Painkillers: Deadlier than Cocaine, Heroin, and the Swine Flu?

flu, influenza, H1N1, hihi, HIHI, swine flu, plague, black death, painkillers, cox 2 inhibitors, pain killers, opioidsAddiction to prescription painkillers — which kill thousands of Americans a year — has become a largely unrecognized epidemic, experts say.

In fact, prescription drugs cause most of the more than 26,000 fatal overdoses each year, says Leonard Paulozzi of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of overdose deaths from opioid painkillers — opium-like drugs that include morphine and codeine — more than tripled from 1999 to 2006, to 13,800 deaths that year, according to recently released CDC statistics.

In the past, most overdoses were due to illegal narcotics, such as heroin, with most deaths in big cities. Prescription painkillers have now surpassed heroin and cocaine however, as the leading cause of fatal overdoses, Paulozzi says.

Experts say it's easy to see why so many Americans are abusing painkillers. As Americans age and carry extra pounds, more are asking for pain relief to cope with joint problems, back pain and other ailments.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Remember the Reagan-era ads, “Just Say NO!” Well, since then, street drugs have taken a definitive backseat to a far greater threat – prescription drugs, especially pain killers.

They’re typically used legally, eliminating the stigma of being a junkie. You don’t need to do business in the shadows to get your fix anymore. You just refill your prescription and pick it up at the nearest pharmacy where no one looks at you crooked.

Time to Raise Pandemic Level 6 Warning on American Drug Paradigm

According to Robert DuPont, a former White House drug czar and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "The biggest and fastest-growing part of America's drug problem is prescription drug abuse.  The statistics are unmistakable."

The CDC should take notice of these statistics and raise a Pandemic Level 6 Warning for the use of prescription drugs – it’s clearly killing FAR more people than the swine flu ever will.

Swine Flu Deaths As of November 17, 2009
Swine Flu Deaths As of Nov. 17, 2009
Click on image for larger view.

USA Today reports that about 120,000 Americans end up in the emergency room after overdosing on opioid painkillers each year, and reports that about 120,000 Americans end up in the emergency room after overdosing on opioid painkillers each year, and prescription drugs in general cause most of the more than 26,000 fatal overdoses annually. This despite the fact that the FDA increased the restrictions for consumer drug ads in 2005, especially for COX-2 painkillers like Celebrex and Bextra. 

At the time, aggressive drug marketing was blamed for the increased and inappropriate use of painkillers. However, I believe the cultural acceptance of prescription drugs – a pill for every symptom – may have replaced much of the need for excessive marketing of these drugs. People know they can get them simply by asking their doctor.

Another contributing factor is the fact that conventional doctors have bought into the drug paradigm hook line and sinker. For example, as described in USA Today, a long-term treatment plan for pain will typically include a drug-combination approach, using anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-convulsants, and muscle relaxants.

Drugs, and more drugs -- each one raising your risk of suffering potentially lethal side effects...

How to Treat Your Pain without Causing More Grief

Many people reach for the pill bottle with little or no thought of what it might do to their health in the long run. Some 26,000 people die prematurely each year as a result...

It’s completely understandable to want to get rid of pain. However, please understand that there are many options to prescription painkillers that are much safer, even though they may require some patience.

Here are several guidelines that can help reduce, or potentially even eliminate, your pain, depending on its severity:

  • Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3. My personal favorite is krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they manipulate prostaglandins.)

  • Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.

  • Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.

  • Retool your diet based on your body's unique nutritional type. Understanding your nutritional type is a tool I have seen work in thousands of patients to reduce their pain. If you are not yet aware of your nutritional type, you can take our free online test now.

  • Use effective energy psychology tools, such as the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT). MTT can address your previous emotional traumas that cause bioelectrical short circuiting, predisposing you to immune dysfunction.

  • Use safer alternatives for temporary relief, while you are in the process of implementing the above strategies. For several safe and effective suggestions, please see this link.

As you can see from the list above, there is no "quick fix" to treating pain, but rather it is a lifestyle change that will be well worth the effort.

More Examples of Reckless Drug Use

The reckless use of unnecessary drugs is especially obvious today as the swine flu hysteria is in full swing. Drug companies are now touting statin drugs, of all things, to be an effective remedy against the H1N1 virus!

What we have here is a cornucopia of unrivaled foolishness!

But let’s take a look at a more commonly prescribed drug for the seasonal- and swine flu that, in all likelihood, is causing far more harm than good – Tamiflu.

According to a recent study into the use of Tamiflu for children with flu symptoms – the most extensive research of its kind, so far – Tamiflu falls flat.

The researchers, who analyzed four studies of children aged one to 12, published their findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on August 11, 2009. They found that the anti-viral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza:

  • Put children at higher risk of dangerous complications

  • Had little impact on the length of the illness

  • Had little impact on the spread of the swine flu

  • May cause drug-resistant strain mutations

Children given these drugs were found to recover LESS THAN ONE DAY earlier, compared with simple rest and recuperation.

According to the researchers, the risks of Tamiflu and Relenza far outweigh their negligent benefits, and children should therefore NOT be given these drugs for the swine flu.

Common side effects included:

(Graph from the Daily Mail, August 11, 2009)

The Daily Mail notes that this finding will no doubt cause confusion, as it contradicts recommendations from government health officials. Not surprisingly, the British Department of Health dismissed the study, saying the results were based on seasonal flu, despite the fact that the scientist specifically noted that these results also applied to swine flu.

Again, health officials are choosing to ignore scientific warnings that their recommendations are NOT in the best interest of the majority of people.

Latest Stats Show Flu is LOWER This Year than Last Year

This is particularly upsetting when you consider the fact that the current flu season, swine flu and all, is the MILDEST flu season in years!  According to CDC and WHO data, far fewer people have died from H1N1 than any seasonal flu in the past.

This graph from the CDC showing the "Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality for 122 US Cities" also show that, so far, this year's flu mortality is far below that of 2008.

Why are our health officials recommending mass use of ineffective drugs that carry a higher risk of detrimental side effects than the illness it is supposed to treat?

How Does Swine Flu Compare to the Black Plague?

The Orthomolecular Medicine News Service brings up yet another interesting point of reference to put the swine flu vaccination program in its place.

Did you know that the plague, also known as” The Black Death,” is still alive and kicking?

The plague was one of the deadliest pandemics in history, killing an estimated 30-60 percent of Europe's population in the mid-1300s (about 50 million people). The US has seen some 400 cases of the plague since the 1950’s, and worldwide there are some 2,000 cases, and hundreds of deaths, each year.

There’s a vaccine for the plague as well, and yet you’ve likely never heard of it.


If there are constant outbreaks of the one of the deadliest diseases on the planet each year, why aren’t health officials urging everyone to get vaccinated?

And even more interestingly, why is there no plague epidemic?

This is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases there is, yet despite worldwide occurrence, it’s not spreading and killing like it used to anymore...

The Black Death epidemic was clearly not wiped out by antibiotics or mass vaccination, because neither existed at the time. If a vaccine was not required to quell a deadly, infectious disease like the plague, why are you told that vaccination  is the ONLY way to stop a flu epidemic?

The answer is that, just like the plague was quelled by the implementation of better sanitation and nutrition, the flu – be it seasonal or H1N1 -- can be vanquished by similar means.

How to Protect Yourself against the Flu without Vaccination

Following these simple guidelines will keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with.

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, including the flu. It is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng/ml and done by a reliable vitamin D lab like Lab Corp. (If your lab results are returned in nmol/L, simply divide by 2.5 to get ng/ml.)

  • Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness.

  • Get enough rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu.

  • Have effective tools to address stress . We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.

  • Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.

  • Take a Good Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.

  • Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that you can switch your family to.

  • Use Natural Antibiotics, such as oil of oregano, and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.

  • Avoid Hospitals and Vaccines. Hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to infectious diseases like the flu. Keep in mind that virtually all vaccinations will LOWER your immune system, NOT make it stronger!