Wicked Deeds

Examining criminal motives and behavior

Prescription Drugs Are More Deadly Than Street Drugs

Together, prescription drug addiction and medical negligence create a “perfect storm” of corruption, misery and death in the U.S. As a society, we must address these growing and interconnected social problems which have reached epidemic proportions. Read More

We're not going to do anything about this.

Monied white people like their drugs. They can take their insurance and get the Vicodin and Roxies that they crave, at the same time enjoy having the judicial system incarcerate the black males that they fear.

Win win.

The system will not change, regardless of how unfair.

Your comments are so true.

Your comments are so true. There's the stereotype that it's all poor minorities driving the demand for drugs. Ha...check the lily white suburbs for your nearest heroin/pill epidemic.

I like the comments on this article - they're very honest in a world that pushes "empathy." Drug users are flipping annoying. I don't care if they're suffering. It's like, get your AIDS-needles and crime committing, toothless self away from me, vile meth-head!

I know of a junkie senior in high school who pushes drugs for his dad (a dealer). He's selling to all the younger kids and we're supposed to give a *%#& about HIS treatment and self-esteem?! Let 'em rot!

Who cares? The problem I see

Who cares?

The problem I see is the abusers only make it harder for those who legitimately need certain medicines to get them without really solving any problems. As someone who has sinus issues trying to get pseudo-ephedrine is now a chore and I can only buy a small amount. Regular ephedrine was even illegal in countries before the meth problem because some idiots were using it for diet aids and grossly overdosed themselves. Ephedrine is very safe for dieting but NOT when you take too many.

There comes a point where society has to just let the idiots be idiots and hurt themselves so the rest of us can live our lives without worrying what someone else could do to abuse themselves. If anything take the MD's out of the picture as required and the money side of it goes down quite a bit. I realize this won't happen anytime soon. Just for the record here I can write myself a prescription for anything I wanted myself so this isn't 'for me', I'm not addicted to anything beyond caffeine.

Is Age a Factor?

It is always very sad to hear about a celebrity overdosing due to drugs, and even more so hearing them mix their drugs. Reading this blog, got me questioning whether or not age plays a factor in obtaining the drugs and how it can really affect your body. We know that drugs are very harmful to our bodies, however, it would be interesting to see in this case with celebrities. Recently in celebrity history, we have been hearing of older celebrities dying of overdose, such as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman or actor Cory Monteith. How come in our society we make a fuss over a celebrity overdosing but not to other people in our society? Aren't celebrities part of our society?

Dr. Who Care or Kill

What truly strikes me the most about this article is the fact that doctors continue to release prescriptions on these heavily addicting drugs to those who may be giving off signals of addiction to them. I was always taught that doctors are there to provide you with help and to steer you in the right direction when it comes to your health. However, this idea seems to be changing on accounts of benefit. I recall reading that more and more doctors are become heavily funded or associated with these pharmaceutical companies. So it makes you wonder are they perscribing this for my benefit or is it to just to benefit from it. I think overall, the best thing to do is be self aware of your health in order to be able to evaluate whether or not something is beneficial to your health.

I was very surprised to that

I was very surprised to that powerful painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, which is more than cocaine and heroin overdoses combined. I also thought that it was very interesting that celebrities are prone to prescription drug abuse because they are not able to venture out into the streets to buy illegal drugs and how they instead rely on their fame and unethical doctors who won't turn down famous clients or are too greedy to refuse signing the prescriptions.

The growing epidemic of

The growing epidemic of self-medicating with powerful prescription drugs effects every group in society and most notably high profile celebrities. As more and more people battle with depression and chronic pain, patients are seeking prescriptions to antidepressants and painkillers. Responsibility for this growing epidemic should be placed upon doctors who write the prescriptions. Due to the changing of times more stress is placed upon people who turn to powerful prescription drugs to cope. This epidemic is normally discussed when a celebrity dies but more should be done to combat the accessibility and addicting nature of prescription drugs.

This article brings to light

This article brings to light a very important issue. Prescription drugs are seen as safe because the person in the white coat gives you the drugs and he or she is only doing what's best for you and this is the main problem with prescription drugs, we forget they come with dangers too. Awareness of prescription drugs and the side effects is vital in combating these astronomical numbers.

Blaming the doctors

Lets not be blaming the doctors for what is really a problem with the patients in almost all of these cases, not many have 150k a month to pay a doctor to be their dealer.

Patients will doctor shop, patients will lie about pain to get the pills (I get that all the time), they will see multiple doctors, they will buy extra pills from people who didn't need them, etc. My friend who is a pharmacist sees fake prescriptions daily, and also knows which docs in his area are the pill pushers.

In the end it comes down to personal responsibility. Abusers will be abusers, all our laws do is make it harder to abuse and create a criminal market place, filling our prisons. How many are killed due to drug dealing every year? How many in prison?


Doctors do need blame. I used to work in a doctor's office. We would have addicts who were our patients calling up with every excuse in the book for another prescription. It was pretty easy to tell who was addicted.

Doctors are very educated, they have lots of money, lots of friends in the government and can hire lots of powerful lobbyists to ensure no law gets passed holding them culpable for their lucrative pill mill business. Doctors don't care that their patients are addicted to pain killers, they are busy earning money and charging insurance plans for reimbursement.

And a word about the CDC. Notice the data cited is from 2008. The CDC is only reporting overdose deaths that a hospital or Medical Examiner can confirm are directly related to an overdose. What they aren't reporting is the extra thousands of deaths where powerful pain medication combines with other pre-existing bodily conditions and causes death, there are thousands of them as well.

The 2008 data is already 5 years old. The CDC is purposely dragging its heels in releasing current data, because the numbers who are overdosing right now in 2014 are much worse. We can get police arrest data, homicide data, victim based crime reports and code violations that are a week old, but don't we dare asked the CDC what happened last year or the year before.

After reading this article I

After reading this article I became aware of exactly how much prescription drugs are causing deaths in America. Before reading this, I was aware that it existed but not to the extent of 14,800 deaths which brings light to an important problem in our culture. We often believe and put faith in doctors because they were taught to help patients, but how many of us think about the benefits they may receive for giving these drugs away or treating patients with expensive drugs? Also, desperate patients go above and beyond to pay the doctors for their addictions. I wonder how different it would be if more and more doctors were punished for their immoral treatment methods?

They are....

They are punished, but they have to be caught. To be caught there has to be a complaint. You can't police every doctor out there completely. Ones who over prescribe get flagged and investigated.

What you don't know is how many of those OD's were people using the medicine improperly? If a doctor gives you 10 painkillers and you take all 10 at once is it the doctors fault?

If you get a prescription and sell it, and that guy OD's it still gets filed as a prescription drug death.

I think you don't understand exactly how complex this is.

The Rising Epidemic of Prescription Drugs

This article was very new for me. I never really thought that prescription drugs was such a big issue today, and is the reason for so many deaths. The fact that painkillers, such as, Vicodin and OxyContin led to more deaths than cocaine and heroin overdoses combined is very crazy. I feel that this is definitely an epidemic that is becoming a major issue and something needs to be done to stop this. Prescription drugs may seem as a very easy and accessible way to cope with certain stresses, but this should not be the case. During tough economic times it would make sense why the abuse of prescription drugs goes on, but certain doctors need to make people more cautious of these drugs. People should be made aware of the risks when they take certain drugs prescribed to them. With Michael Jackson, I am not sure if he knew of the risks, and just ignored them. But something needs to be done so that doctors are not so willing to give out so many prescriptions and that people are made aware of the repercussions for certain prescriptions. Overall, this is very eye opening and quite disturbing to think that the potential lack of knowledge of certain individuals, has led to their demise.

The big picture

This article evoked many emotions. I see that there are many people, including doctors, that should be held accountable for societal health. I do see that fame and fortune is highly correlated to drug use, but think that passing the blame on doctors is a scapegoat. I do not think doctors choose their profession solely for the income, and have the pureness in their hearts to help people. Certain life experiences and personalities make taking drugs seem like an easy solution, but in a doctor and patient relationship, both parties are equally as accountable.

This prescription abuse

This prescription abuse epidemic, might be the result of many societal values, of quick fixes for chronic problems. Instead of working on trying to find an alternative route for our problems many of our first instinct is to turn a drug to relieve us. People may be using drugs as a crutch, for other deep rooted problems that could be helped with therapy or other social support. I am by no means saying that drugs like these are necessary for some conditions or that people who need them should be denied. I thin think this raises the question is when drugs " needed" and when are they " wanted". Is there something we could do on a societal level, that would curb the incentives for people to abuse or start taking drugs when not needed?

A Fine Line

I think the line between street drugs and prescription pain killers grows thinner with each passing year. When a doctor over subscribes patients or individuals accidentally take one two many pills it is a terrible tragedy. I found it interesting how you suggest that celebrities are more prone to prescription drug abuse due to their inability to fly under the radar like everyone else. However, I would argue that once prescription drugs are placed in the wrong hands and are bought illegally by users who are consciously abusing them, they are no different than street drugs despite the fact that they were produced legally. Once they are on the streets, Oxycontin and other prescription drugs effectively become street drugs just like heroine or cocaine.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse unfortunately is very prevalent today. I think a patient needs to be carefully monitored when being given prescription medicine. I do not necessarily believe that it is always a doctor's fault. If a person is complaining about something the doctor may not always have physical evidence present. Sometimes they just have to take the patient's word for it. I do think that it is good that when prescription drugs advertise they list all possible side affects, but maybe prescription bottles should have it on there too. Hopefully, this epidemic will decline, but I have a feeling it will only increase.

I certainly agree with Dr.

I certainly agree with Dr. Bonn that legal drugs kill much more people in America. However, until just recently Americans believed that street or illegal drug was the social problem. Americans did not see that the real social problem is the legal drugs most people can get their hands on. It is also interesting how several deaths from celebrities bought attention to legal drugs. This shows that sometimes the government can be focused on the wrong social issue such as illegal drugs. I enjoyed this article that provided me greater insight into this epidemic that is affecting many Americans.

The availability of potent

The availability of potent prescription drugs is out of control. I feel it is the Doctors duty to rightfully diagnose, and proscribe according to the diagnosis to the best interests of the patient. Now almost anyone can walk into a doctors office and walk out with the prescription they were looking for. It is all about the money doctors and pharmaceutical companies benefit from writing more prescriptions. From what I have read about this epidemic, I do not see a clear solution any time soon.

I feel like a small part of

I feel like a small part of me dies every time I hear someone died from an overdose on prescribed drugs. It doesn't surprise me that there are more deaths from prescriptions than from actual illegal drugs. I feel like the media is always giving so much attention to the deaths of celebrities who die from drug overdoses. As a society, we pity them, but if this same fate came from someone who lived in a poor neighborhood, we would be quick to judge them. When a tragic incident like death happens as a result of a drug overdose, I don't think it's fair to point fingers at the doctor who prescribed the drug right away. Overdoses can happen to anyone at any time, and it's unfortunate that it happens so often in our country.

More deaths from prescription

More deaths from prescription drugs not perceptions. Its a big difference.

This article was very

This article was very informative and eye opening-especially after reading the numbers of people who die from abusing prescription drugs versus illegal drugs/heroin. I feel that alot of times, when people are being prescribed drugs by their doctors, they dont often realize that these drugs can become very addicting and dangerous if they take more than what their doctor tells them to. However, I feel that because their doctor has prescribed them these drugs, they may think that nothing terrible could happen to them.

I love this article. I have

I love this article. I have always been passionate about the addiction field and I feel that prescription medications are so frequently abused yet it is not always recognized. I think it is very unfortunate that doctors and psychiatrists tend to be quick to label and prescribe medications to clients. Just because a medication is 'prescribed' does not mean it is safer; however, I think a lot of people who abuse prescription drug use this as a justification. "It is okay to use this medication because it is prescribed." I think that this prescription drug epidemic needs to be brought more into light. I think people need more of an education about prescription drugs, their side effects, and their possibility of turning into an addiction.

Addiction is a chronic,

Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. It's treatable. Perhaps not as successfully as one might like, but on a par with other chronic diseases that require substantial behavioral change, like diabetes and hypertension.

Unfortunately, many people still don't believe addiction is a disease. That's why science-based education is so important.
Education is key. For a not-for-profit website that discusses the science of substance use and abuse in accessible English (how alcohol and drugs work in the brain; how addiction develops; why addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease; what parts of the brain malfunction as a result of substance abuse; how that malfunction skews decision-making and motivation, resulting in addict behaviors; why some get addicted while others don't; how treatment works; how well treatment works; why relapse is common; what family and friends can do; etc.) please click on www.AddictScience.com.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Scott Bonn, Ph.D., a professor of criminology at Drew University, is an expert on criminal behavior and motivations.


Subscribe to Wicked Deeds

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.