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I find it interesting that there is so much discussion about these "hard drugs". However, there are other drug problems, which are being rarely discussed.

Death By Medicine - Part I, by Gary Null, PhD ~ Carolyn Dean, MD, ND ~ Martin Feldman, MD ~ Debora Rasio, MD ~ Dorothy Smith, PhD

ABSTRACT

A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good.

  • The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million.1

  • Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.2, 2a

This seems to be a limited review, as psychopharmaca are not included and my guess that would be a huge number too.

by Fran on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 02:57:13 AM EST
Forgot, and this are problems with legal drugs. So, I think all drug use should be under consideration.
by Fran on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 02:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Should Hard Drugs be decriminalised for all now?
4.    There are already huge social costs associated with alcohol, tobacco, and the over- prescription of prescribed drugs.

There is a HUGE problem of iatrogenic (doctor induced) illness through over-prescription which results in severe drug dependency (Valium) or the the habituation of harmful bacteria to anti-biotics to the extent that we have to fine more and more expensive and invasive replacements for drugs which no longer work.

In fact many would ascribe this to an insidious "drug culture" which believes there has to be a pill for every problem and which turns medicine and psychiatry into drug prescribing factories with many side effects which are often as bad as the original ailment.

I find it odd that many "progressives" who are very anti this culture and are into alternative medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture etc. don't find anti contradiction between this and doing "hard drugs".  Marijuana of course has a "natural" homely image, being a herb that you can grow in your own garden and looking like one, but many of the other drugs are lab produced, and dirty lab produced at that.

Part of my sense that there is a cultural shift against drug use of ANY kind (including excessive prescribed drug usage) is a sense  that we need to take control of our own bodies again and let natural and holistic healing processes take centre stage.

Western medicine and big pharma may indeed be partly at fault for the "pill for every problem" popular culture but just because you are anti-establishment doesn't mean that taking "rebellion" drugs is the answer, or that they should be legalised.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 05:31:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check your sources. The paper you cite is very likely bullshit. Which really is a pity, because there is most certainly a point to be made that significant overmedicalisation is taking place in many industrialised societies. This paper (and I use the term loosely) does not make any such point, however.

  • Two of the five authors are known quacks (the ND after Dean's name is a dead giveaway, btw: ND stands for 'naturopathic doctor' - which is a fancy way of saying 'quack').

  • This is published in an internet newsletter, rather than the peer-reviewed literature. That is telling.

  • The 'newsletter' that published it is very likely a quack rag. From the front page:

Many health care professionals are starting to seriously question the staid orthodoxy of traditional medicine's allopathic approach to disease management and its universal acceptance of drugs and surgery as the only health care paradigm. [Emphasis mine]

Many envision a time, in the not-so-distant future, where disease prevention and reversal, health restoration and life extension are regularly achieved through the integrated use of alternative medicine, diagnostic analysis testing, homeopathy and other innovative therapeutic approaches. [Emphasis mine]

By my count that's six major red flags in the space of a mere two paragraphs.

- The abstract reads more like an altie screed than a serious academic discussion. To wit:

A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. [Emphasis mine]

It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. [Emphasis mine]

There are so many things wrong with those two paragraphs that I hardly know where to begin. But we can start with the fact that they are completely over the top. It is either perverse dishonesty or outright insanity to look only at the cases in which medical interventions go wrong or are not successful and then conclude that medicine does more harm than good. They are quite literally saying that hospitals are dangerous because people die in hospitals!

The stoopid, it burns.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 10:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Jake, if your point of view is defensible, you can defend it without sneers and insults.

Terms like bullshit, quack, quack rag, altie screed, stoopid, are quite unnecessary to your argument and only tend to reveal a certain degree of prejudice in your attitude. This is all the more remarkable in that you propose to represent a rational point of view.

You saw recently that views on subjects like these cover a fairly wide range on ET, and that a raging battle is easily started. I don't think you want to start a flame war, so please don't use flames.

Thanks for understanding, as I'm sure you will.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 03:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree with your reasoning and I only partially agree with your conclusion, but I'm not dumb enough to argue with a moderator.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:52:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a huge debate between "alternative" and mainstream medicine which I don't propose to get into this debate here except to make three points:

  1. The "medical model" if practiced in isolation has a very poor track record of "curing" drug addiction and many successful drug treatment services also use "alternative" therapies such as acupuncture

  2. Some in the addiction treatment services argue that the "pill for every problem" culture in much of mainstream medicine contributes to the popular acceptance of illicit drug taking as a form of recreation

  3. There is a huge literature, and widespread acceptance within mainstream medicine that it has a problem with the level of iatrogenic illness, increased risks of infection in hospitals, and addictions caused by over-prescription of drugs.  The statements you characterise as wild exaggerations need to be evidenced, of course, but they are not necessarily as controversial as you might imagine, even in mainstream medical circles.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never disputed points two and three. In point of fact, I made point three myself in the very first paragraph: There is no question that overmedicalisation and adverse (and untested) side effects result from haphazardly combining drugs to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying disease (this gets particularly ironic when drug 2 is introduced to treat the side effects of drug 1, drug 3 is given to treat the side effects of drug 2 and drug 3 causes side effects similar to the symptoms drug 1 was supposed to treat. Yes, that actually happens occasionally). This should not be controversial.

But that is not what the cited 'paper' argues. It pushes a simplistic message of Drugs BAD! and it attempts to elbow in proven nonsense like homeopathy. This is tactically and rhetorically very similar to the way cdesign proponentsists point to a problem or an unexplored issue somewhere in science and shout "gotcha! You don't know how protein X evolved, therefore evolution is bunk!"

(As an aside, alties frequently employ another tactic lifted from the cdesign proponentsist battle plan: Whenever they say "but we don't want to do away with real conventional medicine, we just want to supplement it," what you should hear is "teach the controversy.")

With regard to your first bullet, I am not familiar with the literature on the subject, but it is not entirely implausible that giving people a placebo (which is what most 'alternative medicine' really is) can help them kick a habit. This is, however, very likely a purely psychological effect that owes more to the interaction with the therapist than any physiological effect of the placebo in question.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 11:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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