Big Pharma Kills More People Than Illegal Drugs

Teenagers are at greater risk of overdosing on prescription drugs than they are on illicit ones, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on their website, citing deaths relating to pharmaceutical drugs averaged at a rough estimate of 23,000 in 2013. It’s a disproportionate effect that has a worrying trend, where anxiety related issues in teenagers are the propelling reason for the drug abuse.[1]


Drugs such as OxyContin are now more likely to kill people than Heroin. Tricyclic Antidepressants are also more likely to kill, due to the ignorance in the community of the dangers of these pharmaceutical prescriptions. The aggressive advertising by drug companies are considered in this study to be a large part of the blame, mass marketing their availability to parents and children with the message of safety and benefits outweighing the risks.[2]


“Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse. Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription drug abuse.

Male teens with a high need to be popular and teens in general appear to be at exceptional risk. Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs,” concluded the authors of the study conducted into the use of prescription drugs to combat anxiety related issues.[3]


[1] Thunder, M. (2015, March 26). Study: Pharmaceuticals Kill More Teens Than Illegal Substances In The US. Retrieved from

[2] Netemeyer, R., Burton, S., Delaney, B., & Hijjawi, G. (2014, December). The Legal High: Factors Affecting Young Consumers’ Risk Perceptions and Abuse of Prescription Drugs. [American Marketing Association Journal]. Retrieved from

[3] American Marketing Association. (2015, March 24). Legally high? Teenagers and prescription drug abuse. Retrieved from

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