The Pharmaceutical Elephant in America's Living Room

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Illicit drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and addiction all tie into pharmaceutical companies.

One need not look far to find a major source of trouble in America; drugs. There are approximately 22 million people in this country addicted to substances such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol and methamphetamine, which is the cause of innumerable other social problems. However, there is another group of drugs and their manufacturers that is causing an entirely new set of problems.

The 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports 6.3 million persons currently use prescription medications non-medically. The Drug Abuse Warning Network reported drug abuse-related emergency room visits involving prescription pain relievers increased 153 percent since 1995.

The legal drug industry is one of the most lucrative in the world, which is why it continues to grow. In fact, pharmaceutical companies make so much money off of the government and citizens of this country that they have easily been able to pay the more than $1.5 billion in fines for Medicaid and other fraud since 2001, according to an article in the New York Times, which included a recent law suit by New York City.

Since the profits of such drugs are huge, more companies are finding ways to sell them, such as online pharmacies. Many people now receive a daily barrage of spam e-mails selling a variety of drugs, which is why the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has set up a system to report online drug-pushers. Anonymous reports can be taken at 1-877-RxAbuse or can be made online at by clicking on a link and filling out an electronic form.

Preliminary data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s Attitude Tracking Study suggests that many adolescents do not consider pharmaceutical drug abuse to be risky. In addition, the DEA says that one out of every ten high school seniors now reports abusing powerful prescription pain killers.

Even more disturbing is that there are approximately 6 percent of kids in this country that are prescribed amphetamines, antidepressants or anti-psychotics, all of which are very powerful, addictive and mind-altering. Over the last 15 years or so the number of kids on psychiatric drugs has tripled, and the number of teens using Ritalin® or Adderall® illegally is more than three times higher than the percentage of persons 12 or older that reported using cocaine in the past month.

The trend of pushing drugs for almost any symptom has spread its way into treating drug addicts, and millions of dollars are now being spent to develop anti-addiction drugs or studying existing drugs’ effects on addicts. Of the addicted individuals that enter traditional treatment, many become frustrated with the lack of results, continued relapse or because they are being given replacement drugs.

One drug often used as a substitute for heroin addiction is methadone, which is a synthetic opiate, despite the fact that in Oregon methadone has become the state’s most deadly drug with 103 deaths in 2002.

This trend will continue until people take a stand against the pharmaceutical elephant in the living room.

Working to create safer and more successful ways of treating drug and alcohol addiction is Narconon Arrowhead, one of the nation’s largest and most effective drug rehabilitation and education facilities. Narconon Arrowhead does not use any drugs in treating addiction, through the application of L. Ron Hubbard’s drug-free methodology, and has a success rate of 70% for helping individuals overcome addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, contact Narconon Arrowhead by calling 1-800-468-6933 today or log on to

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Luke Catton