Prescription Drugs – Are We Overusing Them?

Prescription Drugs DilemmaDo we abuse prescription drugs? Are there alternative solutions to using prescriptions?

What Does Research Tell Us About Our Prescription Use?
Some individuals need prescriptions for severe medical symptoms in order to stay alive. Each person’s needs differ medically. However, Medical News Today recently reported that in 2011, doctors wrote 4.02 billion prescriptions for drugs in America. That averages out to about 13 prescriptions for every living man, woman and child. How could this be possible? Do we need ALL of these prescriptions?

According to a report from the July 26, 2000, Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara Starfield, a respected public-health researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health concluded that medical drugs were killing Americans at the rate of 106,000 per year.

Teenage Drug Abuse

Marijuana and prescription pain medications are the top two leading causes of drug abuse among teenagers.

Alternative therapies are available including taking responsibility for our health by getting regular exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition. Are we as a nation being responsible…or are we just looking for a quick fix?

Veteran Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescriptions to veterans for Vicodin (and generic forms) have soared since the Iraq and Afgahanistan wars.

Why Are Opiods Dangerous and What Are They?
Research statistics tell us that more than seven million people abused prescription drugs this past year.  Out of those seven million people,  more than five million people abused pain relievers. The drugs that are of most concern are opioids. Opioids are any morphine-like synthetic narcotic that produces the same effects as drugs derived from the opium poppy (opiates), such as sedation, pain relief,  constipation and respiratory depression from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million, or about 36% increase. The most potent opioids are morphine, meperidine, methadone; other opioids include hydromorphine–Dilaudid®, codeine, oxycodone–Percodan®, propoxyphene–Darvon®,  Naloxone–Narcan®, and Pentazocine–Talwin.®

Drug Abuse by Ethnicity

The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health determined that Native American and Alaskan Native populations lead all other ethnic groups in misuse of prescription-type drugs (psychotherapeutics).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), unintentional death from overdose of opioids  has quadrupled steadily since 1999 and now outnumbers those deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.  Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million, or about 36% increase.

What are the Alternatives?
There are many holistic alternatives to prescription drug use.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance does not recommend that all prescription drugs be stopped, because some people need prescriptions in order to survive, however, MBHA does support investigating alternative approaches to prescriptions, when it is the healthy choice.  Here are a few of the holistic health methods available to people who are seeking alternatives to prescription drugs.

Acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture needles in woman’s spine

  1. Acupressure
  2. Acupuncture
  3. Affirmative prayer
  4. Alexander Technique
  5. Apitherapy
  6. Applied kinesiology
  7. Aromatherapy
  8. Ashtanga Yoga
  9. Astrology
  10. Auriculotherapy
  11. Autogenic Training
  12. Autosuggestion
  13. Ayurveda
  14. Bach Flower Therapy
  15. Balneotherapy
  16. Bates Method
  17. Bikram Yoga
  18. Biodanza
  19. Bioresonance therapy
  20. Blood irradiation therapies
  21. Body work (alternative medicine) or Massage therapy
  22. Body-Based Manipulative Therapies
  23. Chelation therapy
  24. Chinese food therapy
  25. Chinese martial arts
  26. Chinese medicine
  27. Chinese pulse diagnosis
  28. Chiropractic
  29. Chromotherapy
  30. Coding (therapy)
  31. Coin rubbing
  32. Colloidal silver therapy
  33. Colon hydrotherapy
  34. Color Therapy
  35. Craniosacral Therapy
  36. Creative Visualization
  37. Crystal healing

    Cupping Treatment

    Chinese cupping treatment on young man.

  38. Cupping
  39. Dietary supplements
  40. Dowsing
  41. Ear Candling
  42. Electromagnetic therapy
  43. Energy therapies
  44. Faith healing
  45. Fasting
  46. Feldenkrais method
  47. Feng shui
  48. Five Elements
  49. Flower essence therapy
  50. Functional medicine
  51. Gua Sha
  52. Hair analysis (alternative medicine)

    Yoga Poses

    Yoga Arsanas Poses for Beginners

  53. Hatha yoga
  54. Hawaiian massage
  55. Herbal therapy
  56. Herbalism
  57. Herbology
  58. Holistic living
  59. Holistic medicine
  60. Home remedies
  61. Homeopathy
  62. Hypnosis
  63. Hypnotherapy
  64. Iridology
  65. Isopathy
  66. Iyengar Yoga
  67. Jin Shin Jyutsu
  68. Journaling
  69. Kampo
  70. Kundalini Yoga
  71. Light therapy
  72. Macrobiotic lifestyle
  73. Magnetic healing and therapy

    Therapeutic massage

    Therapeutic massage is an effective alternative to prescription drugs.

  74. Manipulative therapy
  75. Massage therapy
  76. Medical acupuncture
  77. Medical intuition
  78. Meditation
  79. Mega-vitamin therapy
  80. Meridian (Chinese medicine)
  81. Mind–body intervention
  82. Mindfulness meditation
  83. Moxibustion
  84. Music therapy
  85. Natural Health
  86. Natural therapies
  87. Naturopathic medicine
  88. Neuro-Linguistic Programming
  89. New Thought

    Healthy diet

    Studies show that a change in diet and nutrition often can help to reduce or eliminate pain.

  90. Nutritional healing
  91. Nutritional supplements
  92. Orgonomy
  93. Orthomolecular medicine
  94. Osteomyology
  95. Osteopathy
  96. Pilates
  97. Polarity therapy
  98. Power yoga
  99. Pranic healing
  100. Prayer
  101. Psychic surgery
  102. Qi
  103. Qigong
  104. Radionics
  105. Rebirthing

    Foot reflexology massage chart

    Foot reflexology massage chart

  106. Reflexology
  107. Reiki (Seichim and Sekhem)
  108. Rolfing
  109. Seitai
  110. Self-hypnosis
  111. Shiatsu
  112. Siddha Medicine
  113. Siddha Yoga
  114. Sivananda Yoga
  115. Sonopuncture
  116. Sound therapy
  117. Spiritual Mind Treatment
  118. Support groups
  119. T’ai Chi Ch’uan
  120. Tantric Yoga
  121. Thai massage
  122. Thalassotherapy
  123. Therapeutic horseback riding
  124. Therapeutic Touch
  125. Tibetan eye chart
  126. Traditional Chinese medicine
  127. Traditional Japanese medicine
  128. Traditional Mongolian medicine
  129. Traditional Tibetan medicine
  130. Trager Approach
  131. Transcendental meditation
  132. Trigger point
  133. Tui Na
  134. Unani medicine
  135. Urine therapy
  136. Viniyoga
  137. Vinyasa yoga
  138. Vipassana
  139. Visualization
  140. Water cure (therapy)
  141. Wellness (alternative medicine)
  142. Yoga
  143. Zang Fu theory
Prescription Drug Abuse

According to a recent report by the NIDA, 25% of adults who started abusing prescription drugs at 13 years of age or younger met clinical criteria for addiction later in life.

Research has shown that doctors are writing more than 4 billion prescriptions in the United States alone, every year, averaging 13 prescriptions for every man and woman and child alive today. Clearly something is seriously wrong. Prescription drug abuse affects teenagers, young adults, adults and elderly resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Natural herbal supplements,  complimentary methods of healing, such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, physical therapy, nutrition and diet changes, and many others listed above, can be very effective as a alternative solution to taking prescription drugs. Talk with your trusted health professional to determine the health treatment approaches that will be best for you.

Medical News Today
Journal of the American Medical Association
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at 

The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

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