When medicine meets desperation

Ross Parry

Sarah Houston, 23, is dead.

The Leeds University student died from “misadventure”, according to the coroner, after reacting badly to a weight-loss drug she had taken, known as DNP, alongside anti-depressants.

The irony in this case, as I see it, is that Miss Houston was a medical student and the fifth person in her family to train as a doctor. Apparently, all that medical knowledge wasn’t enough to change the fact that she, like 1.6m other people in the UK, suffered from an eating disorder and obsession about weight. Hospital admissions for eating disorders increased by 16 per cent between 2011 and 2012, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre. That’s almost 2,300 admissions in the year to June 2012, but nobody really knows how many people suffer from eating disorders because most of them keep it secret.

And, sadly, many turn to drugs like DNP. Miss Houston’s family, and the coroner, have pressed for further government action to limit access to such drugs. DNP is technically illegal, except for its primary use as a pesticide, but can easily be bought online at websites such as 1buydnp.com, which markets the drug as “probably the most powerful but also dangerous fat burner on planet.” The website home page adds: “Seeing results after few days is nothing impossible, DNP works also for heavy roids addict to clean receptors so they can start with new cycle again and get the results as for the first time.”

Only $3.50.

Miss Houston is not the first death. She’s number 63. Just last month, Sarmad Alladin, nicknamed “Mr Muscles”, died. He was 18. And judging by widespread chatter about DNP in online body-building forums, it’s a popular experiment. User Maztrikz on muscletalk.co.uk documents his day-to-day use of DNP, which makes excruciating reading.

Bottom line: there is plenty of help available for people with weight-loss problems or body-building addictions. But do they know they need it?

One thought on “When medicine meets desperation

  1. vixstar1314

    Reblogged this on Blog-a-tastic and commented:

    R.I.P Sarah Houston and all the others too.

    Thank you JG (jinxedgeneration) for sharing this vital article with us, which also helps to bring awareness to others about the risks that certain “medicines” can entail.

    Increasingly we are living in a society whereby “image” and certain “stereotypes” are portrayed as being “better” and “ideal”. Of course these are influenced by different aspects, however the strongest of all are the ones shown by the media. It becomes harder for people to feel comfortable in their own skins when so much around them are made to look “perfect” and when certain “images/traits/size/clothes/accessories…” are seen as making you better than others.

    When had times become so much more complex?

    I believe we should all try our best to go with what we personally think we are comfortable with. I know it is easy said than done, but if more of us don’t conform with the “typical images” that are being portrayed in our society today, then the “norm” will slowly shift thus making differences more acceptable. Therefore more people will feel comfortable as they are.


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