Prescription Thugs, which premiers at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is an extension of Chris Bell’s groundbreaking documentary “BIGGER FASTER STRONGER,” which covered the topic of performance enhancing drug abuse in sports.

His new film takes on a new slant with an in depth analysis of the growing prescription drug epidemic. It wasn’t until Bell discovered his friends and loved ones becoming addicted to prescription drugs that he set out to expose the pharmaceutical industry and its kickbacks to doctors.  The unpleasant truth Bell contends in this masterful work is that these doctors and big pharma executives are no different than your local neighborhood dope dealer peddling hard drugs on the street.  

As Bell pursues the quest for truth and justice he simultaneously delves into his own battles with prescription drug abuse to provide a refreshing and candidly raw take on the ugly and harsh realities Americans are dealing with on a daily basis.  

Addiction is a crippling disease of the soul that if left untreated can have fatal consequences.  It’s astounding that we as society are even faced with such lunacy and it is important that we support documentaries like this that shed light on such politically charged issues.  Millions of Americans use prescription pills for recreational purposes without doctor prescriptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions.

The CDC states: Since 1999, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.  Overprescribing leads to more abuse and more overdose deaths.  

That’s an alarming number of people abusing pharmaceutical drugs without any valid medical reason.  The more awareness that is spread about the prescription drug addiction our country is facing, the more prevention and treatment options can be put into action. We can’t do this alone, but as a nation, we can accomplish anything. The CDC writes that, “Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month.” These figures paint a grim storyline that doesn’t appear to be abating anytime soon

The connection between elite athletes abuse of drugs and the drug habits of everyday regular people are remarkably consistent across the board and this demonstrates that.  When professional athletes suffer from pain from the arduous conditions faced in the highest levels of competition they too will self-medicate just like anyone else.  People leading normal lives outside of the rigors of sports will do just the same if afflicted with any kind of pain albeit emotional or physical.  

We have become a nation of people who will at all costs do anything to avoid pain in even its slightest forms.  If we take this factor into account it is unreasonable to expect people suffering from debilitating illnesses and terminal cases of cancer to not seek out medication to numb their legitimate pain.  On the other end of the spectrum people with even the most imperceptible tinge of pain will request a painkiller of some form to block the unpleasant sensations.  Although federal and state governments have taken decisive action to curtail this activity in many ways it’s too little too late.  When individuals can no longer obtain their prescription medications they tend to resort to last ditch efforts to procure them on the street in illicit drug transactions.  

Is there an ongoing agenda actively promoted by big pharma and medical professionals to get people hooked on prescription drugs? That conclusion is for you to reach on your own merits and I encourage you to watch the film and decide for yourself.  What I can tell you with utmost certainty is that there is hope of recovery if you or someone you love is misusing or has become addicted to opioid drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone or even heroin.

There are alternative modalities with proven efficacy in treating pain safely and without the harmful side-effects of prescription medication.  Yoga, acupuncture and massage are just a few examples that can provide relief without the despair and degradation of drug addiction.

Regardless of your current situation and how deep addiction has a hold of you it is possible to get better.  You aren’t merely a statistic to prove a point.  There is life beyond drug addiction.  


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