An alarming new coroners court report has found that pharmaceuticals were involved in around 80 percent of overdose deaths in the Australian state of Victoria last year. Revealingly, while the deadliest illicit drug cited in the report was heroin, which contributed to a total of 168 deaths, pharma drugs played a role in almost double this number, at 330 fatalities. With urgent calls now being made for a real-time prescription monitoring system to be set up in Victoria, the implication that, nationally, thousands of Australian lives are being lost each year to pharmaceutical overdoses has been described as a national catastrophe.
While these statistics could, on the one hand, be seen as simply a reflection of the fact that more people take pharma drugs than use heroin, any attempt to dismiss them on this basis misses the point. Ultimately, the higher profile given by governments to fatalities from illicit drug overdoses distracts us from realizing that, were similar public attention drawn to the death toll caused by pharmaceuticals, a significantly larger number of lives could be saved. But as raising awareness of this would draw unwanted scrutiny to the dangers and shortcomings of drug-oriented medicine, the status quo is allowed to persist and the health interests of ordinary citizens are seen as secondary to the continued profits of multinational pharmaceutical companies.
The pharma drugs most frequently associated with overdoses in the Victoria report were benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium), which contributed to 220 deaths. Next highest were opioid analgesics, associated with 183 deaths, followed by antidepressants, which played a role in 151. Overall, a total of 284 of the 330 fatalities to which pharmaceuticals contributed involved the use of multiple medications.
In this respect it is notable how a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society explained that older people taking multiple pharma drugs face a significantly greater risk of frailty, disability and death. Providing shocking evidence of the dangers of “polypharmacy”, the researchers found that each additional medication added to a patient’s regimen was associated with a 22% increased risk of going from a state of robust health to dying during the period of the study.
In clinical practice, so dangerous has the pharmaceutical approach to medicine now become that orthodox doctors, hospitals and their treatments have been shown in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by deaths from heart disease and cancer. The study, published in July 2000, also found that between 4% and 18% of patients experience adverse effects in outpatient settings, with 116 million extra physician visits; 77 million extra prescriptions; 17 million emergency department visits; 8 million hospitalizations; 3 million long-term admissions; 199,000 additional deaths; and $77 billion in extra costs.
Similarly, in yet another vivid demonstration of the ineffectiveness of pharmaceutical medicine, a JAMA study published in 1998 estimated that in 1994 around 2,216,000 hospitalized patients in the United States had suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) and that 106,000 suffered a fatal ADR.
Clearly, regardless of whatever the drug companies would have us believe, treating the symptoms of disease with toxic pharmaceuticals is not the answer to saving lives. Instead, in order to achieve this, we need to understand that health and disease are determined not at the level of the body’s organs, but at the level of the billions of cells that make up those organs. The cells of the body need to be properly nourished on a daily basis, which means we have to know what types of food – and which specific micronutrients – are required in order for them to function optimally.
So creating a new global healthcare system requires providing natural health education. In other words, we have to share the groundbreaking scientific understanding that micronutrient deficiencies are the primary cause of chronic diseases and that, through ensuring an optimum supply to our bodies of these health-giving substances, malfunctions of the body can safely and effectively be prevented.
Viewed in this light, the lesson to take away from the Coroners Court of Victoria report is a very clear one, namely, that deaths from pharmaceutical drug overdoses can ultimately only be prevented by replacing our existing disease-oriented healthcare system with one that makes natural preventive health a human right.
Right now, as you read this article, saving millions of lives depends upon enough of us understanding this and being prepared to take the necessary action to bring it about. If you see this as being as important as we do, contact us and let’s talk about how we can work together to create a new approach to healthcare in your country.