Robert Whitaker: America’s Prescription Drug Epidemic

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Headline News | 17 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Adam Taggart at

    The United States has one of the highest rates in the world of prescription drug use, especially for the psychiatric and anti-anxiety drug classes:

    • 1 in 6 Americans takes a psychiatric drug
    • Over a 130,000 U.S. toddlers, children between zero and five years of age, are prescribed addictive anti-anxiety drugs including the wildly-addictive and difficult to stop using benzodiazepines
    • A very high proportion of the school shootings in the U.S. were committed by young adults on such drugs.

    The benefits of these drugs are marketed to us daily, but what about the downsides? What about the side effects? More importantly, do they even work? What does the data tell us?

    To answer these questions, we talk this week with Robert Whitaker, an American Journalist and author who has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science. In 1998 he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for public service. His first book, Mad in America, was named by Discover Magazine as one of the best science books of 2002 and his book Anatomy of an Epidemic won the 2010 investigative reporters and editor’s book award for best investigative journalism. He’s also the publisher of

    The irony is this. Before you go on an antidepressant, you have no known serotonergic deficiency with that system. But, once you go on and you have this drug that perturbs normal activity, it actually drives the brain into the very sub-serotonergic state hypothesized to cause depression in the first place.

    This problem is called ‘oppositional tolerance’ within research circles. It means that basically what every psychiatric drug ultimately does is drive your brain in the opposite direction of what the drug is trying to do.

    For example, anti-psychotics block dopamine function, but they do that by blocking the receptors in the post-synaptic neurons. Which made researchers hypothesize that maybe schizophrenia and psychosis is due to too much dopamine. While they didn’t find that in a matter of course in those disorders, once you’re on this drug, it will actually increase the density of your dopamine receptors.

    So, conceptually, here’s the thing. We’re told these drugs fix known chemical imbalances in the brain. What science tells us is that we don’t know the biology of these disorders, the drugs perturb normal activity, and at the end of the compensatory process the drugs have induced the very abnormalities hypothesized to cause these disorders in the first place. That’s the scientific story(…)

    The drugs may have efficacy in clinical trials over the short term (meaning they beat placebo in those studies ), but the evidence is overwhelming that over the long term the medications of *whatever* class of drugs does is increase the risk that a person will become chronically ill, functionally impaired, and end up on disability (…)

    When we talk about drugs that worsen outcomes over the long term we are saying in the aggregate. In other words, you look at the spectrum of outcomes in the medicated group and you compare that the spectrum of outcomes in the unmedicated group in every study you can find the spectrum of outcomes are better in the unmedicated group.

    Humans have a resilience within them and psychiatric disorders so often can be episodic in nature. I mean, that’s the natural course for most depressive episodes and including the majority of the first psychotic episodes and obviously with anxiety and these sort of things. So, one of the reasons you see that drugs have worsening outcomes in the aggregate because actually there’s such good natural recovery rates. That’s what lost from this conversation is what the capacity is to recovery from a depressive episode and anxiety episode and even psychotic episodes without drugs and with other support

    Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Robert Whitaker (45m:06s).

    To read the video transcript, please click here


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      1. Our drug epidemic has been ongoing since the 60s courtesy of the CIA, the world’s biggest drug cartel. It will be only part of the downfall of this country. We’re a nation of crackheads.

        • Drugs have been used as a weapon for God knows how long.

          Yes, the 60’s were a special time for drug pushing. LSD made it’s entrance onto the 90% wasp population and into the 99% wasp colleges. And drugs like heroin which were isolated to Jazz musicians and the black ghettos, found their young white victims.

          But not until the last ten years have we had school children drenched in dangerous drugs dolled out by people pretending to be honest medical practitioners.

          And for a decade or more, the idiot box has been pushing drugs on young and old alike.

          This drug warfare is intended to kill and disable. It was perpetrated against China. It was used against blacks in liquid form: rum for slaves. It was used to take advantage of Native Americans. It has been a source of great wealth for a few and great misery for way too many.

          _ the Rockefellers/Rothschilds took control of medicine by donating to medical schools.

          __ Read Eustace Mullins’ “Death By Medicine”


          • On the bright side the Opiod epidemic is killing off the stupid at an accelerating pace. Imagine a world where the addicts are all dead: It’s easy if you try.

            • Paranoid, all of the addicts and alcoholics will die after the balloon goes up when they can’t get their fix or their bottle anymore. I stopped drinking myself shortly after my wife was killed by a drunk driver in 1982. I lost someone I loved to a scumbag alcoholic. I know the human cost of the alcohol/drug epidemic firsthand. I really believe I could kill a drunk driver. The drunks and crackheads deserve whatever is coming to them. I literally can’t stand them.

        • The question of the day is: “WHO IS PURE BLOCKCHAIN WEALTH” throwing around the big names as if they were his BFF ??? I like to know my sources, especially when they are trying to entice me into subscribing to their dog & pony show.

          But, hey!, that’s just me. 🙂

      2. You should see the Drug Co. Pharmaceutical Sales Reps that go call on Doctors, to push all of these drugs. Hot little Wwhores Screw the doctors and they win market share and big fat bonuses. The drug companies have a batter of Wwhores to go sell sell sell. Then the doctors get Free Trips and Golf at resorts and cash kickbacks. Its all a sham poisoning Americans.

        • TSB,
          Sadly what you speculate does occur, but it is rare!
          My uncle was a doctor. The only skirts he chased
          worked for him or with him. Strange stuff was
          strictly off limits. Surgeons can’t afford to get STDs

      3. This mental drugs, along with all the other types of drugs people get hooked on is just another sign of the decline of the country/culture. even 20 years ago, people would man up to issues in their lives.

        today, people cannot cope with even what is posted on the internet by someone they will never meet.

        most people on this site are worried about the coming economic disaster that the usa’s politicians have ensured is coming, but that just doesn’t matter because the people have become so pathetic compared to prior generations.

        this country is well on its way to becoming a mirror of the corrupt governments of central and south America, trump is just one last lap around the track of what it used to be.

      4. Most of these drugs prescribed to kids is for behavioral control. In the old days we got our butts swatted if we acted up. Unless there is a diagnosed physical problem, never drug kids, they are just being kids. This society has better return to that point of view.

      5. It has been said that virtually all American families have been impacted by this drug addiction crisis. I would accept that – my own has been. A couple of people in fact. And it has hurt us all. But the opiods, anti-anxiety and all the rest of the psycho-active meds are but the tip of the iceberg of American addiction. Look at the people you see as you drive on the road, go to a store, just do your everyday life. This country is addicted to food – is fat as hell. Is addicted to their social media (and yep, I’ll admit a weak spot for this one site). The average American middle-age male will sit on his fat ass shouting at a screen snarfing down chips and dip, beer and Lord knows what all and couldn’t run a mile without damn near having a stroke. Women own more shoes now and walk less than ever in history, while resembling sausages in casings like a Polish deli. Our kids have the attention spans of tsetse flies (and sorry, for insulting those poor flies wrongly). We gamble away hard-earned money on a chance in a billion that we’re going to win a lottery, losing in the long run more than we could ever hope to win against the fixed odds. And so it goes. Addictions everywhere. It’s going to take a return to the times before all such existed to remedy.

      6. Prescription for destroying kids is to overfeed them on sugar so that they have all kinds of energy. Then, drug them because they can’t sit still in the classroom. Of course, some parents want their kids prescribed drugs which can be sold. If you are a baby boomer, be grateful you went to school when you did. You just can’t make up some of the crap that is going on in the world today!

      7. “If erection lasts longer than 3 hours, call your physician immediately.” bwahaha

        • and say, “thanks Doc!!!, can you re-scrip me please? (and allow generic alternatives from Mumbai)”

      8. Rellik, I agree that no type of drugs should ever be forced on anyone. I don’t want them or even need any. Today’s generation can’t even comprehend kids being kids.

      9. Before they diagnose a child with attention deficit disorder, you should stop feeding them so much sugar and put them on a proper diet. Don’t let them be so sedentary;get them to indulge in physical activity and get tired. Some children, especially boys, have trouble sitting for long periods of time.

      10. How can some people boast that “America has the best medical system in the world”? We may have some of the best hospitals (if you have the money), but the typical American doesn’t get the best medical care.

      11. There is a time and place for drugs.

        I had spinal surgery last year before Thanksgiving BUT my idiot CVS pharmacist basically blocked my access to pain meds for almost 3 weeks until my doctor got back.

        Not even my surgeon could help until then, as the pain doctor wrote the prescription on file before he left town.

        Corporate will screw you every time and CVS now has the idea they need to “help” and putting idiots, like my pharmacist, in the process to determine if what the doctor prescribes is correct, which only means people are going to die. Personally I want my doctor making decisions, not a pharmacist.

        Putting out blanket policies only ensures CVS will either kill you from heart attacks from the pain initially, or like my case when they give you Fentanyl and massive does of Oxycodone. Even after, drugs like this affect your mental outlook and well being.

        Pharmacists – BEWARE, the danger your doing to innocent people.

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