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What About This…? 6.19.2014

By Wayne William Cipriano
I was surprised when I heard a national news show’s discussion roundtable pose the question, “Is the inappropriate use of prescription drugs a large problem in our society?”
Based on the information I have received from the media, it seems to me that for quite some time the most serious drug problems in our country, particularly among our youngsters, are the inappropriate, and incidentally illegal use of such drugs.
In addition, very recently we have been inundated with the news of overuse, the dangerous overuse of prescription drugs, chiefly analgesics in professional sports, especially professional football.
And most difficult for me to even address are the inappropriate and overuse of prescription drugs in lieu of more effective treatment provided to our military combat veterans by Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
You can consider many aspects of these loosely associated tragedies but one unifying factor seems inescapable and undeniable –– they are all prescription medications.
Where do these prescription medications, used inappropriately and often illegally, come from? Yes, every now and than a truck carrying a shipment of these drugs is hijacked and drugs sold illegally on the “black market”.  And there are pharmacy, hospital and clinic thefts, and pilfering at manufacturing plants all adding drugs to the “street-wise pharmacopeia”.  But when we add up the hijacked, robbed, burgled, pilfered drugs, what is the total compared to the amount of inappropriate and illegal prescription drugs in use? 1 percent? 2 percent?  5 percent?
Where does the remaining 95 percent (or 98 or 99 percent) of incorrectly consumed Prescription drugs come from? Incorrectly consumed but not illegally dispensed prescription drugs?
Study after study, report after report, observation after observation and common sense tell us there are only two professions in our society which legally provide prescription medications that can be incorrectly used, and one these to a much, much smaller degree than the other.
Yet, in all the years this epidemic of incorrectly used prescription medications has persisted, the one profession almost totally responsible for providing these prescription medications has been mentioned, at least to my recollection, on a vanishingly small number of occasions.
In fact, I can only recall one practitioner of that profession ever being identified by name as the provider of an incorrectly used prescription drug.  That was the guy that killed Michael Jackson.
Why do you think that is?