By Mark Wachtler
February 13, 2012. Los Angeles. (ONN) Music legends like Whitney Houston aren’t the typical subjects of articles here at Whiteout Press. But when we heard our old adversary Big Pharma was involved, your author put aside his sadness and fond memories and took a closer look. While Houston’s exact cause of death won’t be known for 4-6 weeks, according to LA authorities, media outlets are already speculating that it was a fatal mix of alcohol and prescription drugs that killed the beloved starlet.
Initial reports suggest a variety of prescription drugs may have played a roll in Whitney Houston's death.
CNN and Nancy Grace have been reporting all day that a number of prescription bottles were found at the scene of Whitney Houston’s death. Other reports being shared by the network have said that the singer died of an overdose of Xanax and alcohol. Nancy Grace broke the story around midday that three different prescriptions of an anti-hangover medication, prescribed by three different doctors, were found at the scene. Further reports from the duo claim that one of the prescriptions was filled by the same Los Angeles pharmacy that supplied Michael Jackson’s fatal overdose.
Whitney Houston wouldn’t be the first American to be killed by powerfully deadly and highly addictive drugs - provided by criminal doctors, profiting global corporations, promoted by the entertainment industry, protected by government officials and enabled by addicted loved-ones. She wouldn’t even be the first American celebrity.
America’s most famous people have been dying from prescription drugs for decades. Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe quickly come to mind. But just as the epidemic has exploded on main street America, so too has it taken its toll among the nation’s most celebrated people. Many could have benefited from hydrocodone withdrawal treatments and possibly saved their lives. Here is just a brief list, from the past and the present, and the prescription drugs that killed them.
Marilyn Monroe (1962) – Pentobarbital, chloral hydrate
Dorothy Dandridge (1965) – Imipramine/Tofranil
Jimi Hendrix (1970) – Secobarbital/Seconal
Bruce Lee (1973) – Equagesic
Freddie Prinze (1977) – Methaqualone/Quaaludes
Elvis Presley (1977) - 14 drugs, including codeine, methaqualone/Quaaludes
Keith Moon (The Who) (1978) – Clomethiazole/Heminevrin
Abbie Hoffman (1989) – Phenobarbital
Steve Clark (Def Leppard) (1991) - Unspecified antidepressant and painkiller
Margaux Hemingway (1996) – Phenobarbital
Rob Pilatus (Milli Vanilli) (1998) – methadone
Dana Plato (1999) – Carisoprodol/Soma, Vicodin
Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Wu-Tang Clan) (2004) – Tramadol
Chris Penn (2006) – Promethazine, codeine
Gerald Levert (2006) – 6 drugs including Vicodin, Percocet, Dextropropoxyphene/Darvocet
Anna Nicole Smith (2007) - 11 drugs including chloral hydrate, clonazepam/Klonopin, lorazepam/Ativan, oxazepam/Serax, diazepam/Valium
Pimp C (Underground Kingz) (2007) – Promethazine, codeine
Heath Ledger (2008) - 6 drugs including oxycodone, hydrocodone, temazepam, diazepam/Valium, alprazolam/Xanax and doxylamine
Michael Jackson (2009) – propofol, benzodiazepine
Brittany Murphy (2009) – multiple drugs including hydrocodone, L-methamphetamine, chlorpheniramine
Leslie Carter (Nick/Aaron) (2012) – pending toxicology results
Whitney Houston (2012) – pending toxicology results
With all due love and affection for the above, it’s a shame it takes the death of a superstar to shine an always brief spotlight on the devastating effects of prescription drugs and their over-supply in this country. More than 40 regular Americans die from the same prescription drugs everyday.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find the total number of Americans killed by the adverse reactions of prescription drugs. That’s mainly due to corporate and government smoke screens. The CDC is one of the few sources attempting to put an exact number on the yearly fatalities from prescription drug use, but even their numbers only account for deaths related to prescription painkillers and not the vast array of other pharmaceutical wonder drugs. For just that one heavily abused category, 14,800 Americans died as a result of adverse effects from the medication.
In 2009, prescription drugs passed car accidents as the number one leading cause of preventable death in 15 states. By 2011, prescription drugs surpassed car accidents completely, becoming the nation’s number one cause of accidental death. By comparison’s sake, that’s more fatalities than all illegal drugs combined.
Nation of legally and socially accepted junkies
While the horrifying statistics aren’t promoted in the US for fear of angering corporate drug advertisers, the UK’s Guardian provides some sobering statistics about America’s prescription drug problem. Calling it a “national epidemic” rampant only in the US, they report that Americans now consume 80 percent of the world’s opioid pain medications and a staggering 99 percent of the world’s semi-synthetic opioid pain medication – hydrocodone. Hydrocodone withdrawal treatments are needed now more than ever. Yes, these pain medications are derived from the same plant and drug as heroin. In fact, CNN recently quoted one police officer explaining, “I don't think I have met anybody under the age of 30 that's a heroin addict that did not start out using oxycodone or OxyContin."
Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Merck Drug Crimes Prove Occupy Point’ for further details. That particular article is important for additional reasons, including evidence of the dishonest American media coverage. It was another instance where we at Whiteout Press caught and exposed the nation’s media outlets for doctoring the news to further their agenda. In this instance, an Occupy DC protester had snuck past the Secret Service and handed President Obama a small, hand-printed note. If you look closely at the photo of the note in the President’s hand, it read, ‘Mr. President: Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While banksters continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.’
When Americans read the accompanying news articles from across the nation, each quoted the note, but mysteriously changed the word “banksters” to “bankers” in their reporting – busted! Score one for Whiteout Press.
The prescription drug generation
The CDC also reports that emergency room visits because of prescription drug reactions or overdoses doubled in the five years leading up to 2009. Actual deaths from overdoses tripled and have never been higher. Another study from the above publications shows that one-third of kids 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 misused prescriptions drugs, more than any other drug except marijuana.
Who are the drug traffickers?
It’s not difficult to find out who’s getting rich off the lives of the American people. Here is a brief list of some of the most abused prescription drugs and their owners:
Vicodin – Abbott Labs
Xanax – Pfizer
Valium – Roche
Dexedrine – GlaxoSmithKlein
Adderall – Shire
Oxycodone – Developed by Bayer in 1916. Further advanced by Merck in 1928. Manufacturing rights are currently in dispute. Oxydodone is available under a number of brand names in one or more formulations, including all of the below:
OxyContin – Purdue
Percodan – Endo
Percocet – Endo
Roxicodone – Roxane
Supeudol – Sandoz
In a couple months, this author expects the LA County Coroner to quietly file a toxicology report and label the cause of Whitney Houston’s death as ‘natural’, ‘heart failure’, ‘variable’ or as in the late actress Brittany Murphy’s case, “deferred”. That was the official cause of death by the exact same county coroner’s office just over two years ago. It was later extended to include “pneumonia”, and even later yet, finally included “elevated levels” of the above-noted pharmaceutical drugs.
While the loss of Whitney Houston, Brittany Murphy and the ever increasing list of above celebrities is heartbreaking, so too is the loss of 14,800 other Americans every year to the same killer. Even more depressing still is the way the billion dollar drug companies are able to push their free samples onto the public like crack dealers on a street corner. Every block in America has a ready, willing and profiting doctor’s office acting as the street corner pusher. And in between the multi-million dollar commercials from the very same drug companies, the national media only smiles and tells us how horrible marijuana is.
Last but not least, we have the DEA. Charged with policing drug companies and this epidemic, they spend their time shutting down legal medical marijuana clinics in California and arresting cancer victims, AIDS patients and America’s wounded warriors.
With the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing unlimited campaign contributions from unidentified sources, one can bet a large portion of every Presidential candidate’s fundraising is coming from Big Pharma. With Congressional races looking the same, it’s safe to say this deadly epidemic in America will only get worse before it gets better.