Teresa’s September 2017 article “Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair With Prescription Medication,” is one of five finalists in the personal service category, for magazine journalism that serves readers’ needs and aspirations.
Like its author, the article gets straight to the point. “If you’re like most Americans, you probably start your day with a hot shower, a cup of coffee — and a handful of pills,” it begins, adding: “It turns out Americans take more pills today than at any other time in recent history — and far more than people in any other country.
“Much of that medication use is lifesaving or at least life-improving. But a lot is not.”
“Too Many Meds?” goes on to answer its own question. Almost 1.3 million people went to U.S. emergency rooms in 2014 because of adverse drug effects; 124,000 people died. And an estimated $200 billion a year is spent on unnecessary and improper use of medication.
What to do about it? The article praises the work of “slow medicine” practitioners like Dr. Victoria Sweet, who says that before reflexively scribbling a prescription, physicians need to take time “to get to the bottom of what’s making people sick — including medications in some cases — and [give] the body a chance to heal.” And it offers a common-sense list of steps patients can take to get control over what they’re putting into their bodies.
Winners of the Ellies — so named for the elephant-shaped statue they receive — will be announced by the American Society of Magazine Editors on March 13.