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Rx Drug Overdoses Have Skyrocketed

It takes, sometimes, the death of a celebrity to shed light on a massive problem that regular folks have been dealing with for sometime.  Yes it’s sad that Whiteny, Amy, Elvis, and many others have succumbed to Rx drugs and have passed away.  At this writing it’s still speculation that Whitney died of a drug overdose and this will be amended when toxicology confirms her cause of death.

Light is now being beamed on this subject – yet here in South Orange County – many elected officials (Laguna Niguel) tend to feel that this is not an issue here – that these drug are being brought in from outside the area.

The parents of over 100 teens/yound adults in the past two years would tend to disagree.  When you speak with teenagers, they will tell you that it’s common knowledge that pills are available.  Many will tell you with just a singlar phone call, they can get someone who can provide Oxy, Opana, Xanax and more.  So it’s time to move on this.  Here’s an article that I will post the link from – from the Philadelphia – where a Pennsylvania lawmake is seeking to identify and help addicts though a database that would track use of medications.

We can network on Facebook – Tweet on Twitter and reach tens of thousand of people with our posts, yet we do not have real time reporting of prescriptions being issued and filled – and who is doing what to whom.  PA is tied with Ohio at 10th in the country of fatal overdoes in 2008.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – in their November 2011 publication – states:

“Deaths from prescription painkillers* have reached epidemic levels in the past decated.  The number of overdose deaths is now greater than those of deaths from heroin and cocain combined.  A big part of the problem is nonmedical use of prescription painkellers-using drugs without a prescription, or using drugs just for the “high” they cause.  In 2010, about 12 million Americans (ages 12 and older) reported nonmedical use of prescription painkillers in the past year.

Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month.  Although most of these pills were prescribed for medical purposes, many of them ended up in hands of people who misused or abuse them.

Improving the way prescription painkillers are prescribed can reduce the number of people who misuse, abuse or overdose from these powerful drugs, while making sure patients have access to safe, effective treatment.”

*”Prescription painkillers” refer to opiod or narcotic pa8in relievers including drugs such as Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) Opana (oxymorphone), and methadone.

The article goes on to say:

  • Prescription painkiller overdoses killed hearly 15,000 people in the U.S. in 2008.  That is more than 3 times the 4,000 people killed by these drugs in 1999.
  • In 2010, about 12 million Americans (age 12 or older) reported nonmedical use of prescription painkillers in the past year.
  • Nearly half a mi8llion emergency department visits in 2009 were due to people misusing or abusing prescription painkillers.
  • Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.

The supply of prescription painkillers is larger than ever.

  • The quantity of prescription painkillers sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors offices was 4 times larger in 2010 than in 1999.
  • Many states report problesm with “pill Mills” where doctors prescribe large quantities of painkillers to people who don’t need them medically.  Some people also obtain prescriptions from multiple prescribers by “doctor shopping”.

Office of Applied Studies Report:

A Day in the Life of American Adolescents:  Substance Use Facts Update

Note:  You can find this article online.  I am pulling out some important facts for your perusal.

“In the United States in 2008, almost one third of adolescents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol in the past year, one-fifth used an illicit drug, and almost one sixth smoked cigarettes.

First Substance Use:
According to the 2008 HSDUH:

  • 10.2 percent of adolsecents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol for the first time in the past year.6.0percent used an illicit drug for the first time
  • The 2008 NSDUH indicateds that, on an average day during the past year, the following number of adolescents used the indicated substances for the first time
  • 7,540 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • 3,845 smoked cigarettes for the first time;
  • 4,365 used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • 3,695 used marijuana for the first time
  • 2,466 used prescription pain relievers nonmedically for the first time
  • 1,406 used hallucinogens for the first time
  • 1,310 used inhyalants for the first time
  • 653 used cocaine for the first time
  • 628 used licit or illicit stimulants nonmedically for the fist time
  • 127 used methamphetamine for the first time, and
  • 93 used heroin for the first time.


The statistics are staggering anyway you look at them.   The governmental agencies cannot keep up with the growing numbers.

We I do know from the making of Behind The Orange Curtain, and the group of committed parents that I have met – who have lost their children to Rx drugs – that something needs to be done.  A cohesive reporting system needs to be in place.  Lawmakers need to get on board and recognize that this is an epidemic (as stated by the DEA) and it’s not going to go away unless we institute stringent laws that crack down on the prescribing and filling of these prescriptions.  Real-time accounting of this process needs to happen.  We do have the technology – someone needs to make this happen.  There should be an “APP” for that.

Behind the Orange Curtain is on schedule for completion in early spring.  Principal photography has been completed and the original music score by Roland Jenster is in the works.  We have submitted it to the Newport Beach Film Festival as a full feature documentary (as a work in progress) so we have our fingers crossed that it will be accepted.  We have many more festivals that we will be submitting to as their deadlines approach.

If you have any questions or comments – feel free to leave them on this blog, email me at  or

The new trailer can be seen at:


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Thank you in advance for supporting this film.

Natalie Costa
Behind The Orange Curtain
24310 Moulton Parkway Suite O
Laguna Woods, CA  92637