At a rate of 16.9 prescriptions filled per capita, we might as well be named honorary apothecaries and begin running pharmacies out of our bathrooms. The only problem is we need our drugs. Desperately. Because 65.9 percent of us are obese. The national average is 60. The heart disease death rate in Tennessee is 220 per 100,000 of us versus 190 nationally. Ten percent of us have diabetes. Eight percent is the average.
In just 10 years, the number of prescriptions filled in this country has risen nearly 40 percent. Spending on prescriptions is six times what it was in 1990. Are we really that much fatter, that much more sedentary, more diseased than we were in the ’90s? Probably not. Are prescription drug sales reps sweetening the pot for some doctors to push their company's scripts? Are prescription drug companies spending untold billions pushing drugs on us using gauzy pastoral scenes and earnest-looking faces — which, really, is the mass-market equivalent of a tranquilized-looking club rat with too much hair gel hawking Xanax bars in the bathroom? (After all, the strobe lights and the sweaty bodies make you anxious, so maybe you need it.)
Anyway, rounding out the list of over-prescribed states are the usual Southern/Appalachian suspects: West Virginia took first place, followed by us, Alabama, Kentucky, etc.