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Prescription Drug Addiction: Doctor Traded Pills For Sex From Patients
If you’ve ever doubted that prescription drug addiction can create serious personal problems, consider this recent scenario from Salem, Utah: Several female patients became so desperate to support their addictions they agreed to trade sex with their doctor for pills. And for his perverted and vicious betrayal of trust, the doctor not only ruined his family life and reputation, he also lost his license to practice and was sent to jail — the whole nasty business resulting directly from prescription drug addiction.
The story of the disgraced Utah doctor and the tragic and humiliating desperation among the victims of his prescription-caused addictions, clearly illustrates how prescription drug addiction is impacting society across America.
In towns and cities everywhere, prescription drug addiction is taking a terrible toll in messed-up lives, interrupted careers, ruined relationships, soaring crime rates and record-high injuries and deaths.
Most communities report that deaths and injuries from prescription drugs now exceed those from illicit street drugs like heroin, meth and cocaine. In many cities and counties, the fatal results of prescription drug addiction and abuse are double, triple or even quadruple those from illegal drugs.
Nationally, according to the National Safety Council, deaths from prescription drug addiction and abuse now exceed drunk driving to become the nation’s leading cause of unintentional death. In 2006 alone, an estimated 24,000 people died from accidental drug-related causes, a 100 percent increase since 2000, and in that single year, more than six times the total American body count from the war in Iraq.
Prescription narcotic pain killers such as oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone — the types of drugs the Utah doctor’s patients were hooked on — are the number one contributor to the rapid increase in drug overdose deaths.
For example, in Virginia, the Chief Medical Examiner’s 2007 report shows that the region’s 388 prescription drug-related deaths were more than double the 152 illegal drug-related deaths. Nearly as many people in the state died from prescription drug overdoses as were killed at the hands of others — there were 443 homicides.
In Florida, an analysis by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, found that deaths from prescription drugs in 2007 were three times the rate of deaths caused by illegal drugs.
But in some areas, particularly some rural regions of Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, deaths and injuries from prescription drug addiction and abuse are soaring to three and four times those caused by traditional illegal drugs like heroin, meth and cocaine.
In Cabell County, West Virginia recently, nearly 200 people gathered for a prescription drug addiction and abuse summit, among them local health care providers, law enforcement, prevention experts, social services members, students, educators and elected officials.
“This problem affects everyone from every walk of life,” said Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook. “It’s not a police department problem. It’s a human problem. We have to work together to get a handle on it.”
Back in Utah, a former physician now sits in prison, where hopefully he will contemplate the revolting extent of his actions. And the former female patients, whose trust he violated, now must deal not only with the reality of prescription drug addiction but also the personal degradation of prostitution. Medical drug detox, which minimizes the dangerous side effects of drug withdrawal, followed by lengthy drug rehab programs, will help these victims regain their lives.
Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.
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