Skip to comments.It's ok a doctor prescribed it!
Posted on 05/08/2011 12:34:35 PM PDT by Cardhu
In the United States the number of people hospitalised for prescription drug abuse has increased four hundred percent in the past ten years.
The small town of Portsmouth, Ohio is the epicentre of the problem.
Over thirty people - many in their early twenties - have died from prescription drug abuse.
One in ten babies born in Scioto County (Sy-oh-toe) last year tested positive for drugs.
Fatal overdoses have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio.
I met Andrea Queen, a reformed abuser at her new place of work in Portsmouth a clinic helping today's abusers.
A friend told Andrea to take a prescription pill one evening - "just to get the party going," he said. It led to a habit that nearly killed her. She told me:
"This growing sense of paranoia helped convince me that I needed to take myself out of this world that killing myself would be the one way out."
Ed Hughes is the Executive Director of The Counseling Center Inc and has been charting the rise of prescription drug abuse in Ohio. He shows me a series of maps showing the counties in the State ... each one he hands me gets progressively redder in colour.
"We had high admissions for opiate addictions in 2001 and then when we look eight years later in 2009."
Street clinics known as Pill Mills dole out the highly addictive opiate Oxycotton (OxyContin is the official name) to anyone with the money to pay for it some doctors in the area are cashing in on this big business. Ed told me:Scioto County is an area once known for steel and shoe making but which now has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the state of Ohio...and the country
."Most of the time they're doctors that have become marginalised in their profession they're, you know, they've had problems with their practice or problems with their hospitals ...more than one of the Pill Mills here in our community are owned and operated by people who have had past felony drug offences."
Andrea's recovering from the prescription drug hell that almost ended her life and now counsels others .. with a warning: "Don't do it doesn't get the party going it gets the addiction going."
Not everybody recovers from prescription drug abuse and a wall in the display window of an empty department store in Portsmouth is testimony to that.
It contains the names of thirty six people who have died in this area as a result of abusing prescription drugs.
Joanna Krohns knows this all too well. She lost her son Wes when he accidentally shot himself while high on painkillers. She's now started a group called Solace to help other grieving parents.
"When you lose a child it's such a devastating thing I didn't really know where to turn, who to turn talk to and I thought if I can just reach out to other parents give them somebody to talk to give them hope so that's kind of what I did."
The wall in downtown Portsmouth containing so many young faces - the majority were around the age of twenty two - is heartbreaking to look at.
Easy access to painkillers right across America means many more are likely to lose their lives too.
The new opiate abuse. $30 to $50 bucks a pill around here for Oxy.
Guy in our town went away for 2+ years selling to an undercover for about a year.
Portsmouth truly is a cesspool.
“As of 2010, Portsmouth’s population is 19,847 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of -5.08 percent.
The median home cost in Portsmouth is $52,070. Home appreciation the last year has been -14.62 percent.
Compared to the rest of the country, Portsmouth’s cost of living is 24.30% Lower than the U.S. average.
Portsmouth public schools spend $4,904 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,678. There are about 18.2 students per teacher in Portsmouth.
The unemployment rate in Portsmouth is 12.40 percent(U.S. avg. is 10.20%). Recent job growth is Negative. Portsmouth jobs have Decreased by 3.25 percent.”
I just checked the status of Ohio - seems that it is part of the rust belt with super high unemployment.
Drug abuse is drug abuse, no matter if it is prescription or illegal drugs.
Apart from misdiagnosed drugs there is the profit motive in unnecessary procedures.
Here is part of a letter to the Times in February 2011
The Price of Colonoscopy Published: February 22, 2011
To the Editor:
States Aim Ax at Health Cost of Retirement (front page, Feb. 14) describes steps taken by cities and states to control employee health care costs. One city, Wauwatosa, Wis., requires its employees to undergo colonoscopy at age 50, to help forestall cancer and potentially high treatment costs, you report.
Colon cancer screening with colonoscopy viewing the entire colon has almost completely replaced more limited sigmoidoscopy, which costs as little as one-tenth as much. Yet studies have repeatedly failed to show that colonoscopy reduces the risk of death from colon cancer more effectively than sigmoidoscopy.
Indeed, two national multidisciplinary task forces state that sigmoidoscopy is just as effective. Nonetheless, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends colonoscopy over sigmoidoscopy, and national health care legislation mandates that new coverage include screening colonoscopy.
Read more at:
Columbus and south of it were never part of the Rust Belt. Southern Ohio is agriculture and an Appalachian way of life. Portsmouth is an extension of Kentucky and West Virginia, without the charm.
Indeed it’s strange what the young and dumb call cool so their peers will except them,a weak lot indeed.I have no pity for anyone who goes out on the O.D. route.
Thanks for the correction - but what caused the loss of population and very high unemployment situation for a rural agricultural area.
I was lucky that the one time I needed pain meds for a prolonged period I was under the care of a doctor with a relatively small number of patients.
Part of the susceptibility testing is also finding the most cost effective drug for the job. Drugs for a particular bug are listed as A, B and C drugs. A drugs are the default. They have the highest efficacy for the buck. The only time you would go to the B class is the patient is allergic to it or the A drug just does not seem to be working. We never report B drugs on the MB report unless we are informed that a patient has an alergy to the A drug.
My wife was suspected of having polyps and this is what the did with her. Nothing of any consequence was found with the pill, so there was no need for a colonoscopy.
Family farming is a dying enterprise in this country; Southern Ohio is a microcosm of that. A great many of the locals used to work in Columbus or Cincinnati, but the recession put them out of work, and the relatively few higher wage earners (for Southern Ohio, $50,000 is huge money) can’t support the small retail and service sector in the local area.
The number one cash crop is marijuana and federal and state social welfare programs provide most of the cash flow to the locals.
That is very interesting I have never heard of that procedure. My daughter is a nurse and hospital administrator in Saudi Arabia I will have to ask her about it.
Is this why the Slammies call America the Great Satan?
Your excellent summary of the conditions in Southern Ohio explains why the young folk and others are turning to drugs. No work and welfare programs tend to depress ones outlook on life.
I lived for a short time in Lincoln, Nebraska and Kansas about 20 years ago. It was my first encounter with fly over country after living in NY and PA. I was really impressed with both places.
I found that generally the people there were much more sophisticated than those back East. In Nebraska it seemed that all the children played golf. and in Overland Park south of Kansas City they had hundreds of restaurants that that were packed seven days a week. Not at all what one would think of back east.
I remember driving into Kansas City, Missouri in winter and coming over the hill looking down on the University area, which was entirely built in Spanish style, every building was outlined in small colored lights - it was absolutely amazing. I wish I had take a photograph of it but in those days we did not carry digital cameras around with us.
Flyover country truly is America. The coasts are infested with the descendent dregs of early-mid 20th century European socialists/communists who polluted our society first through unions, then through local governments until gaining enough clout to destroy academia.
AlJazeera is only for the movers and shakers in Washington and the rest of the world.
Do not watch it! :)
AlJazeera is only for the movers and shakers in Washington and the rest of the world.
Do not watch it! :)
Heaven waits for me I know...
I just saw this first hand a few weeks ago. My ex, whom I lived with for ten years and still talk to, was always a bit depressed. A forty hour a week job was typical and she was functional. She started going to a doctor for it a few years ago. She gave her a prescription. Then that didn’t work anymore so she got anouther one. then this prescription was interacting with anouther one so she needed anouther one. Long story short she is on disability (too messed up to do anything but collect drugs and money from the govt.) and has 13 prescriptions she takes daily.
When she has a bad spell it is never because she is a junkie, she just needs to get her meds adjusted which invariably means she needs more. I told her just because her drug dealer has a PhD, doesn’t mean she isn’t a junkie. Sad story.
As for lacking in charm, I like the people in Portsmouth, Gallopolis, Belpre, Marietta and on and on just fine. Sure, the ratio of dregs to good folks is higher than in the past. But there's also still plenty of decent, honest people. I have great respect for those that uphold their Appalachian roots. There's still folks down there that do that down there.
I live near here and while there is Scioto County (Sy-oh-toe), there’s also Newark (Nerk).
When I mentioned “charm,” I didn’t mean the people (I apologize for that.) I meant Southern Ohio doesn’t have the same feel as WVA or Kentucky. Yes, they all look alike to a point, but in Ohio it just seems so much more depressing.
I misspoke a bit on that procedure. I asked my wife about it again and apparently she wore some kind of device which received the images wirelessly from the camera. The images were downloaded off that and the camera was just passed in the stool and sent to the sewage treatment plant, having served its purpose!
they come into the ER...describe vague pain that will take blood tests and radiology tests to explain and when they are all normal , the person gets pain meds prescribed OR they get admitted and put on a Dilaudid pain machine.....because drs and hospitals MUST try to relieve pain...its a "patient right" issue...
funny how all these adicts are allergic to Darvon,Ultram,NSAIDS,etc...funny how they HAVE to have dilaudid....they even know how high you should set the machine and God help you if you don't set it high enough...
sometimes these addicts will simply get Dilaudid IV shots every 3-4 hrs...but they also will ask for Phenegan injections AND benadryl at the same time....no high too good for our addicts...
you wouldn't believe how many youngish patients are on huge doses of oxy....for their "back" pain etc...
yeah. They buy it on the street.
I had a patient die of a MSContin overdose...she stole them from her cousin (also a patient of mine) who had metastatic cancer.
Then there was the lost pain pills for one of our chronic pain patients. After the second time she “lost” them, we put on a patch, and her daughter came into the ER withdrawing. That was before the druggies learned to soak the patch and inject the medicine.
Then there was a 13 year old girl (not my patient) who was told at a party “drink this and get high”. She did, and died. Where did the morphine syrup come from ? The other teen got it from the medicine cabinet after her grandmother died of cancer.
So do they get these from pill mills, or from ordinary docs? Or do they steal them?
The end result will be more people suffering more pain...
I agree that there is a depressed feeling. Really on both sides of the river. The northeasterners exploited the natural resources. Now the region is trying to figure out what it is again.