The Change in Prescription Drug Use Over Time

We have discussed in class many issues in the prescription drug world. This being anything from a dramatic increase in prescription prices to the dramatic increase in prescription usage. The NPR article, “Selling Sickness: How Drug Ads Changed Health Care” discusses the issue of how the use of prescription drugs has increased since the 1980’s.

The use of perception drugs has increased 71% from 1992 to 2009. This is an alarming growth rate, and most of it cannot be attributed to the discovery of new medicines, or an increase in population. This change in prescription drug use has occurred because of an increase in advertisements about specific prescriptions airing on TV since the 1980’s. The NPR article goes into more detail explaining who, why, and how.

What I would like to focus on is the danger of having these types ads airing on television. These ads have begun normalizing drugs and drug use, whether it’s prescription or over the counter medicine. We do not think about medicine before we buy it because we have been taught to believe packaging, and in advertising. This is something I am guilty of this too. Do you read the warning labels before you buy and use any product? This dangerous habit that we have developed can and has led to life threatening problems because people mix alcohol and medications, or they use multiple medications at a time that are not meant to be mixed.

We can see the impact these ads have, just by looking at how much each company spends, annually, promoting their products. Drug companies spend more than 4 billion dollars annually, not with the intention of helping people, but with the intention of promoting and selling their product as much as possible. Our belief and trust in the medical world is something that we need to focus on because of how dangerous our lack of knowledge is.


Halle Van De Hey


2 thoughts on “The Change in Prescription Drug Use Over Time

  1. More people are using drugs because drugs are becoming stronger and stronger. Drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone give people the highs of narcotics without being illegal. More and more college students and professionals are turning to legal amphetamines like adderall to be more productive and make it through the day. When these prescriptions are cut off, many times these patients will turn to narcotics just to get a similar high as to what they had before. It really is sad what the pharmaceutical industry has done to the american people in the pursuit of profits.


  2. My post was on a similar topic. I read that 70% of Americans have at least 1 prescription and over half have at least 2. The average american spends $1,000 a year on prescription drugs. It’s mind boggling how ingrained into our culture and every day lives these things have become. What’s more combining that with what you mentioned about misuse and lack of understanding of the drugs interactions with other chemicals makes for a troublesome story indeed.

    Dylan Nourse


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