There has never been a time in our history when more Americans have been on drugs. According to the most recent government numbers, 24.6 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days. Of course the number of Americans taking legal drugs is actually far, far higher. According to Bloomberg, 46 percent of all Americans have taken at least one legal pharmaceutical drug within the last 30 days. In most instances, those legal drugs have been prescribed by doctors with the intention of helping people, but sometimes legal drugs are even more addictive than illegal drugs are. In particular, opioids have destroyed countless American lives over the past decade, and in so many cases those that got addicted originally got them legally. Today, Americans consume approximately 80 percent of the total global supply of opioids, and it is a major national crisis. But even if we were able to get rid of all the opioids, we would still be the most drugged up nation on the entire planet. We have become a nation of addicts, and the self-destructive path that we are on does not have a positive ending.
Whenever I come across a story about a really crazy crime that someone has committed, it almost always involves drugs. For example, just check out this doozy from West Virginia…
A stripper has been convicted of beheading her boyfriend’s disabled Star Wars-obsessed son after having sex with him. Roena Cheryl Mills, 43, was last Thursday found guilty of the first-degree murder of 29 year-old Bo White at a house in Lerona, West Virginia, in April 2018. Mills – who has the phrase ‘special kinda crazy’ tattooed across her chest – reportedly targeted Bo after having sex with him in return for drugs.
The stronger the addiction, the more desperate addicts become to get their next fix.
And very desperate people do very desperate things.
One of the first things that you will notice when drugs start taking over an area is that crime goes way up. Addicts are always looking for a way to fund their lifestyles, and retailers all over the nation are being hit particularly hard right now.
In fact, Home Depot is specifically blaming “the opioid crisis” for the epidemic of theft that they have been witnessing…
The company said organized criminals are stealing millions of dollars’ worth of goods from it and other retailers and storing the merchandise in warehouses. The theft, which retailers call shrink, has gotten so bad that it will narrow Home Depot’s operating profit margins next year, executives said during a meeting with analysts and investors.
“This is happening everywhere in retail,” Chief Executive Officer Craig Menear said. “We think this ties to the opioid crisis, but we’re not positive about that.”
More than 61,300 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2017, up from the previous year’s record of 54,800. (See the graphic.) That’s more than the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War. And it’s happening every year.
Opioids are directly or indirectly responsible for about 70 percent of those overdose deaths.
If you can believe it, the number of Americans dying from drug overdoses has actually more than doubled since 2010.
So many people never would have imagined that their doctors would prescribe them something that is highly addictive and highly dangerous, and once you are hooked it can be exceedingly difficult to escape.
Meth producers in Mexico are cranking up the speed of production, and the drug is making a big comeback in the U.S.
“Across the country, it’s probably still the largest problem we have in America,” Derek Maltz, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division, told Yahoo Finance. ”The Mexican cartels… they make it at levels that we’ve never seen before. So business is booming, the country’s addicted, and it’s really, really out of control.”
“We’re talking super labs,” another former DEA agent, Kevin Hartmann, told a local TV station in Texas. “Super labs that can produce multi hundred kilograms of methamphetamine.”
Meth is insanely addictive, and it will literally take over your life once you open the door.
“It’s like God tells you that if you take another breath, your children will die,” she said, shaking her head and trying to hold back tears. “You do everything you can not to take a breath. But eventually you do. That’s what it’s like. Your brain just screams at you.”
Thanks to decades of border security neglect, the big Mexican drug cartels are able to pump drugs into this country at a staggering rate.
Primarily imported from Mexico by major drug traffickers, “meth 2.0” is stronger, cheaper and far more plentiful than the old home-cooked variety. And with historic levels of funding from the federal government focused exclusively on fighting opioid addiction, states and counties are scrambling to find resources to combat this most recent drug plague.
Law enforcement officials are doing the best that they can to fight back, but without sufficient border security it is often a losing battle.
In South Dakota, they recently came up with a new slogan to show that they are trying to fight back: “Meth. We’re on it.”
A lot of people got a good laugh out of that, but unfortunately that slogan accurately describes what is happening in community after community all across the United States.
The ancient Greeks used the word “pharmakeia” to describe the mystical pull that these sorts of drugs can have on people. This is a crisis that just seems to get bigger with each passing year, and it is one of the primary causes for the social decay that we see all around us.
Those that have been snared by these drugs need our love and compassion, because they are truly victims of a relentless war against our nation. So many lives have already been destroyed, and we desperately need our politicians on the national level to start taking this threat a whole lot more seriously.
About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.
“2.6 million people die annually in low-and middle-income countries from medical errors, and that most of those deaths are related to misdiagnosis and administration of pharmaceutical products…Medication errors alone cost an estimated $42 billion (US dollars) annually. Unsafe surgical care procedures cause complications in up to 25% of patients resulting in 1 million deaths during or immediately after surgery annually…Four out of every ten patients are harmed during primary and ambulatory health care. The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines.” — The World Health Organization
Below is a medical online article that concluded that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. The study, published in 2016 in the British Medical Journal, was authored by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The authors calculated that medical errors accounted for > 250,000 deaths every year in the US, which made iatrogenic (= physician, drug or vaccine-caused) deaths the third leading cause of death in the US, surpassed only by #1 heart disease (647,457) and #2 cancer (599,108) (2018 CDC data).
It is important to note that medical errors and adverse effects from prescription drugs that have caused deaths or illnesses are rarely listed by physicians on death certificates or in rankings of causes of death or illnesses. The online article calls for better reporting by physicians.
Also be aware that the study – as has been the case of ALL such studies of causes of death, acute illnesses, chronic illnesses or adverse drug effects – did NOT evaluate vaccine-induced deaths or injuries, mainly because virtually every physician, in every country (where powerful, for-profit pharmaceutical/vaccine corporations control the practice of medicine, most medical school curricula and most major media outlets), consistently fails – or refuses to acknowledge – even the most obvious vaccine injuries or deaths as worthy of being reportable diseases or worthy of being listed in their differential diagnostic impressions, discharge diagnoses or death certifications.
Dr. Gary G. Kohls, December 4, 2019
Medical Error: The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US
By Martin A Makary and Michael Daniel
British Medical Journal, May 2016
The annual list of the most common causes of death in the United States, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), informs public awareness and national research priorities each year. The list is created using death certificates filled out by physicians, funeral directors, medical examiners, and coroners. However, a major limitation of the death certificate is that it relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death. As a result, causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured. The science of safety has matured to describe how communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death. We analyzed the scientific literature on medical error to identify its contribution to US deaths in relation to causes listed by the CDC.
Death from medical care itself
Medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient. Patient harm from medical error can occur at the individual or system level. The taxonomy of errors is expanding to better categorize preventable factors and events. We focus on preventable lethal events to highlight the scale of potential for improvement.
The role of error can be complex. While many errors are non-consequential, an error can end the life of someone with a long life expectancy or accelerate an imminent death. The case in the box shows how error can contribute to death. Moving away from a requirement that only reasons for death with an ICD code can be used on death certificates could better inform healthcare research and awareness priorities.
How big is the problem?
The most commonly cited estimate of annual deaths from medical error in the US—a 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report—is limited and outdated. The report describes an incidence of 44 000-98 000 deaths annually. This conclusion was not based on primary research conducted by the institute but on the 1984 Harvard Medical Practice Study and the 1992 Utah and Colorado Study. But as early as 1993, Leape, a chief investigator in the 1984 Harvard study, published an article arguing that the study’s estimate was too low, contending that 78% rather than 51% of the 180 000 iatrogenic deaths were preventable (some argue that all iatrogenic deaths are preventable). This higher incidence (about 140 400 deaths due to error) has been supported by subsequent studies which suggest that the 1999 IOM report underestimates the magnitude of the problem. A 2004 report of inpatient deaths associated with the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Patient Safety Indicators in the Medicare population estimated that 575 000 deaths were caused by medical error between 2000 and 2002, which is about 195 000 deaths a year (table 1). Similarly, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General examining the health records of hospital inpatients in 2008, reported 180 000 deaths due to medical error a year among Medicare beneficiaries alone. Using similar methods, Classen et al described a rate of 1.13%. If this rate is applied to all registered US hospital admissions in 2013 it translates to over 400 000 deaths a year, more than four times the IOM estimate.
Similarly, Landrigan et al reported that 0.6% of hospital admissions in a group of North Carolina hospitals over six years (2002-07) resulted in lethal adverse events and conservatively estimated that 63% were due to medical errors. Extrapolated nationally, this would translate into 134 581 inpatient deaths a year from poor inpatient care. Of note, none of the studies captured deaths outside inpatient care—those resulting from errors in care at home or in nursing homes and in outpatient care such as ambulatory surgery centers.
A literature review by James estimated preventable adverse events using a weighted analysis and described an incidence range of 210 000-400 000 deaths a year associated with medical errors among hospital patients. We calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251 454 a year using the studies reported since the 1999 IOM report and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013. We believe this understates the true incidence of death due to medical error because the studies cited rely on errors extractable in documented health records and include only inpatient deaths. Although the assumptions made in extrapolating study data to the broader US population may limit the accuracy of our figure, the absence of national data highlights the need for systematic measurement of the problem. Comparing our estimate to CDC rankings suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US (fig 1).
Human error is inevitable. Although we cannot eliminate human error, we can better measure the problem to design safer systems mitigating its frequency, visibility, and consequences. Strategies to reduce death from medical care should include three steps: making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted; having remedies at hand to rescue patients ; and making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account (fig 2). This multitier approach necessitates guidance from reliable data.
Currently, deaths caused by errors are unmeasured and discussions about prevention occur in limited and confidential forums, such as a hospital’s internal root cause analysis committee or a department’s morbidity and mortality conference. These forums review only a fraction of detected adverse events and the lessons learnt are not disseminated beyond the institution or department.
There are several possible strategies to estimate accurate national statistics for death due to medical error. Instead of simply requiring cause of death, death certificates could contain an extra field asking whether a preventable complication stemming from the patient’s medical care contributed to the death. An early experience asking physicians to comment on the potential preventability of inpatient deaths immediately after they occurred resulted in an 89% response rate. Another strategy would be for hospitals to carry out a rapid and efficient independent investigation into deaths to determine the potential contribution of error. A root cause analysis approach would enable local learning while using medicolegal protections to maintain anonymity. Standardized data collection and reporting processes are needed to build up an accurate national picture of the problem. Measuring the consequences of medical care on patient outcomes is an important prerequisite to creating a culture of learning from our mistakes, thereby advancing the science of safety and moving us closer towards the Institute of Medicine’s goal of creating learning health systems.
We have estimated that medical error is the third biggest cause of death in the US and therefore requires greater attention. Medical error leading to patient death is under-recognized in many other countries, including the UK and Canada. According to WHO, 117 countries code their mortality statistics using the ICD system as the primary indicator of health status. The ICD-10 coding system has limited ability to capture most types of medical error. At best, there are only a few codes where the role of error can be inferred, such as the code for anticoagulation causing adverse effects and the code for overdose events. When a medical error results in death, both the physiological cause of the death and the related problem with delivery of care should be captured.
To achieve more reliable healthcare systems, the science of improving safety should benefit from sharing data nationally and internationally, in the same way as clinicians share research and innovation about coronary artery disease, melanoma, and influenza. Sound scientific methods, beginning with an assessment of the problem, are critical to approaching any health threat to patients. The problem of medical error should not be exempt from this scientific approach. More appropriate recognition of the role of medical error in patient death could heighten awareness and guide both collaborations and capital investments in research and prevention.
Contributors and sources: MM is the developer of the operating room checklist, the precursor to the WHO surgery checklist. He is a surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins and author of Unaccountable, a book about transparency in healthcare. MD is the Rodda patient safety research fellow at Johns Hopkins and is focused on health services research. This article arose from discussions about the paucity of funding available to support quality and safety research relative to other causes of death. Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare that we have no competing interests. Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Martin A Makary is a professor, Michael Daniel is a research fellow, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
1 Moriyama IM, Loy RM, Robb-Smith AHT, et al. History of the statistical classification of diseases and causes of death. National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.
4 Reason J. Human error. Cambridge University Press, 1990. doi:10.1017/ CBO9781139062367.
5 Reason JT. Understanding adverse events: the human factor. In: Vincent C, ed. Clinical risk management: enhancing patient safety. BMJ, 2001:9-30.
6 Grober ED, Bohnen JM. Defining medical error. Can J Surg 2005;48:39-44.pmid:15757035.
7 Kohn LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS. To err is human: building a safer health system. National Academies Press, 1999.
8 Brennan TA, Leape LL, Laird NM, et al. Incidence of adverse events and negligence in hospitalized patients. Results of the Harvard Medical Practice Study I. N Engl J Med, 1991;324:370-6. doi:10.1056/NEJM199102073240604 pmid:1987460.
9 Thomas EJ, Studdert DM, Newhouse JP, et al. Costs of medical injuries in Utah and Colorado. Inquiry 1999;36:255-64.pmid:10570659.
10 Leape LL, Lawthers AG, Brennan TA, Johnson WG. Preventing medical injury. Qual Rev Bull 1993;19:144-9.pmid:8332330.
13 Classen D, Resar R, Griffin F, et al. Global “trigger tool” shows that adverse events in hospitals may be ten times greater than previously measured. Health Aff 2011;30:581-9doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0190.
14 Landrigan CP, Parry GJ, Bones CB, Hackbarth AD, Goldmann DA, Sharek PJ. Temporal trends in rates of patient harm resulting from medical care. N Engl J Med2010;363:2124-34. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1004404 pmid:21105794.
15 American Hospital Association. Fast facts on US hospitals. 2015.http://www.aha.org/ research/rc/stat-studies/fast-facts.shtml.
16 James JTA. A new, evidence-based estimate of patient harms associated with hospital care. J Patient Saf 2013;9:122-8. doi:10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182948a69 pmid:23860193.
17 Ghaferi AA, Birkmeyer JD, Dimick JB. Complications, failure to rescue, and mortality with major inpatient surgery in Medicare patients. Ann Surg 2009;250:1029-34. doi:10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181bef697 pmid:19953723.
18 Provenzano A, Rohan S, Trevejo E, Burdick E, Lipsitz S, Kachalia A. Evaluating inpatient mortality: a new electronic review process that gathers information from front-line providers. BMJ Qual Saf 2015;24:31-7. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003120 pmid:25332203.
19 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Continuous improvement and innovation in health and health care. Round table on value and science-driven health care. National Academies Press, 2011.
20 Office for National Statistics’ Death Certification Advisory Group. Guidance for doctors completing medical certificates of cause of death in England and Wales. 2010.
Jennifer Jaynes, USA Today bestselling author of Malice and other novels exposing the vaccine deep state, was found shot to death on Monday, November 25th, according to media reports (see links below).
Jaynes was a celebrated author whose books achieved USA Today bestseller status. Her novels showcased the criminality, child abuse and deep-rooted fraud of the vaccine industry.
Jaynes was reportedly found with two gunshots to the head, according to AmarketNews.com. (Not one gunshot, but two.) The death was reportedly ruled a “suicide,” which begs the question of how a person can shoot themselves in the head twice.
Social media channels and contact details for Jennifer Jaynes
Our prayers go out to the family members of Jennifer Jaynes, who was a courageous and brilliant researcher and writer. We are not yet aware of any organized effort to investigate her death or help raise funds for her family, but here are some publicly available addresses that may help you organize or share the word about such efforts:
We do not publish this information to inconvenience Jaynes’ publisher or agent, of course: We hope to help spur a deeper investigation into her death, given all the suspicious deaths of individuals who have courageously spoken out against the “vaccine deep state” which quite literally consists of murderers and execution squads that seek out and silence individuals who pose a threat to the controlled vaccine narrative.
Ironically, the very description of the criminal vaccine industry that Jaynes wrote about in her own books is reality, not fiction. And many Jaynes fans believe they came for her and killed her.
As a targeted whistleblower and investigative journalist myself, I have been forced to pursue thousands of hours of pistol, rifle and shotgun combat training over the last decade in order to ensure my own safety against the vaccine criminal cartels. I am armed at all times and cannot speak in public without hiring a minimum of four armed security personnel to watch my back.
It appears that Jennifer was about to launch a much larger media project, as she is the owner of Ink Bug Media which has a web domain that’s not yet populated with content: InkBugMedia.com
Jaynes’ fan base is, of course, horrified to discover that this talented, courageous woman has been killed. Jaynes had a very loyal following of readers and fans who spoke very highly of her work… and honored her commitment to exploring the truth about the criminal vaccine industry, even if it meant writing so-called “fiction novels” to get the word out.
As one Amazon.com reader wrote:
My oldest daughter and her younger brother both had reactions to vaccines. Reading about Suzie almost had me hyperventilating. The scenario was nearly identical to what happened with my oldest daughter. The seizures that began after receiving a “necessary” baby shot have never gone away… I don’t think what she wrote as fiction is very far from the truth in regards to pharmaceutical companies today. Just listen to a few drug commercials and really hear the long list of side effects.
The book received rave reviews from readers who found its story line to be compelling and rooted in truths about the criminal vaccine industry. Other readers wrote:
This book, Malice, was to date, even her best novel. I was drawn into this book from page one to the final page. A great psychological thriller that takes you on a journey that is is so heart pounding, you can’t wait to read what happens next. This story is written in a way that the storyline is believable and the material is well researched. There was a twist I didn’t see coming, and that was a game changer!! I could not put this book down! Superb novel!!
This was the best book I’ve read in a long time! As a physician, I could so relate to this doctor just starting out, whose ideals come in conflict with corporate medicine and pharmaceutical corruption. The author presents some shocking truths about the practice of modern medicine, which makes this a must-read for anyone working in the medical field, or for anyone who places their trust in those hands. I could not put this book down, and was rewarded with some unexpected plot turns as the story unfolded. Brava, Jennifer Jaynes! So well done!
Jennifer Jaynes captivates her audience with suspense. Every Jennifer Jaynes book including Malice I had read within a few days because I was so engaged in her writing. I appreciate the research that she puts in to her writing. Even though her writing is fictional she includes truths about what is encountered in our society. In Malice she informs her readers about the truth of the drug industry. Well done Jennifer!
Prayers for Jennifer Jaynes
We pray for Jennifer Jaynes and her surviving relatives, and we hope that her novels will reach an ever-expanding number of readers and fans who realize that the criminal cartel Jaynes is describing in her novels isn’t fiction at all. It’s the reality of the Big Pharma drug cartels and their vaccine deep state “black hat” operations that engage in murder-for-hire.
It isn’t fiction. It’s the vaccine industry’s business model.
Jaynes’ death comes on the heels of over 75 other holistic doctors, naturopaths and wellness educators who have died under extremely mysterious circumstances over the last three years or so. Erin Elizabeth of HealthNutNews.com has exhaustively documented many of these mysterious deaths in her website articles and public speeches.
To all holistic medicine practitioners: Arm yourself and learn to defend your life against the violence of the vaccine industry. If you aren’t legally carrying a pistol with you at all times, you are not prepared for the reality of the vaccine industry’s execution squads.
Even Americans with insurance are not immune from the specter of medical bills. While the ACA limited deductibles and out-of-pocket payments, many insurance plans still require consumers to pay tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Similarly concerning, many Americans may incur bills ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from so-called surprise bills.
Avoiding needed medical care often has implications for people’s health and well-being. Of course, it may also ultimately force them to seek care in more expensive settings, like emergency departments or at advanced stages of the disease.
Big Pharma’s business model is working great…for them. They are racking in billions getting people hooked on their drugs and then hiking the prices up 667% in some cases.
According to ARS Technica, new drug-pricing data is showing massive and stunning hikes. One drug’s price has risen by a whopping 667%. This price hike is well over the cost of inflation. By law, drug makers are required to report their price increases quarterly. This is the first report from the new law and includes data on drugs that had price increases of 16% or more over their January 2017 prices. Drugmakers are also required to provide reasons as to why they’re driving up costs.
A generic liquid form of Prozac saw a great increase in price. Fluoxetine, the generic Prozac drug, went from $9 to $69 just in the first quarter of 2019—a 667% increase. The reason given was new production costs. Likewise, another generic medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) called guanfacine, went from about $29 to $87 in the first quarter of 2019, a more than 200% increase. Guanfacine’s maker, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, also listed production costs as a reason for the hike, as well as “market conditions.”
This data shows that even when people are concerned about the cost of drugs, Big Pharma doesn’t care. Instead of attempting to make their products better, less addictive, and cheaper, they make more money by doing the opposite and convincing people these drugs are necessary.
Anthony Wright, the executive director of the California advocacy group Health Access told KHNthat this is a problem. “Even at a time when there is a microscope on this industry, [drug makers are] going ahead with drug price increases for hundreds of drugs well above the rate of inflation,” Wright said.
The drug price reporting law also faces challenges. The drug-maker industry group, PhRMA, has filed a lawsuit to overturn California’s law and it’s backed with the lobbying efforts of Big Pharma and their deep pockets. Earlier this month, the state of Nevada issued fines on drug makers for failing to comply with its drug pricing law, which passed in 2017.
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma steered up to $13 billion in profits to the company’s controlling Sackler family, according to U.S. states opposing efforts to halt lawsuits alleging the company and its owners helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic.
The wealthy Sacklers received the money from Purdue during an unspecified time frame, according to court documents and portions of a deposition filed in the drugmaker’s bankruptcy proceedings this week.
Purdue ultimately transferred $12 billion or $13 billion to the family, a company adviser testified in the deposition. The deposition, taken last week, was revealed in court filings on Thursday and Friday.
The financial figure is significantly larger than the roughly $4 billion previous lawsuits have alleged the Sacklers took out of Purdue, and was cited as part of coordinated legal broadsides this week against the company’s attempts to shield itself and the family from sprawling opioid litigation.
Many states want the Sacklers to contribute more than an initial $3 billion they have pledged toward resolving the lawsuits as part of a settlement Purdue has proposed.
Attorneys general from 24 states and the District of Columbia on Friday objected to Purdue’s September request that a U.S. bankruptcy judge halt more than 2,600 lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages, and they raised financial transfers to the Sacklers in their legal arguments.
So, too, did lawyers representing 500 cities, counties and Native American tribes, according to an earlier court filing.
“The distribution numbers do not reflect the fact that many billions of dollars from that amount were paid in taxes and reinvested in businesses that will be sold as part of the proposed settlement,” said Daniel S. Connolly, a lawyer for family members facing lawsuits who are related to the late Raymond Sackler, one of the modern Purdue’s co-founders, in a statement.
A spokesman for relatives of another deceased company co-founder, Mortimer Sackler, who also face litigation, had no immediate comment.
Purdue had no immediate comment on the payments. The company and family have denied allegations they contributed to the U.S. opioid crisis.
The lawsuits, largely brought by state and local governments, allege Purdue and the Sacklers contributed to a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people since 1999 by aggressively marketing opioids while downplaying their addiction and overdose risks.
“The Sacklers are billionaires, they are not bankrupt,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, among the officials opposing Purdue’s efforts to halt lawsuits, told Reuters in an interview. “They should not be allowed to use the filing to shield their assets.”
Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after reaching a deal it valued at more than $10 billion that would resolve the bulk of the cases against the company and the Sacklers.
The company contends it needs the litigation against it and the Sacklers paused for about nine months so it can attempt to settle with hold-out plaintiffs and preserve money that would otherwise be spent fighting the cases.
Purdue said the costs of continued litigation were “staggering,” putting its legal expenses this year at nearly $250 million.
“Without a stay of the litigation, only lawyers will win,” the company said in a statement.
Typically, a bankruptcy filing triggers an “automatic stay” of all litigation without a specific order from a judge.
However, Purdue is seeking an injunction to stop the lawsuits because the Sacklers did not seek bankruptcy protection and there is an exception to the automatic stay for government actions that seek to enforce laws related to public health and safety.
Healey said the exception gives the states a strong argument to move forward with their cases against the OxyContin maker. “We’re exercising our police power and have the right to do so,” she said.
The Sacklers have offered to cede control of Purdue to the plaintiffs and contribute $3 billion, and potentially more through the sale of another pharmaceutical business they own, toward the proposed settlement. Purdue is also in discussions to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe that could carry a financial penalty.
Healey said the Sacklers should increase their contribution and she criticized the structure of the deal, which is premised in part on the continued sale of OxyContin, a drug that critics say helped launch the nation’s opioid addiction crisis.
In the U.S., an estimated 17.3 million American adults (7.1% of the adult population), experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.1 The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25.2 However, not only is there evidence that depression is vastly overdiagnosed, but there’s also evidence showing it’s routinely mistreated.
With regard to overdiagnosis, one 2013 study3 found only 38.4% of participants with clinician-identified depression actually met the DSM-4 criteria for a major depressive episode, and only 14.3% of seniors 65 and older met the criteria.
As for treatment, the vast majority are prescribed antidepressant drugs, despite the fact there’s virtually no evidence to suggest they provide meaningful help, and plenty of evidence showing the harms are greater than patients are being told.
According to a 2017 study,4 1 in 6 Americans between the ages of 18 and 85 were on psychiatric drugs, most of them antidepressants, and 84.3% reported long-term use (three years or more). Out of 242 million U.S. adults, 12% were found to have filled one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant, specifically, in 2013.
According to data5 presented by a watchdog group, hundreds of thousands of toddlers are also being medicated with powerful psychiatric drugs, raising serious ethical questions, along with questions about the future mental and physical health of these children.
Recent studies are also shedding much needed light on the addictive nature of many antidepressants, and demonstrate that the benefits of these drugs have been overblown while their side effects — including suicidal ideation — and have been downplayed and ignored for decades, placing patients at unnecessary risk.
The Chemical Imbalance Myth
One researcher responsible for raising awareness about these important mental health issues is professor Peter C. Gøtzsche, a Danish physician-researcher and outspoken critic of the drug industry (as his book, “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare,”6 suggests).
Over the past several years, Gøtzsche has published a number of scientific papers on antidepressants and media articles and a book discussing the findings. In a June 28, 2019 article,7 Gøtzsche addresses “the harmful myth” about chemical imbalances — a debunked hypothesis that continues to drive the use of antidepressants to this day. He writes, in part:8
“Psychiatrists routinely tell their patients that they are ill because they have a chemical imbalance in the brain and they will receive a drug that fixes this …
Last summer, one of my researchers and I collected information about depression from 39 popular websites in 10 countries, and we found that 29 (74%) websites attributed depression to a chemical imbalance or claimed that antidepressants could fix or correct that imbalance …
It has never been possible to show that common mental disorders start with a chemical imbalance in the brain. The studies that have claimed this are all unreliable.9
A difference in dopamine levels, for example, between patients with schizophrenia and healthy people cannot tell us anything about what started the psychosis … [I]f a lion attacks us, we get terribly frightened and produce stress hormones, but this does not prove that it was the stress hormones that made us scared.
People with psychoses have often suffered traumatic experiences in the past, so we should see these traumas as contributing causal factors and not reduce suffering to some biochemical imbalance that, if it exists at all, is more likely to be the result of the psychosis rather than its cause.10
The myth about chemical imbalance is very harmful. It makes people believe there is something seriously wrong with them, and sometimes they are even told that it is hereditary.
The result of this is that patients continue to take harmful drugs, year after year, perhaps even for the entirety of their lives. They fear what would happen if they stopped, particularly when the psychiatrists have told them that their situation is like patients with diabetes needing insulin.”
Real Cause of Depression Is Typically Ignored
According to Gøtzsche, there is no known mental health issue that is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. In many cases, the true cause is unknown, but “very often, it is a response to unhealthy living conditions,” he writes.11
He also cites the book,12 “Anxiety — The Inside Story: How Biological Psychiatry Got It Wrong,” written by Dr. Niall McLaren, in which the author shows that anxiety is a major factor in and trigger of most psychiatric disorders.
“A psychiatrist I respect highly, who only uses psychiatric drugs in rare cases … has said that most people are depressed because they live depressing lives,” Gøtzsche writes.
“No drug can help them live better lives. It has never been shown in placebo-controlled trials that a psychiatric drug can improve people’s lives — e.g., help them return to work, improve their social relationships or performance at school, or prevent crime and delinquency. The drugs worsen people’s lives, at least in the long run.13“
Gøtzsche rightfully points out that antipsychotic drugs create chemical imbalances; they don’t fix them. As a group, they’re also somewhat misnamed, as they do not address psychotic states. Rather, they are tranquilizers, rendering the patient passive. However, calming the patient down does not actually help them heal the underlying trauma that, in many cases, is what triggered the psychosis in the first place.
As noted in one 2012 meta-analysis14 of studies looking at childhood trauma — including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, parental death and bullying — and subsequent risk of psychosis:
“There were significant associations between adversity and psychosis across all research designs … Patients with psychosis were 2.72 times more likely to have been exposed to childhood adversity than controls … The estimated population attributable risk was 33% (16%-47%). These findings indicate that childhood adversity is strongly associated with increased risk for psychosis.”
Economy of Influence in Psychiatry
A related article,15 written by investigative journalist Robert Whitaker in 2017, addresses the “economy of influence” driving the use of antidepressant drugs in psychiatric treatment — and the “social injury” that results. As noted by Whitaker, mental disorders were initially categorized according to a disease model in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association.
“We’re all familiar with the second ‘economy of influence’ that has exerted a corrupting influence on psychiatry — pharmaceutical money — but I believe the guild influence is really the bigger problem,” he writes.
Whitaker details the corruption within the APA in his book “Psychiatry Under the Influence,” one facet of which is “the false story told to the public about drugs that fixed chemical imbalances in the brain.” Other forms of corrupt behavior include:
The biased designs of clinical trials to achieve a predetermined result
Spinning results to support preconceived conclusions
Hiding poor long-term outcomes
Expanding diagnostic categories for the purpose of commercial gain
Creating clinical trial guidelines that promote drug use
In his article, Whitaker goes on to dissect a 2017 review16 published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which Whitaker claims “defends the profession’s current protocols for prescribing antipsychotics, which includes their regular long-term use.”
As Whitaker points out, there’s ample evidence showing antipsychotic drugs worsen outcomes over the long term in those diagnosed with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
The review in question, led by Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, was aimed at answering persistent questions raised by the mounting of such evidence. Alas, their conclusions dismissed concerns that the current drug paradigm might be doing more harm than good.
“In a subsequent press release and a video for a Medscape commentary, Lieberman has touted it as proving that antipsychotics provide a great benefit, psychiatry’s protocols are just fine, and that the critics are ‘nefarious’ individuals intent on doing harm,” Whitaker writes.17
The Scientific Bias of Psychiatric Treatment
Five of the eight researchers listed on the review have financial ties to drug companies, three are speakers for multiple drug companies and all eight are psychiatrists, “and thus there is a ‘guild’ interest present in this review, given that they are investigating whether one of their treatments is harmful over the long-term,” Whitaker notes.18
Not surprisingly, the review ignored studies showing negative effects, including studies showing antipsychotics have a detrimental effect on brain volume. What’s more, while withdrawal studies support the use of antipsychotics as maintenance therapy over the long term, these studies do not address how the drugs affect patients’ long-term health.
“They simply reveal that once a person has stabilized on the medication, going abruptly off the drug is likely to lead to relapse,” Whitaker writes.19 “The focus on long-term outcomes, at least as presented by critics, provides evidence that psychiatry should adopt a selective-use protocol.
If first-episode patients are not immediately put on antipsychotics, there is a significant percentage that will recover, and this ‘spontaneous recovery’ puts them onto a good long-term course. As for patients treated with the medications, the goal would be to minimize long-term use, as there is evidence that antipsychotics, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes.”
Vast Majority of Psychotic Patients Are Harmed, Not Helped
In his deconstruction of Lieberman’s review, Whitaker details how biased thinking influenced the review’s conclusions. It’s a rather long article, but well worth reading through if you want to understand how a scientific review can be skewed to accord with a preconceived view.
Details I want to highlight, however, include findings relating to the number needed to treat (NNT) and the percentage of patients harmed by the routine use of antipsychotic drugs as a first-line treatment.
As noted by Whitaker, while placebo-controlled studies reveal the effectiveness of a drug compared to an inert substance, they do not effectively reveal the ratio of benefit versus harm among the patient population. NNT refers to the number of patients that have to take the drug in order to get one positive response.
A meta-analysis cited in Lieberman’s review had an NNT of 6, meaning that six patients must take the drug in order for one to benefit from the treatment. The remaining five patients — 83% — are potentially harmed by the treatment. As noted by Whitaker:20
“The point … is this: reviewers seeking to promote their drug treatment as effective will look solely at whether it produces a superior response to placebo. This leads to a one-size-fits-all protocol.
Reviewers that want to assess the benefit-harm effect of the treatment on all patients will look at NNT numbers. In this instance, the NNT calculations argue for selective use of the drugs …”
Antidepressants Are Not Beneficial in the Long Term
While typically not as destructive as antipsychotics, antidepressants also leave a trail of destruction in their wake. A systematic review21 by Gøtzsche published in 2019 found studies assessing harm from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fail to provide a clear and accurate picture of the harms, and therefore “cannot be used to investigate persistent harms of antidepressants.”
In this review, Gøtzsche and colleagues sought to assess “harms of SSRIs … that persist after end of drug intake.” The primary outcomes included mortality, functional outcomes, quality of life and core psychiatric events. In all, 22 papers on 12 SSRI trials were included. Gøtzsche found several distinct problems with these trials. For starters, only two of the 12 trials had a drop-out rate below 20%.
Gøtzsche and his team also note that “Outcome reporting was less thorough during follow-up than for the intervention period and only two trials maintained the blind during follow-up.” Importantly, though, all of the 22 papers came to the conclusion that “the drugs were not beneficial in the long term.”
Another important finding was that all trials either “reported harms outcomes selectively or did not report any,” and “Only two trials reported on any of our primary outcomes (school attendance and number of heavy drinking days).”
Antidepressants Are More Addictive Than Admitted
In a June 4, 2019, article,22 “The Depression Pill Epidemic,” Gøtzsche writes that antidepressant drugs:
“… do not have relevant effects on depression; they increase the risk of suicide and violence; and they make it more difficult for patients to live normal lives.23 They should therefore be avoided.
We have been fooled by the drug industry, corrupt doctors on industry payroll, and by our drug regulators.24 Surely, many patients and doctors believe the pills are helpful, but they cannot know this, because people tend to become much better with time even if they are not treated.25
This is why we need placebo-controlled trials to find out what the drugs do to people. Unfortunately, virtually all trials are flawed, exaggerate the benefits of the drugs, and underestimate their harms.26“
Addictive Nature of Antidepressants Skews Results
In his article,27 Gøtzsche reviews several of the strategies used in antidepressant drug trials to exaggerate benefits and underestimate the harms. One little-known truth that helps skew study results in the drug’s favor is the fact that antidepressants tend to be far more addictive than officially admitted. He explains how this conveniently hides the skewing of results as follows:28
“Virtually all patients in the trials are already on a drug similar to the one being tested against placebo. Therefore, as the drugs are addictive, some of the patients will get abstinence symptoms … when randomized to placebo …
These abstinence symptoms are very similar to those patients experience when they try to stop benzodiazepines. It is no wonder that new drugs outperform the placebo in patients who have experienced harm as a result of cold turkey effects.
To find out how long patients need to continue taking drugs, so-called maintenance (withdrawal) studies have been carried out, but such studies also are compromised by cold turkey effects. Leading psychiatrists don’t understand this, or they pretend they don’t.
Most interpret the maintenance studies of depression pills to mean that these drugs are very effective at preventing new episodes of depression and that patients should therefore continue taking the drugs for years or even for life.”
Scientific Literature Supports Reality of User Complaints
Over the years, several studies on the dependence and withdrawal reactions associated with SSRIs and other psychiatric drugs have been published, including the following:
• In a 2011 paper29 in the journal Addiction, Gøtzsche and his team looked at the difference between dependence and withdrawal reactions by comparing benzodiazepines and SSRIs. Benzodiazepines are known to cause dependence, while SSRIs are said to not be addictive.
Despite such claims, Gøtzsche’s team found that “discontinuation symptoms were described with similar terms for benzodiazepines and SSRIs and were very similar for 37 of 42 identified symptoms described as withdrawal reactions,” which led them to conclude that:
“Withdrawal reactions to selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors appear to be similar to those for benzodiazepines; referring to these reactions as part of a dependence syndrome in the case of benzodiazepines, but not selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors, does not seem rational.”
• Two years later, in 2013, Gøtzsche’s team published a paper30 in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, in which they analyzed “communications from drug agencies about benzodiazepine and SSRI withdrawal reactions over time.”
By searching the websites of drug agencies in Europe, the U.S., UK and Denmark, they found that it took years before drug regulators finally acknowledged the reality of benzodiazepine dependence and SSRI withdrawal reactions and began informing prescribers and patients about these risks.
A significant part of the problem, they found, is that drug agencies rely on spontaneous reporting of adverse effects, which “leads to underestimation and delayed information about the problems.”
In conclusion, they state that “Given the experience with the benzodiazepines, we believe the regulatory bodies should have required studies from the manufacturers that could have elucidated the dependence potential of the SSRIs before marketing authorization was granted.”
• A 2019 paper31 in the Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences journal notes “It took almost two decades after the SSRIs entered the market for the first systematic review to be published.” It also points out that reviews claiming withdrawal effects to be mild, brief in duration and rare “was at odds with the sparse but growing evidence base.”
In reality, “What the scientific literature reveals is in close agreement with the thousands of service user testimonies available online in large forums. It suggests that withdrawal reactions are quite common, that they may last from a few weeks to several months or even longer, and that they are often severe.”
Antidepressants Increase Your Risk of Suicide and Violence
In his June 4 article,32 Gøtzsche also stresses the fact that antidepressants can be lethal. In one of his studies,33 published in 2016, he found antidepressants “double the occurrence of events that can lead to suicide and violence in healthy adult volunteers.”
Other research34 has shown they “increase aggression in children and adolescents by a factor of 2 to 3 — an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on depression pills,” Gøtzsche writes.
In middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence, the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) duloxetine, which is also used to treat incontinence, has been shown to double the risk of a psychotic episode and increase the risk of violence and suicide four to five times,35 leading the authors to conclude that harms outweighed the benefits.
“I have described the dirty tricks and scientific dishonesty involved when drug companies and leading psychiatrists try convincing us that these drugs protect against suicide and other forms of violence,36“ Gøtzsche writes.37“Even the FDA was forced to give in when it admitted in 2007, at least indirectly, that depression pills can cause suicide and madness at any age.
There is no doubt that the massive use of depression pills is harmful. In all countries where this relationship has been examined, the sharp rise in disability pensions due to psychiatric disorders has coincided with the rise of psychiatric drug usage, and depression pills are those which are used the most by far. This is not what one would expect if the drugs were helpful.”
Drugmaker Lied About Paxil’s Suicide Risk
In 2017, Wendy Dolin was awarded $3 million by a jury in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil. Dolin’s husband committed suicide six days after taking his first dose of a Paxil generic, and evidence brought forth in the case convincingly showed his suicide was the result of the drug, not emotional stress or mental illness.38
The legal team behind that victory, Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, is also representing other victims of Paxil-induced violence and death. At the time, attorney R. Brent Wisner said:39
“The Dolin verdict sent a clear message to GSK and other drug manufacturers that hiding data and manipulating science will not be tolerated … If you create a drug and know that it poses serious risks, regardless of whether consumers use the brand name or generic version of that drug, you have a duty to warn.”
GSK’s own clinical placebo-controlled trials actually revealed subjects on Paxil had nearly nine times the risk of attempting or committing suicide than the placebo group. To gain drug approval, GSK misrepresented this shocking data, falsely reporting a higher number of suicide attempts in the placebo group and deleting some of the suicide attempts in the drug group.
An internal GSK analysis of its suicide data also showed that “patients taking Paxil were nearly seven times more likely to attempt suicide than those on placebo,” Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman reports, adding:40
“Jurors in the Dolin trial also heard from psychiatrist David Healy, one of the world’s foremost experts on Paxil and drugs in its class … Healy told the jurors that Paxil and drugs like it can create in some people a state of extreme ’emotional turmoil’ and intense inner restlessness known as akathisia …
‘People have described it like a state worse than death. Death will be a blessed relief. I want to jump out of my skin,’ Dr. Healy said. Healthy volunteer studies have found that akathisia can happen even to people with no psychiatric condition who take the drug …
Another Paxil side effect known to increase the risk of suicide is emotional blunting … apathy or emotional indifference … [E]motional blunting, combined with akathisia, can lead to a mental state in which an individual has thoughts of harming themselves or others, but is ‘numbed’ to the consequences of their actions. Drugs in the Paxil class can also cause someone to ‘go psychotic, become delirious,’ Dr. Healy explained.”
Hundreds of Thousands of Toddlers on Psychiatric Drugs
Considering the many serious psychological and physical risks associated with psychiatric drugs, it’s shocking to learn that hundreds of thousands of American toddlers are on them. In 2014, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a mental health watchdog group, highlighted data showing that in 2013:41
274,000 babies aged 1 and younger were given psychiatric drugs — Of these, 249,699 were on anti-anxiety meds like Xanax; 26,406 were on antidepressants such as Prozac or Paxil, 1,422 were on ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, and 654 were on antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa
In the toddler category (2- to 3-year-olds), 318,997 were on anti-anxiety drugs, 46,102 were on antidepressants, 10,000 were prescribed ADHD drugs and 3,760 were on antipsychotics
Among children aged 5 and younger, 1,080,168 were on psychiatric drugs
These are shocking figures that challenge logic. How and why are so many children, babies even, on addictive and dangerously mind-altering medications? Considering these statistics are 6 years old, chances are they’re even higher today. Just what will happen to all of these youngsters as they grow up? As mentioned in the article:42
“When it comes to the psychiatric drugs used to treat ADHD, these are referred to as ‘kiddie cocaine’ for a reason. Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall (amphetamine) and Concerta are all considered by the federal government as Schedule II drugs — the most addictive.
ADHD drugs also have serious side effects such as agitation, mania, aggressive or hostile behavior, seizures, hallucinations, and even sudden death, according to the National Institutes of Health …
As far as antipsychotics, antianxiety drugs and antidepressants, the FDA and international drug regulatory agencies cite side effects including, but not limited to, psychosis, mania, suicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even sudden death.”
Children Increasingly Prescribed Psych Drugs Off-Label
Making matters even worse, recent research shows the number of children being prescribed medication off-label is also on the rise. An example offered by StudyFinds.org,43 which reported the findings, is “a doctor recommending antidepressant medication for ADHD symptoms.”
The study,44 published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at trends in off-label drug prescriptions made for children under the age of 18 by office-based physicians between 2006 and 2015. Findings revealed:
“Physicians ordered ≥1 off-label systemic drug at 18.5% of visits, usually (74.6%) because of unapproved conditions. Off-label ordering was most common proportionally in neonates (83%) and in absolute terms among adolescents (322 orders out of 1000 visits).
Off-label ordering was associated with female sex, subspecialists, polypharmacy, and chronic conditions. Rates and reasons for off-label orders varied considerably by age.
Relative and absolute rates of off-label orders rose over time. Among common classes, off-label orders for antihistamines and several psychotropics increased over time …
US office-based physicians have ordered systemic drugs off label for children at increasing rates, most often for unapproved conditions, despite recent efforts to increase evidence and drug approvals for children.”
The researchers were taken aback by the findings, and expressed serious concern over this trend. While legal, many of the drugs prescribed off-label have not been properly tested to ensure safety and efficacy for young children and adolescents.
As noted by senior author Daniel Horton, assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric rheumatologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “We don’t always understand how off-label medications will affect children, who don’t always respond to medications as adults do. They may not respond as desired to these drugs and could experience harmful effects.”
Educate Yourself About the Risks
If you, your child, or another family member is on a psychiatric drug, I urge you to educate yourself about the true risks, and to consider switching to safer alternatives. When it comes to children, I cannot fathom a situation in which a toddler would need a psychiatric drug and I find it shocking that there are so many doctors out there that, based on a subjective evaluation, would deem a psychiatric drug necessary.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone