Yes, drugs are bad – most drugs, that is, like crack cocaine and methamphetamine. But, it seems as if many prescription drugs are equally detrimental to one’s health – to the point where they’re probably not even worth taking. If you’ve seen TV commercials advertising stuff like Nasonex or Viagra, it seems the adverse side effects outweigh any potential benefits. There’s actually a legitimate reason why this information is provided. For years pharmaceutical companies could not advertise their products on television without also listing the potential side effects.
I remember seeing a commercial for an allergy drug in the late 1990s that showed a person windsurfing through a meadow. I can’t recall the exact verbiage accompanying the ad, but I got the hint that it was to help alleviate allergies. And, what better way than to show someone gleefully hurtling through a pollen-laden field on a surfboard! Hint, hint, the commercial quaintly implied; if you suffer from allergies, you too could do this. I wondered what people with less vivacious imaginations than mine tried to make of it. I mean, I would have come up with something more direct, like rubbing your face in the furry but of a German shepherd. Or, getting drunk on beer at some rural East Texas bar and passing out in a field of bluebonnets. I once had a German shepherd and I’m from Texas, so I write what I know. For the record, I never stuck my face in that dog’s ass. I’m just trying to make a point!
Many of these drugs have the same ill side effects: headaches; diarrhea; nausea; cramping; loosened sphincters; abdominal pain; numbness; swelling of the throat; developing a fascination with Kim Kardashian; shortness of breath; loss of coordination; the urge to write a profane-laced letter to your congressman, etc. The drug Chantix, for example, has been linked to hellacious hallucinations and violent tendencies. Ambien has been associated with sleepwalking and even sleep-driving. I guess from the way people in Dallas drive, every third person in this city is on Ambien.
Now, let’s be honest. Wouldn’t you just rather just suffer from an ailment, or even die from it, than fall in love with Kim Kardashian? If I want to see hyper-tanned chicks with big butts who think they’re better than anyone else, I’ll attend a fucking drag show.
But, if you listen closely to these commercials, the dangerous side effects of certain drugs aren’t just dangerous, they’re too damn plentiful! The voice-over narration rattles them off like spit coming out of Barbara Walter’s mouth when she tries to pronounce supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Why bother?
The real problem is that Americans are too drug-dependent. We’ve become a narco-state; reaching for a pill with every ache and every cough. We want to suppress what often comes naturally – such as reacting to pollen in the air with a sneeze, or to someone who says ‘Axe’ instead of ‘Ask’ with a crow bar – by grabbing a little plastic bottle.
So, what do you folks think? I’d love to know how my readers feel about this morass. In the meantime, I need a screwdriver.
2 responses to “Bad Drug, Bad Drug!”
Here is the problem from my perspective. Some of my patients have the expectation that they will get a prescription for what ails them, even when they don’t need one. There was – for a long time – a love affair with prescription drugs, one that my generation of doctors has been taught to fight. We are in the difficult position of saying no for the first time.
There are many drugs that are necessary and do a wonderful job of easing discomfort and making the quality of life enjoyable for many people. The side effects are taken into account, weighted and monitored.
Western society is over prescribed. We are facing what could be the most dangerous point of the 21st century; the bacteria that is immune to antibiotics. There needs to be a revolution in healthcare.
Yes, absolutely, Kate! I believe the problem is especially serious here in the U.S. We have the highest rates of drug addiction in the developed world, both legal and illegal. The violence in México is due almost exclusively to the American appetite for illicit narcotics. But, the over-prescribing of those vital preventative medications poses the biggest threat to public health. Indeed, we need a revolution in our thinking.