More Teens using OTC drugs (Tylenol) to overdose

More Canadian teens using over-the-counter drugs to overdose, data show – The Globe and Mail – by Erin Anderssen – Nov 2019

The number of intentional overdoses involving common over-the-counter and prescription drugs has increased steeply among young people in the last decade, according to new data provided to The Globe and Mail by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The number of cases roughly doubled for children and teenagers in Alberta and Ontario, the two provinces for which data were available, in two categories of drugs that include over-the-counter painkiller medications and prescriptions for drugs such as antidepressants and sedatives, according to the CIHI data, which tracked emergency-department visits.

So now Tylenol, that “safe” drug handed out like candy in hospitals, is being used to commit suicide by overdose in young people. 

The actual drug used isn’t the critical factor, the increase in suicides is. And the crisis is not one of “opioids” or even “overdoses”, but a crisis of modern society and capitalism. Too many people’s lives lack meaning and reasons to keep living in a world that is destructive and hostile for all but the privileged few.

The data correspond with findings in an Ontario study, published Monday in the journal Clinical Toxicology, that analyzed rising rates of intentional overdoses among youth between 2010 and 2015.

The study found that acetaminophen, most well-known by its brand name Tylenol, was the most commonly used drug, followed by antidepressants and then non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil.

The danger of acetaminophen has prompted experts to call for Health Canada to restrict higher doses of the drug and the number of pills that can be sold at one time.

This reminds me of the restrictions placed on the decongestant pseudoephedrine because it can be used as an ingredient to manufacture methamphetamine. But the dealers just found other sources and carried on while regular folks were hassled when trying to buy it for colds. 

The restrictions didn’t prevent meth addiction or deaths, just like most other failed DEA supply-side interventions.

Easy access is the main factor in the type of the drugs being used, researchers say. Tylenol and Advil are both easy to buy, sold in bulk and ubiquitous in Canadian homes.

Prescriptions of antidepressants have also risen over the last several decades, making them readily available in medicine cabinets.

Acetaminophen can cause acute liver failure,
especially when combined with alcohol.

This is tragic because we’ve been flooded with PROPaganda that opioids are dangerous and OTC drugs are not. Too many people don’t know how toxic Tylenol is and are taking far too much of it, especially when opioids are no longer an option.

I witnessed this when a coworker’s sister had migraines for which she was constantly popping Tylenol pills. Then she had a very bad pain episode and took even more of it one afternoon. The family found her hours later unconscious.

Despite getting immediate emergency treatment, they could only watch helplessly as one organ after another shut down until she died in a matter of hours.

Truly a horrific horror caused by a “harmless” OTC drug.

In 1998, Britain restricted the amount of acetaminophen that people could purchase at one time, to 32 pills in pharmacies and 16 or 24 tablets in other retail stores.

In 2016, after a safety review, Health Canada announced new labelling guidelines for acetaminophen and limited the strength allowed in prescriptions that combined another drug.

The review also considered reducing the dose available for sale, but a Health Canada spokesperson said in a statement that there was insufficient scientific evidence that this step would improve safety, citing concerns that changes might drive consumers to other drugs.

Barry Power, a spokesperson for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, said that restricting acetaminophen “would require a change in mindset” for Canadians and would create access issues for some patients, such as those with chronic pain.

But David Juurlink, a drug-safety expert at the University of Toronto and a co-author of the Ontario study, said restricting access to the drug merits another national conversation – given its toxicity and ubiquitous presence in Canadian stores and homes.

This is another one of the anti-opioid crusaders. It’s beginning to seem as if these folks simply don’t want anyone to get pain relief unless it’s through surgery or “alternative medicine”.

They are throwing away decades of drug development for effective pain relievers as though these medications weren’t really all that useful.

“It might seem odd to take a drug that is used by the kilotonne around the world every year, and that has been on our shelves for decades, and suddenly reduce access to it,” he said.

Well, the anti-opioid forces have done their best to push people to take  OTC drugs for their pain and, because they are so much less effective than opioids, folks are taking handfuls of these “safe” medications.

“But if public perception were aligned with what we know about the pharmacology of this drug, I think people would be much more sympathetic to reducing access to higher doses and large bottles.”

But “if public perception were aligned with what we know about the pharmacology” of *opioids*, they would demand access to them and wouldn’t be fooled into taking increasing amounts of OTC medications to ease their constant pain.

With PROP spreading so much anti-opioid PROPaganda, they shouldn’t be surprised at developments like this.

3 thoughts on “More Teens using OTC drugs (Tylenol) to overdose

  1. Kathy C

    We have to keep in mind that they do not collect this kind of data in the US. Countries with actual healthcare systems collect relevant data. Here in the US the number of deaths and ER admissions to teens, or anyone else due to over the counter medications, were counted as “overdoses” and folded into the opioid overdose numbers. These numbers might be much higher here in the US, because many people do not have healthcare access.

    I came across this in STAT of all places, https://www.statnews.com/2019/12/12/machine-learning-clinical-decision-making-limitations/? Dr Rose points out the limitations of data. Her Twitter had a link to some interesting work, https://twitter.com/sherrirose

    This article in Science Direct points the direct link between state PDMPs and herion and synthetic opioid overdoses. https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/the-association-of-state-opioid-misuse-prevention-policies-with-patient-and-provider-related-outcomes-a-scoping-review/ Those of us who saw this play out in reality, were dismissed, and ignored. We are not seeing and clear fact based science applied to public health here in the US. The media is still ignoring and misreporting the facts. https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/health/teen-overdose-death-rate/index.html A lot of the amplified literature only discusses illegal drugs, leaving out readily available OTC drugs. It is really no wonder they are still not making a dent in drug use, or the epidemic of despair.

    https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/the-association-of-state-opioid-misuse-prevention-policies-with-patient-and-provider-related-outcomes-a-scoping-review/

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955395919302749?showall%3Dtrue%26via%3Dihub

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Kathy C

    Exactly! The proof is in any mass media article about any of these topics. Spreading lies and misinformation is profitable. It is also deadly, but they don’t care about that very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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