John Gralenski: More people die from legal drugs

To the editor:
With all the publicity about the problems with illegal drugs killing users, it is easy to forget that probably more people die from legal drugs prescribed by doctors.
My very best friend was almost killed by Abilify. She was on it for over a year, during which time she gradually degenerated, physically and mentally. It was so gradual that nobody noticed it happening. By Feb. of 2016 she became a resident of a nursing home. She continued to slide, and by November, it required two attendants and an electric lift to get her out of bed to the bathroom. She could not carry on a conversation, I think you could have pulled her fingernails out without much objection. Other residents were betting she wouldn't make it to Christmas. Something had to be done.
One of her doctors finally agreed to take her off Abilify—it didn't seem to be doing any good anyhow. That was on Nov. 17. By Thanksgiving, she was able to sit up in her wheelchair and was even transported out of the nursing home for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.She wasn't that good, but the change was truly dramatic. By Christmas, she was out again in her wheelchair for a family dinner. By then, she had improved enough so she was eating, smiling, gabbing and truly enjoying herself. It is no exaggeration to say she was back from the dead!
This is a terrible problem. I don't know what can be done about it, but it certainly points out what an awesome responsibility and power is in the hands of the medical people.
John Gralenski
Shelburne