But the idea that a person can essentially contract obesity because of a change in gut microbes is at once exciting and unnerving—because exposure to microbe-altering drugs in day-to-day life has become almost inevitable. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quietly released a report that said over the past year, antibiotics sold annually for use in food animals increased to 33,860,000 pounds.
That’s a 22 percent increase since five years prior (which was the first time the amount was even measured). Usage also increased in 2014 alone, despite several prominent food producers and restaurants like Whole Foods and Chipotle swearing off antibiotic-raised animal products. Most of those antibiotics are “medically important,” meaning they are used in humans to treat diseases. But a majority of antibiotics are not absorbed by the animal, just excreted. So even those that are not medically important manage to find their ways into soil and water as they become part of the 18 gallons of manure that every cow produces every day.
Antibiotics in manure that seep into soil have been detected in carrots, lettuce, and green onions. Some antibiotics remain active for months after passing through the animal and are detectable in rivers miles from their use; a study of a river in Colorado found several antibiotics everywhere except for “a pristine site in the mountains before the river had encountered urban or agricultural landscapes.” Antibiotic overuse turned the Hudson River into a breeding ground for drug-resistant bacteria…
In 2014, Martin Blaser and colleagues at New York University found that steady exposure of mice to penicillin early in life predisposed them to become obese…
The doctors note that using antibiotics to grow meat results in deadly “superbugs” that now sicken more than two million Americans every year and kill 23,000…
In a video segment at the museum, there’s a bit where Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg says that with every dose of antibiotics you take, you do damage to the microbiome. It recovers, but it never recovers to the place that it was before…
The difference in how the abuse of antibiotics and opioids are treated by the CDC is very clearly discrimination (not only against the drugs, but against the patients who use them):
The 10,574 heroin deaths and the 18,893 deaths from prescription opioids were two big contributors to a sharp increase in fatal drug overdoses last year…
Frieden said the data, which was published this week, may change after CDC has a chance to review them and parse out cases of people who died with both heroin and prescription drugs in their systems. But even if some individuals were counted twice, he said, “It’s clear that the opiate epidemic from 2013 to 2014 got worse, not better.” …
As Sabet acknowledged, the government knew this was a possibility — but the feds still thought it was worth cutting off the supply of painkillers to prevent doctors and pharmacists from creating even more generations of painkiller addicts…
I can’t be sure, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen the government acknowledge that they knew the tragic results of the opioid war before they decided who deserves treatment and who deserves to suffer (and die).
The desire to treat pain led to a devastating epidemic…
That’s what the federal government and the anti-drug advocates want everyone to believe, but I don’t think that’s true. They want to demonize the treatment of pain, especially with certain drugs, and the only way to do that is to say treating pain has lead to this abuse “epidemic” — that treating pain with opioids always leads to addiction. Otherwise, not treating pain would be seen as the torture that it is.
So, now the government thinks that if they refuse to treat pain, less people will end up as drug addicts. I don’t know if that’s naive or just plain ignorant. Yes, no doubt the opioid war will stop a very small percentage of people from becoming addicted — but just to certain opioids, not any other drugs. Drug addiction is not only about opioids and heroin, and if these drugs were somehow removed from all markets, drug addiction would still exist.
In fact, when you remove the safer drugs from legal markets, the underground market just creates more dangerous drugs. And although I can’t be sure of this, I believe the underground market will always be smarter than all the law enforcement trying to eradicate it.
12/21/2015 3:58 PM MST
The headline and the text of the article are at complete odds.
The headline makes it out as if cracking down on prescription pain pills “curbed” (and in “lessened”) heroin deaths.
The text of the article make it clear that is not the case, since heroin deaths “surged”.
Is the author a complete moron… or is the editor a complete moron… cause apparently one or both of them think that “curbed” and “surged” are the same word.
12/21/2015 5:13 PM MST
Besides all this nonsense, you might want to note that it has become damn near unheard-of to get a prescription for even tramadol in Florida. Most doctors have simply stopped treating pain with anything other than NSAIDs. And that doesn’t even consider the instances we’ve had of cancer patients having to go to multiple pharmacies to find ONE willing to dispense their pain meds. The “war on drugs” is one of the least humane wars there is, and no one appears motivated to stop it.
6:40 AM MST
What this article fails to mention is that the same day we had to dump my uncle Manuel Edgin at a Harris County Hospital called LBJ there were several cars doing the same thing we were doing: dumping elderly people.
If you are an elderly person the recent changes to end of life pain management mean you will be far worse off than any generation in the last century. Now when it is time for you to die, you will have an actual reason to cry. And the only possible relief, thanks to the DEA, is death.
May you lay in the bed you made, and may you leave the world the way my uncle Manuel Edgin left: kicking, screaming, and wishing for death. This is the death you have created for us all…I curse every drug warrior to suffer this fate they wish upon us.
My family could no longer get his prescriptions of hydrocodone or morphine filled, so even though he had two types of cancer and had yellow puss coming out of every pore in his body, we could not treat his pain. We had to dump him on Harris County tax payers to save him.
Thinking of you, Manuel Edgin