Friday, December 03, 2004


In statistics released yesterday, the government reports that 40% of Americans are on drugs:
More than 40 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug and one-in-six takes at least three, the government reported Thursday.

"Americans are taking medicines that lower cholesterol and reduce the threat of heart disease, that help lift people out of debilitating depressions, and that keep diabetes in check," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said in a statement.

The annual report on Americans' health found that just over 44 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and 16.5 percent take at least three.

Those rates were up from 39 percent and 12 percent between 1988 and 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported....

The report said prescription drug use was increasing among people of all ages, and use increases with age.

Nearly half of all women were taking prescription drugs - 49 percent - compared to 39 percent of men.

Usage peaked at 84 percent for people aged 65 and over, with the top rate at 89 percent for black women over 65.

Even for people under age 18, however, nearly one-fourth - 24.1 percent - were taking at least one prescription medication. The rate rose to 34.7 percent between age 18 and 44; for those ages 45 to 64, it was 62.1 percent.

I certainly recognize the increasing life expectancy and that an aging nation will, on average, take more prescription medicine. But do one fourth of all children need to be on drugs and one third in my age group? Personally, I find these statistics highly disturbing. Particularly when it comes to mental health in children and women it seems the first option is drugs. I have a hard time accepting that as a wise choice.

No comments: