Skip to main content

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

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.

Facebook: Dr Cory Couillard
Twitter: DrCoryCouillard



Popular posts from this blog

Can we now cure HIV in newborns?

Doctors are reporting that a child born with HIV that was put on an unusually aggressive treatment regimen has been functionally cured of the infection. Using the most sensitive HIV testing available, they were able to find only trace amounts of HIV "particles" but no virus capable of replicating, the research team reported.

"If there is a trial that shows this can happen again, then this will be very important," said Dr. Karin Nielsen, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. "You'll be able to treat people very intensively and reverse the disease."

The news provides no answers for adults living with HIV but it can be a landmark victory in the health of future generations. Every year, 300,000 to 400,000 babies are born infected with HIV according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

The treatment consisted of giving the newborn a three-drug…

Non-communicable diseases ravaging the poorest

The convergence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and infectious diseases (IDs) in low- and middle-income countries presents major challenges to the world’s poorest and most neglected groups of people. NCDs continue to escalate and cause hundreds of billions of dollars of loss annually despite aggressive lifestyle campaigns.

A NCD is a medical condition or disease that is non-infectious and non-transmissible amongst people. NCDs may be chronic diseases of long duration and slow progression, or they may result in more rapid death such as some types stroke and heart attacks. Unknowingly to most, NCDs also include autoimmune diseases, many cancers, asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and many more.

Most Low- to middle income countries has dual disease burdens of NCDs and IDs including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and parasitic diseases. Unfortunately, experts, institutions and policies that support prevention and control of these two overarching disease categories have very limited int…

Strong health systems critical in addressing health threats in the African Region

Brazzaville, 8 April 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has called on the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Congo to advocate with their national governments to strengthen health systems to be able to address the health challenges facing the African Region. She briefed the diplomats about the on-going Ebola epidemic in West Africa, current and emerging health threats in the WHO African Region, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the strategic priorities for WHO’s work in the Region for 2015-2020. The Regional Director underscored the importance of strong national health systems to be able to withstand epidemics and emergencies while delivering essential health services to people who need them most. Dr Moeti pointed out that the Ebola epidemic has had devastating impacts on families, livelihoods, security, health workforce, service delivery and overall socioeconomic development of the seve…