Prescription Thugs

By Kristen Johnson

Prescription Thugs angered me and it broke my heart. Americans are so addicted – drugs, alcohol, porn, video games – you name it. But, the really sad news is that we are also incredibly addicted to legal drugs – the kind you get right at your doctor’s office.

How many times have we seen television or print advertisements urging us to “ask your doctor!” for prescriptions from everything to depression to anxiety, and hot flashes to fake illnesses like “restless leg syndrome.” The corporations behind this insidious advertising are the big pharmaceutical companies. The more illnesses they can create for us, the more calls we make to doctors and pharmacists requesting drugs we don’t need – the more money they make. The documentary highlights the truly obscene amount of money and time that the pharma lobbyists spend in Washington. It is absolutely immoral what they are doing.

The narrator of the film, Chris Bell, started the documentary to follow up on his brother’s story of addiction and ultimately his death from his addiction to prescription drugs. What’s incredibly sad is that it’s all perfectly legal. It’s disturbing to say the least. Even sadder is that viewers come to find out that the narrator is himself an addict, which only comes to light after he ends up in 6 months of drug rehab.

The most compelling thing about this documentary is the interviews of professional athletes (mostly from MMA and WWE) who are addicts. Their stories of pill-popping, with doctor’s approval, will shock and horrify you, but most of all it will sadden you. In addition, the interviews with survivors of addiction, and family members of those who have died, will compel you to action.

It’s a bit confusing to know exactly what that action is. Clearly things need to change, likely right from the top and that’s Congress. But how are we to get Congress to act, when they are clearly all bought and sold by the big pharmaceutical companies that are causing the problem? Civil disobedience and protest is clearly called for in this instance. Letter writing is urgently needed. Most of all, we need a change of heart and a refusal to be a part of the problem. And that means refusing to ask our doctors for drugs we don’t need, and refusing to take them when they are unnecessarily prescribed. Unfortunately, that likely also means reporting abusive doctors to the authorities and switching doctors when needed.

I admire Mr. Bell for his courage in putting his story out there and for facing up to his problems. Going from addiction to recovery is never an easy process, or so I have been told over and over again by addicts and alcoholics. I am so grateful that he put this story of abusive doctors and abusive pharmaceutical companies out there for the world to see.

Psalm 50:15 (NRSV): Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

Serve all with love.

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