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Are Celebrity Overdoses Foreshadowing a National Epidemic?

In her new book “Addict Nation,” TV host Jane Velez-Mitchell explores America’s love affair with prescription drugs.

The list of celebrities who have overdosed on legal prescription drugs is long and growing fast. Music legend Michael Jackson died after his doctor gave him a head-spinning cocktail of drugs including Valium, Lorazepam, and Midazolam, plus the painkiller Lidocane, topped off with Propofol. Health Ledger OD’d in his fashionable Manhattan loft on a combination of Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Diazepam, Alprazolam, Temazepam, Vicodin, Xanax , Restoril and Unisom. Anna Nicole Smith’s autopsy revealed Lexapro, Zoloft, Cipro, Klonopin, Valium, Lorazepam, Ativan, Robaxin and the powerful sleep aid Chloral Hydrate in her system. The feisty TV host and author of “Addict Nation-An Intervention for America,” Jane Velez-Mitchell says “The high profile tragedies we cover on my show “Issues” (HLN Channel) are just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrity deaths are bringing into focus our national addiction to prescription drugs!” There’s a growing trend in America to try and solve all manner of discomfort, real or imagined, physical or emotional, with a pill. According to Velez-Mitchell, that tendency has morphed into a “cultural addiction.” Nationwide, deaths from prescription drug overdoses are the second-leading cause of accidental death behind car accidents. In some states, prescription O.D.’s are the leading cause of accidental fatalities. But, this epidemic is being, for the most part, ignored. Why? “Addict Nation” points out that there are billions of dollars made each year on legal drugs, and those industries have become our “pushers.”

In her new book Addict Nation-An Intervention for America (HCI Books, Feb. 2011), bestselling author Jane Velez-Mitchell says, "It's time to take our power back!" She believes Americans have collectively become devoted to a number of dysfunctional behaviors (including obsessive cleanliness, overeating, prescription drug dependency, sex addiction, and obsessions with technology, war, incarceration, celebrities and crime) and that the United States is in danger of "hitting bottom."

Addict Nation tackles the issue of cultural addictions, and promises to shine a light on those who would profit off of our misery. Velez-Mitchell says she's got a blueprint for change, but first we must see what is really going on. This is an intervention!

March 30, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
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