Last year, Heather Roberts, a woman who lost her son in 2013 due in part to his prescribed medications, suggested that those concerned about prescription drug induced morbidity and mortality observe All Souls' Day by lighting a candle and sending hopeful thoughts out into the Universe...
…for the protection of all who have been, who are being, or who may in the future be, harmed by their prescribed medications;
…for the affected and their families to be listened to, taken seriously, and properly acknowledged and assisted;
…for tremendous care to be taken when medications are prescribed, as well as immediate and consistent monitoring be given for adverse effects;
…and for this ongoing wrong to be righted.
This past year we have seen some hopeful developments. The widow of Stuart Dolin won a lawsuit in Chicago against the giant, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, successfully holding the company accountable for her husband’s death after he suffered a medication-induced suicide.
A number of pharmaceutical companies behind the deceptive marketing of opioids have been hit with a huge wave of lawsuits in several U.S. jurisdictions, with one company founder being recently arrested and charged for his part in the scheme to bribe doctors and other prescribers.
Finally, RxISK (Data Based Medicine) has started a campaign in the way of offering a RxISK PRIZE, giving us fresh hope for finding effective treatments for many iatrogenic conditions, starting with the devastating condition of Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction and similar disorders where patients describe feeling as if they have been buried alive while suffering long-term loss of sexual functioning following drug treatments for depression, hair loss, and severe acne. RxISK, and the caring individuals joining with them, now represent an opportunity for real change.
We should take hope in these developments and perhaps again ask the Universe, or God, for this shift to continue so that goodness, honesty and decency may prevail in the face of epidemic rates of pharmaceutical-related illness -- from opioid dependence and death to the more hidden conditions that carry a similar burden of stigma -- including Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction, Post-Finasteride Syndrome, Post-Retinoid Sexual Dysfunction, and Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder. As these injuries are deeply traumatizing, causing damage to both physical bodies as well as to identities, it is once again suggested that we lift up the souls of all who have been affected and ask…
...that the misuse of pharmaceuticals, power and professional status begin to be addressed by current prescribers and those who influence them;
...that all who have suffered not be abandoned or forgotten, and that illness and loss not have the last word or define us;
...that a new awareness and understanding take root in the fortunate who have thus far been spared the experience of drug devastation, and from that, spring a new compassion;
… that patients and families and all who care discover just how powerful we can become when we find the courage to speak out publicly and commit ourselves to action so that the ghosts of these traumatic events may be finally laid to rest.
In a spirit of Solidarity with all who are or have been touched by drug devastation, and aided by those whose words and action inspire me, I will be lighting my candle at 5:00 pm Eastern Time out of love and respect for those who have suffered or continue to suffer — both the living and departed.