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Whitney, Michael, Heath, Who’s Next?

The shocking death of the pop star Whitney Houston brings prescription drug use and abuse into the spotlight once again. The deadly combination of Lorazepam, Diazepam, Xanax, and sleeping medications killed Houston in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton.

Clearly this is not an isolated event and is growing far too common in the life of celebrities but also in everyday people as well. You hear about the tragedies happening in the spotlight, but forget about the prescription drug abuse that is happening in our local communities and in our hospitals.

Tranquilizers are the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications.The FDA estimates that over 60 million Americans fill prescriptions for tranquilizers every year. (1) They are highly addictive and a tolerance develops quickly that increases abuse.

The Red Carpet: Fashionably Overdosed


Anna Nicole Smith was found unresponsive in her hotel room in February 2007. She accidently overdosed on the lethal combination of seven prescription drugs including Diazepam. The prescription drug Diazepam was also found in Whitney Houston’s hotel room. The reality is that 10-15 percent of the U.S. population takes the same medication. (2)

The highly acclaimed actor Heath Ledger was found dead from the deadly combination of six prescription drugs. The drugs include OxyContin, Diazepam, Restoril, Unisom, and Vicodin. (3) Again, diazepam is the same prescription found with Houston’s death.

The star singer Amy Winehouse found dead and was reported “accidental”. Official reports omit the actual cause of death. The deadly combination of prescription drugs and alcohol was the suggested cause of her “accidental” death. Alcohol has been found to multiply the effects of tranquilizers.

We all cannot forget about the Michael Jackson ordeal. The “King of Pop” died from injections of Demerol by his doctor. His song “Smooth Criminal” may have a new meaning to the drug pushers. Elvis Presley also died from a “smooth drug cocktail” that included Demerol and Diazepam.

The “Smooth Criminal” Stealing Lives


The use of prescription medication to treat health is similar to throwing gasoline onto a fire. The hazardous side effects of tranquilizers can hardly be called accidental:

Difficulty concentrating
A "floating" or disconnected sensation
Depressed heartbeat
Depressed breathing
Excessive sleep and sleepiness
Mental confusion and memory loss
Addiction
Death

Overdosed Drowning America


The loss of any life is a tragedy. Is the loss of their life more important than the loss of another? We as a society have been described as “drunk behind the wheel” in regard to our health. We rely on medications that kill people to make us well. We cannot continue to let this happen.

We mourn and open our eyes with the travesties that occur to our pop icons, but what about the single mother of three? Do we hear about the grandmother of eight going to bed and never waking?

The doctors of all pop stars are starting to be scared. I bet Whitney Houston’s doctor is seeing parallels to the Michael Jackson case. Is your doctor scared? They deal the same drugs to you and your little “stars”. Our children look up to these “actors” but they are exactly that. The real role models in our children’s lives need to be a family with strong core values. Health management versus disease management encourages living life to its fullest potential, something to aspire to.

Would you give your loved one’s Diazepam? That may not be too thoughtful. However, that’s what 60 million Americans do annually. Instead, start exercising, get adjusted, prepare nutritious meals and connect in meaningful relationships. Taking care of your health means a lot more than taking care of disease, without the deadly side effects.


Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Email: drcorycouillard@gmail.com
Facebook: Dr Cory Couillard
Twitter: DrCoryCouillard



(1) http://drugrecognition.com/Use%20Statistics.htm
(2) http://www.benzo.org.uk/hchan.htm
(3) http://www.recoverycorps.org/addiction/mixingdrugs/fatal-drug-combinations/

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