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Drugs, Alcohol, Vitamins and Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s tragic death and society’s nasty habit of closing the barn door after the animals have all escaped has me on a new tear.

It appears there will soon be an investigation into the how and why Whitney Houston was able to get her hands on so many prescription drugs. The prescribing doctors will have to scramble to explain why they continued to prescribe such drugs.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…”

We all have free will and we all make choices. Yes, the doctors may have contributed to Whitney’s demise, but as Whitney has said in her interview with Diane Sawyer, she’s her own worse enemy, just as most of us are our own worst enemy.

The sad part of this tragic tale is that Whitney Houston and other celebrities are not the only ones who get a chance to abuse such drugs. Most people want to reach for a drug to quickly resolve an ailment rather than change their lifestyle to naturally heal themselves.

A Few Prescription Drug Statistics

I did a quick Internet search to see if there were statistics on how many people die each year from taking prescription drugs as prescribed. I’m not talking about the drug addict or those who abuse the prescription and take it in a fashion other than the way it was intended. I’m talking about the folks who have drugs prescribed and they follow the instructions to the T.

According to The Daily Meds, over 100,000 people die per year by taking prescription drugs as prescribed.

Not wanting to take that as the gospel truth I decided to look a little further into this. I found information on a site called Drug War Facts. This site went a little further into detail about the number of deaths and the number of serious incidents as a result of prescription drug use.

Drug Wars Facts has a 10-year chart that summarizes drug deaths and serious incidents. Here are a few numbers to chew on. In the year 2010 there were 82,724 deaths as a result of prescription drugs and 471,291 serious incidents.

Over the past 10 years there were almost a half a million deaths from prescription drugs and just shy of 3 million serious incidents. Serious incidents include hospitalization, disability, congenital anomalies and/or other serious outcomes.

The above figures came from the Adverse Effect Reporting System that is managed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Factoring in a margin for error, that is an awful lot of deaths/incidents from people taking drugs in the fashion in which they were prescribed.

A Few Statistics on Vitamins

I wanted to compare those death by drug numbers to death by vitamin numbers so I did a little more research. I found a site called Orthomolecular.org which summarized the number of deaths caused by vitamins over the past 27 years.

According to their website, the number of deaths attributed to vitamins over the past 27 years equals zero. Yes the big doughnut, ZERO. Factoring in a margin for error, those numbers are impressive. Compare that whopping doughnut to the ½ million folks who died as a result of prescription drugs.

Vitamin Warnings

When I hear about vitamin warnings, I have to laugh. I don’t have medical proof, but taking 10 or 20 vitamins over the daily recommended requirement won’t yield the same disastrous results as taking 10 or 20 prescription pills above the recommended dosage.

Vitamins have a way of warning you when you’ve taken too much. For example, if you take more vitamin C than your system can process, you’ll spend quite a bit of time running back and forth to the bathroom. Actually, when you consider the high rate of constipation in developed countries, too much vitamin C might be a good thing ;).

Too many prescription pills will land you in the emergency room or even worse, the morgue.

Drugs, Vitamins and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol can be a deadly combination. There is much speculation that the combination is what led to Whitney Houston’s demise.

Let’s take a look at vitamins and alcohol. Hmmm, get a blender and mix a ton of fresh, nutrient rich, organic fruits and vegetables. Make enough to fully cover the alcohol you’re about to mix with it. Now add a shot or two (or three) of your favorite alcohol whether it’s Vodka, Gin, Rum, Scotch, Whiskey or Brandy.

For aesthetics, get a cherry and place it on top of your mixture. Add a straw and drink. Just for grins and to push the envelope, pop a couple of vitamin Cs and Bs (just in case the vitamin content in the fresh organic fruits and vegetables aren’t enough).

Mixing vitamins and alcohol is nowhere near as dangerous as chasing drugs with alcohol.

Time for Everything

There are some occasions when prescriptions are the answer to an ailment, but I think we’ve gone a bit too far. Curing things like restless leg syndrome (when I was a kid that just meant your leg fell asleep and it was time to change your position) and the constant bombardment of ads for drugs like Xanex, Spiriva and the like is just too much.

It saddens me to see that instead of trying to decide whether or not the headache is a result of dehydration, lack of sleep or hunger, we reach for a bottle of pills. We should try the basics first before we start popping pills.

That’s my two cents, and I’m sticking with it!

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