The talk show queen tackles the tough topic of prescription addiction, a problem that continues to grow in the U.S.
On her Sept. 29, 2009 show, talk show host Oprah Winfrey tackled the topic of painkiller abuse — with some help from Dr. Mehmet Oz.
According to Dr. Oz, 6 million Americans are now what he calls “pharmaceutical junkies,” addicted to prescription medications like Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Percocet. Oz calls prescription addiction the most under-appreciated problem in America, saying, “It’s actually the most dangerous ailment sneaking up on us because we’re not paying attention.
A lot of folks think these drugs aren’t dangerous because they’re not street drugs and it’s true that what’s in the pill is really what’s in the pill — but there are millions of people who take these prescription medications not realizing they have just the same kind of addictive potential as street drugs would.
The show claimed that more than 50 million Americans have admitted trying prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Why? Oprah and Oz think they have at last a partial answer: Americans really can’t handle pain. In today’s society, when we feel pain, we’re offered something to numb that pain instead of being taught how to deal with it. “We don’t do pain well,” Oz says, which is a problem because pain is a wakeup call to do something different.
So how do you know if you or someone you love has a problem with prescription medication? If you can’t go a single day without taking a painkiller –even if it’s a medication you’ve been legally prescribed by a doctor — you have a problem, Oz says.
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