for depression in a population of 317 million. The reason for this strange statistic is simple: antidepressants are addictive.

And after some time, a person, having once tried a chemical stimulant, can no longer live without it, because stress in modern life occurs regularly, and the drug gives a blissful feeling of peace. The problem is that over time you need to take more and more medications.

Pharmacists have a lot of influence in Washington, with lobbyists and senators working tirelessly to make medicines easier for people. But it's not just lawmakers and lobbyists who are helping pharmacists grow a huge market that is now on the order of one trillion dollars a year. Doctors also participate in the activities of accustoming patients to medicines, because it is unprofitable to cure a patient with the help of physiological means and practices, it is much more profitable to treat him for years and decades with the help of pills.

An increasing number of people are becoming addicted to drugs. Pharmaceutical addiction is getting younger: adolescents and schoolchildren start taking drugs. However, there are two dangers. The first is overdiagnosis, when more and more children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For example, over the past decade, the number of children with ADHD has doubled, or rather, the frequency of this diagnosis has increased. But the saddest thing is that some parents of healthy children are starting to give them special drugs prescribed for ADHD so that children can learn better. These parents, in their pursuit of high academic performance, overlook the fact that these drugs have very serious side effects.

This is due to marketing: every year pharmaceutical companies invest $ 60 billion in product promotion, which is twice the cost of research. Every American knows to take a pill if there is pain or discomfort, stress or fatigue. Any tension of the body, external or internal, is suppressed by medication. More precisely, in advertising they talk about help, not about suppression, but this does not change the essence. By the way, the difference in budgets leads to the fact that new, most modern and very effective, according to advertising, drugs do not go through enough research, which means they turn out to be unsafe. For example, Vioxx was touted as a unique new drug that caused less GI bleeding than Advil. Over time, it became clear that people taking Vioxx die from resonant heart attacks, not bleeding. It should be noted that a significant part of the research is now taking place outside the United States, in countries where it is less prosperous, incl. in terms of control over the actions of companies and doctors. In the list of countries that have become test sites, Russia ranks second after China (1513 and 1861 studies, respectively, in 2008).

To be on the safe side, pharmaceutical companies involve doctors in the distribution of drugs by giving prescription premiums. However, the lion's share of the marketing budget - $ 34 billion - is spent on distributing free “samplers” of drugs in pharmacies, which is allowed by law thanks to the highly paid lobbyists.The increased incidence of teenage aggression may also be medication-related. 14% of those who drink psychoactive drugs have bouts of aggression, up to dreams of killing classmates and subsequent suicide. A third of American teenagers participate in "farm parties" in which those present pile up medicines obtained in one way or another, mix them and consume them with alcohol. Fatalities after such parties are far from uncommon, so parents are increasingly receiving warnings about the need for increased monitoring of medicines at home.

The pharmatization of all life situations has led to the fact that every second American takes two drugs on an ongoing basis, and every fifth one takes five or more drugs. More than 70% of the population takes one drug. The routine of taking medication makes it easier to introduce drugs into the life of ordinary people: if everyone takes medication, then this is normal for me too. At the same time, the dependence arising from sedatives of the benzodiazepine class, as practice has shown, can be established in a very short time, just four weeks is enough to become addicted, or a drug addict. The habit of seizing up their sorrows with handfuls of pills leads not only to accidental deaths of adolescents, but also to real national tragedies like murders in schools.

Antidepressants, entering the environment with human waste, lead to serious problems in local ecosystems. This does not prevent pharmaceutical companies from pretending that they do not know about anything, because business is more important than human lives.

The main consequence of many years of massive advertising of the miraculousness of medicinal aid is the physical and psychological dependence of an entire people on certain substances. The statistics are relentless: in 20 years, sales of antidepressants have grown by 400%. Every year from 100 to 200 thousand people die from pills.

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