Changing America’s Prescription Drug Conversation To Acknowledge Some People Need Medication

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Whether it’s fueled by the perception we are all over medicated taking happy pills for life’s least little woes not actual depression, popping a Xanax or a Paxil instead of  learning how to manage stress and our feelings, lessen our workloads, not be people pleasing doormats, obsessing over how many friends we have or don’t on Facebook, taking prescription antacids meant for people with real gastric, esophageal problems when a change in diet, laying off the cheeseburgers and getting exercise would solve our problem. The media prevailed, only partially true, notion that big pharma’s biggest job now is manufacturing pills for 80 year old’s well past normal sexual prime or desire to get an erection, a middle age guy who wouldn’t have a problem if he wasn’t overweight, over stressed, over eating and can’t walk up the block while shoving more and more pills at us to buy for more and more money, promoting take a pill for that rather than make the lasting changes to better your health. Any conversation on medication, prescription drugs and our supposed compulsive tendency to reach for a pill before trying anything else incomplete without admitting the lingering pushback against vaccines either still believed by some parents to cause autism or simply too many and too much too soon for little bodies. Stir in the dire warnings about superbugs coupled with cautions on too many anti-biotics, anti-biotic resistance and is it any wonder people need Xanax, Paxil and Valium to function, raise kids, not be afraid of door knobs, public toilets and GERMS? Or the prevailing attitude ADHD, ODD and the alphabet soup of  ‘behavioral disorders’ purportedly effecting kids so drastically necessitating they be put on powerful drugs one, wasn’t around back in the day, two would be better handled with the firm hand of discipline woefully lacking in this country. Finally 3, eliminated if teachers knew how to teach, had small enough class sizes and manageable curriculums where the youngest children didn’t have to sit like little drones, art and music too expensive for corrupted school systems in cities with officials lining their own pockets, there is a real negative sentiment toward medication currently sweeping across America unofficially known as the medication capital, overmedication capital of the world. Focused on these we have forgotten the history of medication and its positive impact on the human condition as far back as the creation of penicillin or the polio vaccine in the 1950’s; immunosuppressant’s have made organ and bone marrow transplants an increasing standard success often giving young people, sick through no fault of their own, years more life, a chance at a full life. Drugs, pills, medications, injections that have cured forms of cancer, put them permanently in remission; AIDS has gone from an epidemic to a chronic disease in this country, as opposed to Africa, thanks to tireless research and availability of what, medications. Many forms of cancer slated to follow the AIDS treatment/management pattern in the coming years reducing it too to a chronic disease; persons on a regiment of chemo once debilitated, suffering more from the cure/treatment than the disease itself currently see hope in secondary medications to increase blood counts allowing them to be more active, continue working, do daily tasks previously beyond such treatment patients. Medications, prescriptions that bought us time to do things like map the human genome, identify genetic based disorders, kept people alive long enough to notice the hereditary, congenital nature of diseases like Cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and develop testing methods for those markers in people. Offered genetic testing now beginning to prevent further spread of those genetic problems, the first wave of ‘designer babies’ will be ones sans known genetic anomalies responsible for disease, life altering, debilitating disorders. And we have seen what happens when you start to not have fully vaccinated populations in the Western world; measles outbreaks on U.S. soil, the first in decades, were the direct result of refusals to vaccinate. We saw what happened when there weren’t drugs to treat, even mange symptoms, a plan of action regarding epidemics like Ebola when they hit America; people justifiable incredulous it took 40 years to get a new anti-biotic to treat drug resistant TB, less for scientific development and more for the love of getting the pharmaceutical companies, scientists and select researchers to put in the time, effort toward something that won’t generate a big pay day on the back end, not to mention hoops required to jump through to get the money for the research and development to begin with. Widely misunderstood when bashing ‘big pharma,’ confronted with the young pharmaceutical CEO who suddenly raised the cost of a life-saving drug exponentially for huge profit (unequivocally wrong and unnecessary), is the new anti-biotic, new cancer drug, Ebola symptom manger, arthritis medicine, psoriasis treatment doesn’t cost $20; it costs say 2 to 20 million (all in development), the subsequent pills cost $20. Whatever you are taking them for, people are taking them for, all drugs aren’t bad, all uses for medication aren’t a sign of over medicating a single person or an entire population, all drugs are not a modern abomination, an evil.

In our frenzied fervor against overmedicated kids, exposés showing foster children being put on strong psychotropic drugs a Band-Aid substitute for stable parents, constant parenting and knowing someone will be there for them, calling ADHD and related behavioral disorders made up we ignore famous cases like Ty Pennington who once described being put on medication in college and being able to see the soccer field in a whole new way, see and understand where he needed to be for the first time. Lisa Ling who was diagnosed almost 2 years ago at age 40 while doing a story on ADHD for her OWN network show, recognizing the symptoms in herself, finally having an answer to her lack of focus, an explanation for what she has had to fight, been so frustrated by all her life. Notice too, the doctor giving said diagnosis offered the option of medication, assuring her it wasn’t a bad thing since she clearly had a biological problem paying attention, but it wasn’t the only thing he offered; he suggested adding to the coping strategies she already had plus new ones to increase her focus, better her life. Dealing with kids then it’s about teaching those strategies, tapping into how they learn and assimilate information best, finding their niche when it comes to colleges and employment. Worth highlighting, even the ‘new’ approach to ADHD, revelations many children are placed on meds before trying behavioral therapy, therapist advice to change typical parenting of this kind of child, substituting nagging, shouts to stop that, don’t do that, fighting constantly between mom and dad about child X’s behavior, for catching your child doing something right and praising them, continuous atta-boys centered around listening, paying attention, controlling their bodies i.e. keeping their hands to themselves, family featured soon added medication too. Unsurprisingly— conveniently, intentionally overlooked is when prescribed for above children it works, helps drastically alleviate symptoms, sometimes making it possible for other therapies, treatments to take hold; example, my friends soon to be 9 year old son diagnosed by the local autism/ADHD center and immediately medicated shortly before kindergarten; she was suddenly able to take him to the store, him stay with her, listen, tell him what to do if he got lost and him absorbed it 24 hours after starting his prescription. But ADHD isn’t real and all meds are bad. She didn’t know how bad his neurological deficits, mental processes were until they stopped working at the end of that year (weight based medication and growth) and he kept asking why he’d gotten sent home, suspended and couldn’t go back after running off at one point, getting a hold of scissors and cutting up things at another and shoving a kid off the slide, 3 strikes and you’re out of summer school. After his kindergarten year and a fight to adjust his meds she sought help from the local behavioral health center who, in conjunction with the school district, put him in a behavior reinforcement program, his doctor added a mood stabilizer to his standard ADHD medication and sleep medication to curb random aggression. Not until she detailed his wondering out of their house middle of the night/early morning and getting into neighbors cars last year did his doctor finally add a secondary impulse med and change his sleep pills from something that never worked well to begin with; result he stopped running, has been allowed to go on his field trips this year and every problem was a breakdown in his program not in the child himself, doing so well his mother is considering dismissing him from behavioral health services. My friend’s firstborn is autistic requiring a mood stabilizer to quell anger and aggression, which isn’t all that uncommonly needed and necessary in treating the disorder providing that important foundation for other therapies to work, therapies and counseling that had been tired, were ongoing, still only partially effective. But because he tends toward the more violent side of the spectrum while being quite verbal she is seen as a problem parent, failing at discipline, her son ‘like every other kid today’ suffering from a behavior problem that began at home significantly hampering treatment; one teacher’s aide saying he couldn’t be autistic because he speaks. Yet the mood stabilizer is the only thing that has made a marked difference where she doesn’t have to worry about him hurting his younger brothers, his moods aren’t all over the place, no more tantrums. Multiplying public skepticism and outrage, thought made up anyway disorders and their sufferers along with the drugs to treat them have also been associated with school shooters, mass shooters piled onto rampant over diagnosis; thus citizens are reluctant to believe they pose any benefit to anyone especially children. Forget every school shooter was dealing with bullying in school, problems at home and possible mental health problems, if not all 3, and every mass shooter was some variation of mentally ill at the time they committed their act if not in the days, weeks, months leading up to it. As if it would have been bad thing had mass shooters and medication come in contact earlier; nearly every case proves the exact opposite. There can be little argument had Jared Loughner received help, doubtlessly including medications cataloging his symptoms, 6 people would still be alive and Gabrielle Giffords would be hail and whole without the harrowing experience; had James Holmes just continued with his school’s psychiatrist, been prescribed standard anti-psychotic medication, taken said medication, 12 people might not be dead 70 others grappling with injuries, nightmares of merely going to a movie theater going so wrong. Can there be any other scenario than the one were had Adam Lanza gotten anything close to the proper help, medication or no, we wouldn’t have been faced with Sandy Hook? Most recent cases illustrating variations on the same; Christopher Harper-Mercer was self-professed to be on the autism spectrum receiving no help from a disinterested mother who thought he could manage alone as she had, Robert Dear, the Planned Parenthood shooter, was predictably found incompetent to stand trial, headed for a state mental hospital where he will be treated, attempted to be rendered sane/fit for trial joining both Loughtner and Holmes; finally here, the Massachusetts mall stabber Arthur DaRosa was described by his family as manic depressive, suicidal, exhibiting odd behavior even checking himself into a hospital psych ward the very night before the attack then being sent home. We hated Jake Lloyd in Star Wars, bullying and horrible, baseless attacks masquerading as acting critique, yet we feel free to watch him get arrested and tut at a child actor gone bad even though he has been diagnosed schizophrenic, dido Amanda Bynes whom Hollywood lamented losing as a great talent to the very fame that taints so many until she was diagnosed the same and left Hollywood for her own wellbeing. Britney Spears was another thought to be claimed by the Hollywood maw until it was discovered she was being drugged by her sleaze manager; information brought out in court papers where her parents won conservatorship over her and her estate. Contrasted, Kirsten Bell who isn’t a woeful example of millennial me, me, me navel gazing, how many things can be mentally, emotionally, psychologically wrong with one person, failings of the modern twin coddling and anxious culture; she is instead a person with, a 21st century picture of facing mental illness, self-checking and introspection it takes to manage that mental illness. A person who ‘got on meds at a young age’ for anxiety because she had a family history and a foresighted nurse mother who sat her down, explained the family component, told her what to look for, and when she saw it in herself she got help. The mirror opposite of say Donald Trump discussed last week, and we wonder why celebrities don’t seek mental health help, neither do members of the public, ‘everyone’ keeps going on rampages.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/11/leave_jake_lloyd_alone_we_need_compassion_for_mental_illness_not_snark/

Kirsten Bell said we would never deny a diabetic their insulin; context being why would we willfully deny people mental health medications for maladies increasingly able to be seen on brain scans, blood tests, good question housing no real, good answer. Today unfortunately you can’t be too sure of the former considering how quickly a disease like diabetes is correlated to lifestyle, specifically chronically bad lifestyle choices; no matter if you are dealing with a type 1 juvenile diabetic whose pancreas has simply stopped making insulin whatever the reason. Versus a type 2 diabetic with insulin resistance caused by being overweight, eating the wrong foods. Similarly America’s increasing laundry list comprising common drugs consumed by the masses in lieu of healthier choices heartburn prescriptions, allergy tamers, sleeping pills are showing marked potential to cause dementia, multiple warnings carried on the winds of research to avoid, be exceedingly careful prescribing such drugs to senior citizens; readers can guess where this is going, quickly picking up on a pattern?  Looking slightly deeper, despite studies, cognition tests it isn’t even clear, to the layman at least, if the issues detected are products of dementia spikes, drug side effects, drug interactions between competing, dueling meds prescribed by different doctors, or underlying disease. Drowsiness, fatigue found in conjunction with allergy pills; every person who’s taken anti-histamine class drugs knows that fog.  Endless news stories chronicle the Ambien effect that has people eating, walking, driving while in one stage of sleep or another yet not aware, so of course they’ll have negative brain performance tests. Warfarin and dementia being the latest alarm bell to aging individuals, their families and doctors; except hold on, they still can’t answer if atrial fibrillation, where the greatest chances were seen to develop dementia if you took Warfarin because of, is the true culprit or the blood thinner itself. Bigger problem encompassing seniors and meds is the host of specialists they see and the medicines prescribed, doctors poorly communicating with each other, their patient. A shortage of doctors practicing geriatric medicine, fully appreciative of older persons’ sensitivities to medication increased, unusually drastic negative side effects, not the drugs themselves. Sure anti-biotic overuse may be a significant problem, but can we, do we want to imagine a world with no anti-biotics, where minor infections wounds lead to death for the lack of them; little thought given to the reality anti-biotics are temporary use drugs usually given in 10 day courses. Even lesser thought given to specialty cases where anti-biotics are called for say the formerly conjoined twins now separated and prone to infections due to steal rods in the backs to correct spine curvature, my friend’s kids who are prone to pneumonia, bronchitis particularly in winter thanks to their asthma, who’ve had both the viral and bacterial kinds of each, her youngest who had an ear infection so bad fluid was draining out of his ear, his doctor worried about a perforated ear drum; for the record he was given those anti-biotics and sent directly to ear nose and throat for ear tubes, like his next eldest brother who after 6 infections in almost as many months had the same procedure, no further problems. Should we stop using anti-biotics to treat urinary tract infections (UTI) other low level forms of sepsis; hopefully a western, enlightened society wouldn’t be that stupid, especially people sans medical degrees, licenses. True to form we’ve forgotten what long term prescription drugs do for the individuals taking them, another autism case (link below) is on medications for “everything from epilepsy to anxiety;” too many people probably got stuck on the implied over medication or aww poor young man to remember what anti- convalescent, anti-seizure pills do, allow epileptics to drive a car, hold a job, attain independence, self-sufficience oh and prevent ongoing brain damage, need for invasive surgery removing one whole half of a person’s brain. Assuming seizures aren’t occurring in both lobes, on both sides of their head. The finger wagging multi-drug combo and assistive technologies, family support allow Ben to attend college, led to him publishing essays locally. Arthritis medications do what, juvenile or rheumatoid, old age, overuse  related arthritis medicines treat pain, inflammation allowing people to move more also alleviating symptoms simultaneously curtailing joint damage. Stokes are going up in the younger age bracket 25-44, concurrently going down in persons past 65, added to the usual go to suspects obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyles, which are rampant speculation not actual evidence, were sports injuries, hormonal changes from birth control and undiagnosed heart problems; we’ve seen this before cardiologists randomly go into schools and test children to find a host of cardio issues missed by sports physicals, not normally screened for in children, some requiring surgery. However under the ‘logic’ suddenly employed lately we shouldn’t give the stroke effect reversal medication known to dissolve clots, limit permanent damage because it’s medication and ‘all medication are bad, all medications are the enemy;’ does their philosophy hold true regarding domestic violence victims choked around their neck causing damage, them to throw a clot going to their brain, result a stroke?  What about the maintenance medicines the featured 28 year old NBC Nightly News profiled was probably put on doled out beside diet and exercise recommendations to prevent future occurrences since the one she had was significant enough to impair both physical function and force her to relearn things like reading; bringing us to another uneasily answered conundrum for the ‘no medication’ crowd, once a person has a disease, doesn’t whether they caused it themselves become irrelevant to treating that disease?  Thiazides are the best first choice in treating high blood pressure, statins based on research have even been recommended for healthy people to stave off the heart disease and heart attack associated with high cholesterol; yes you can get a study, dubious research to support anything you want it to when skewed just the right way. But which one do you want as a patient, a doctor, the reassurance your blood pressure will stay within normal levels if you take this medication according to instruction or the constant monitoring, restriction, home blood pressure monitors, worry something could go hugely wrong via one dietary misstep, not knowing the ‘natural maintenance’ isn’t working until you have a major medical event?  Dido with statins do you want lower cholesterol, all the good that ultimately does the patient in the long run or do you want continued prolonged high cholesterol while they make recommended dietary changes paramount in cases where cholesterol readings may be hereditary or have a non-dietary source; what about obstinate patients you can’t get to make changes, make enough changes, but you can get them to take a pill, which is worse them on a pill or potentially dead?  And, a ‘bar them from medications’ certainly predicted to save, prolong their life, maintain, increase function, prevent degradation because they brought it on themselves attitude has to violate some portion of the Hippocratic oath, the bedrock of medical ethics. Ignored using denial worthy of the greatest drug addict or politician, as you age, normal processes in your body are subject to the standard decay rate known as time, you will find yourself taking medication, taking more, different types of medication. In 1996 my grandmother had a stroke, came home with a double digit number of medications to correct conditions also discovered while she was in the hospital, medications added as her medical needs changed, heart pills after a bout of congestive heart failure, thyroid medicine after routine blood thinner blood monitoring turned up a problem, but she came home to live another 15 years most of those valuable, quality years despite stroke damage.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/21/it_might_not_be_dementia_how_big_pharma_is_harming_our_senior_citizens_partner/

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/24/i_am_here_silenced_by_autism_young_man_finds_his_voice/

http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/strokes-on-the-rise-among-younger-adults-study-finds-684819523846

The opioid epidemic couldn’t have come at a worst time, when pain as a medical problem, as an integral part of treatment was starting to get the recognition it deserves, when the drug induced coma has become a standard solution for large body percentage burn victims, key in treating at least one woman injured on 9/11 medicated, slowly woken up after a year, after the previously torturous twice a day bandage changes, being dumped into a tub and having what skin you have unceremoniously ripped off, dumped onto a cold mental table for similar. And no matter how much you scream, beg they continue to do this to you in the name of treatment, saving your life, no matter how much you, somewhere in the tiniest portion of your brain not occupied by pain fog, understand they must do this it’s overshadowed by the lack of compassion, comprehension they should do something about the PAIN and you might be able to stop screaming, see a point in saving the life you could care less about at the moment. Deaths of famous faces Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and now Prince, disclosure of the heroine epidemic spreading like wildfire through America thanks to doctors ‘prescribing opiates like candy,’ prescriptions that began as legitimate pain management for serious injury graduating to an illicit drug problem to recreate the euphoric high, stave off the physical withdraw symptoms, piled onto the unethical actions of doctors like Conrad Murry and Lisa Tseng leaving an imprint on the public all pain management, at the risk of redundancy, where the opioid epidemic originated in the first place, is a sham. As does the crackdown on good doctors seen as prescribing too many opioids, too freely, but pain is the 5th vital sign, should be treated as such, just as important as heart rate, respirations, temperature, blood pressure, symptoms pointing to someone having a heart attack, stroke or acute appendicitis conditions that need immediate attention by a physician. Remembering Conrad Murry was an ill-equipped, mediocre doctor blinded by the fame surrounding his patient who unscrupulously used a hospital anesthesia drug to aid a patient in getting to sleep; facts that supersede odd going directly to incompetent, why he was put on trial and jailed. In that same vain Lisa Tseng was put on trial because her patients, based on testimony, were stumbling into pharmacies incoherent, obviously high yet holding a prescription for more drugs, highly controlled substances. Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose mixing anti-anxiety and sleep medication; Whitney Huston and tragically a year later her daughter Bobby Christina died of illicit drug use plus alcohol and prescription pills completely separate from the opioid epidemic fueled by doctors’ ‘reckless’ doling out of powerful pain drugs. Going as far back in the Hollywood death vault as Britney Murphy and Anna Nicole Smith, rumored to have been poisoned by heavy metals Murphy’s original cause of death was pneumonia, secondary causes being anemia and drug intoxication; missed by a public either in mourning or shaking their head at another famous person succumbed to the fast life, the drugs found in her system weren’t illicit street stuff, weren’t even necessarily accidental overdose varieties/levels. They included acetaminophen (Tylenol) L-methamphetamine (big word for nasal decongestant) Chlorphenamine (prescription grade antihistamine) and Hydrocodone infamously known as a strong pain reliever also is a prescription level cough suppressant coroner’s report underscoring the adverse physiological effects especially in her weakened state. Absent, any recklessness by the patient or maleficence, negligence by the doctor; she probably tired over the counter decongestants, cough meds and fever/pain meds, when they didn’t work she went to a doctor. Medication mixture happening because one set of medicines had yet to leave her system before the other was added, not realizing prescriptions mean don’t take over the counter items like Tylenol; n-said (Aspirin Ibuprofen) toxicity and accidental acetaminophen overdoses aren’t new via mixing the two classes of medicines. Smith had the usual suspects of dangerous prescription drugs in her system at time of death Valium, Ativan, sedatives; compound that with prescriptions under aliases, in the name of her then current boyfriend Howard K. Stern and everyone assumed they knew what was going on medical professionals not immune to jumping to conclusions. What’s interesting is speculation from friends, her inner circle she had lupus. Brought up because Michael Jackson was confirmed on autopsy to have had lupus along with vitiligo, arthritis and horrific burns on his scalp from his 1984 pyrotechnics accident leaving him almost totally bald; puts new perspective on his 1993 ‘addiction’ to pain killers. Lupus and sleep problems go hand in hand according to the Good Morning America expert who spoke to the news morning show at the time; it doesn’t explain why a doctor would ever use something like Propofol outside a hospital but it does explain perhaps why he had such trouble sleeping. If Anna Nicole Smith too had lupus it renders a partial explanation, could both their underlying conditions have played a bigger role in their early deaths than initially realized, things you don’t find as a coroner ascertaining a cause of death unless you are able to see their complete medical history at the same time?  Returning to Prince his autopsy information has not been made public, his toxicology report revealing what drugs, if any, he had in his system at time of death has not been completed let alone released; facts that haven’t stopped the identical jumping to unfounded conclusions because Percocet was found in his possession, in his Paisley Park home, incongruent with his ultra-clean living, vegan lifestyle expounded on by friends. A different view provided by the Raw Story author below reminding readers of Prince’s double hip replacement, chronic toll his performances took on his body and that it is very feasible he died not of pain pill OD but of chronic pain, trying to alleviate real physical pain rather than the psychological aguish of a ‘tortured genius;’ absolutely spot on talking about how chronic pain is received by the medical community despite medical documentation of physical injury reiterated in the comments. One describing their quest for relief from cluster headaches (a known condition nicknamed the suicide headache due to pain so bad sufferers routinely commit suicide), instance 2 a person with a joint injury who was switched from one medication to the other owing to the negative perception of opioids, moving cities and doctors whose current physician asked them not to scream so loud during painful injections that didn’t manage their pain as well as the opioids did. What doctors were/are using to treat the pain, bigger than a choice between over the counter and prescription offerings and getting to why pain medicine, opioids especially, eventually graduating to all pain medicine only a matter of extent, is so addictive?  Why do they have to get you high, induce physical dependence, polar opposite psychological dependence, so quickly to reduce pain; we know why heroine (same drug family as opioids) antidote is so hard to come by, select heroine effect blockers are even illegal in the United States—‘because drug addicts are degenerates’ and getting off drugs shouldn’t be too easy for these morally bankrupt individuals. But why is there no medical apparatus functioning akin to a pacemaker that can easily be implanted, attached to a patient blocking, reducing pain signals sent to the brain from an injury site keeping sensation, sensitivity to hot and cold, leaving intact minor discomfort to ensure patient keeps still, doesn’t reinjure themselves doing too much, adjusted by the patient the way they do pain medication in hospitals nationally, no need for lockout codes like on IV pain med drips? Because the FDA, CDC can institute all the guidelines it wants to, all the laws in the world can be passed and you will still be left combating the pain problem, people seeking illicit opioids for relief; suck it up, stop being a wuss, questioning male masculinity, asking them to be a man, man up never did cut it and won’t now.  People who are in chronic pain thanks to slipped discs, pinched nerves, rare diseases, profound joint damage that cannot be fixed, the injury is too old to fix, shouldn’t be called ‘drug seekers’ because they need continued pain relief to do daily, normal tasks, because their injury is too old to be remedied by cutting edge technique.

https://www.accesshollywood.com/articles/shocking-new-claim-did-anna-nicole-have-lupus-58331/

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/prince-did-not-die-from-pain-pills-he-died-from-chronic-pain/

Further, much of the complaint isn’t just the negative effects on people taking too many drugs, the social structure and cultural fixes that aren’t occurring because we are too busy throwing a pill at lager issues, the practical ‘real and present danger’ of numerous citizens ‘hopped up’ on drugs and going ‘crazy,’ permanent alterations to the brain thanks to proliferations involving psychiatric medications, isn’t the curative medications that won’t be there when there is a true need because we’ve overused things like anti-biotics to where they are rendered completely ineffective. 21st century concern also includes the environment, which it rightfully should, but again looking barely under the surface, forget a deep excavation, of several arguments you plainly see their worry isn’t centered on the drugs, the byproducts of making them. Take the Salon.com partnered article titled ‘America’s pill popping is making our fish anxious and possibly getting into our vegetables’; it’s about unintended drug exposure in animals dealing with our wastewater dumped into the nations waterways seemingly indiscriminately, according to authors, and people who eat vegetables irrigated with treated, recycled waste water. First logical question, why treated waste water is being used to irrigate food crops when fresh water should be; recycled waters originating in toilets, washing machines pumped back into use for the toilets, washing machines they came out of through separate dedicated water pipelines in homes so recycled toilet water, washing machine waters never touch the food supply or drinking tap. Kudos for finding and discussing the problem, yet how exactly will taking less drugs and potentially denying them to people who actually need them help solve the problem when contamination has already obviously taken place? Beyond it’s like they just woke up yesterday and realized they should test for these things before pronouncing water clean, suddenly recognized a need to refine their recycling techniques for something as vital as water before putting it on food, pumping it into home water faucets to drink—dah!; where was the preliminary testing, simulations and extrapolation of potential consequences before deciding to do this on a large scale, because water contamination isn’t new, they even started out with water known to be exceedingly dirty owing to where it had originally been. Why didn’t they test recycled water before and after treatment to see A- what was in it and B- based on those findings, limitations on what you can cycle out, treat water for, determine where it was and wasn’t safe to use said recycled water; upon testing untreated water and discovering amongst the usual toxic culprits that could make humans sick the remnants of medication, why weren’t treatment parameters geared toward eliminating those remnants or, as stated previously, recycling it back into toilets alone?  It is another epic recycling fail in a long line of failures and marginal successes, due to oversimplification, lagging exploration, expansion of recycling technology, overestimation regarding what recycling can do causing headlong rushes into ‘miracle’ solution X, fueled by doomsday fearmongering reactive desperation not the drugs, how many or how little we prescribe, or don’t, take or don’t, that remains the core problem. Hardly a coincidence that the areas seeing this negative outcome to what was largely an experiment at public expense are the ones who rely heaviest on water recycling programs joining ones overseas is California in the U.S. most populous state in the union, a gigantic population built smack dab in the middle of a dessert owing to its proximity to the ocean; ships continuing to represent a good portion of how goods are transported both inside and outside the country. Curiously the author mentions similar findings in Israel and Spain where water is scarce, water recycling is common to meet public need; tell me, are we to believe Israel and Spain are following America’s dubious lead and drugging their populations up to the gills or is it more aptly they have the same poor recycling techniques for what they are trying to accomplish, put up against the task of an uncontaminated fresh food/water supply? Established is the seething bias against mental health medication, palliative medications for ‘lifestyle related’ illnesses, high blood pressure, diabetes that treat the symptoms rather than the underlying problem too much salt, sugar and fat, not enough exercise. But the cited study out of Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine (Jerusalem) looked at active ingredients in anticonvulsant drugs seeping into our vegetables, into us via recycled water irrigation, so we make the problem disappear by not giving epileptics their medication, is that the implication we are supposed to take from reading? Even the mention of mental health drug effects on fish are outcomes derived from lab experiments not existing flathead  minnows living in the environment, found exhibiting, suffering from X level of contamination effecting behavior and ‘brain expression;’ if they wanted to prove their point University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers should have gone for wild subjects. Dulling theirs and the authors argument further they only found this depressed, altered brain expression in one singular drug, active ingredient in Prozac, no other mental health drug apparently tested; shortened facts that didn’t keep the Salon author from pontificating the devastation wrought from all those other anti- depressant anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic medications put into both parts of the environment thanks to our excrement. Speaking of existing, known, tangible contamination brings us again back around to irrigated vegetables, readers will doubtlessly find it woefully short sighted, incredibly one sided, absent lessening the drugs we take, lessening their filtration into natural water supplies, arguably the better of two options, there is no mention of developing a technique to clean said natural waterways of the ‘medical waste’ already there, limiting the exposure to fish, mitigating the damage to natural ecosystems. Despite recorded findings there is also no detail given on plans to cease and desist placing treated, recycled water on vegetables, a less contaminable place it can/could be used still conserving water, freeing up fresh water to be used thus preserving the quality of raw food i.e. vegetables, cropping off the piece with useless commentary on fish not metabolizing mediation like we do, mystifying who exactly had to be told Barring that, meanwhile as they get any of the above actual solutions underway are vegetables available at supermarkets in the U.S., overseas grown, irrigated this way, possibly susceptible to this problem labeled giving any indication to the consumer? Are there alternative options for people who may be more vulnerable to food contaminations, oddities in the food supply, people who are unnerved by the idea of fluid that was formerly toilet water (and not the perfume) watering the vegetables on their plate, easily guessed not; again, another gaping hole in supposed 21st century solution to common problems.

http://www.salon.com/2016/05/04/americas_pill_popping_is_making_our_fish_anxious_and_possibly_getting_into_our_vegetables/

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/club-drug-ketamine-rescues-suicidal-patients-study-n571571

Forming the question would it matter so much if there weren’t as big an environmental impact, would the issue be such a topic for discussion if there were plenty of anti-biotics, less fear needed medications won’t be effective in the shadow of overuse? Never voiced the concept we need both a reduction in frivolous use of anti-biotics, handing them out to sooth patients who actually have viral infections or using them instead of symptom treaters for viral infections and new, better drugs to handle resistance and superbugs; that many of our ‘ineffective” anti-biotics are also extremely old hampering their ability to treat constantly evolving bacteria. Interesting we’re sick of school shooters, mass shooters and madmen being missed before they commit their mayhem despite overwhelming warning signs but refuse to pay for the public mental health services that would have gotten them help, support changes in laws resulting in proper notifications, upgrades to registries of people not allowed to buy guns including a wider range of mental health parameters, chanting stop drugging us all on top of it. Anyone else left with the reverberation of make up your mind, you can have one or the other not both resounding in their head? Simultaneously Andrea Yates was a monster killing her 5 children Hayden Panettiere gets a news blurb and largely sympathy for getting help prior to harming her child; we’d say yay for progress except we get a creepy feeling thinking about all the children lost to postpartum depression parents and it’s much more potent cousin postpartum psychosis because citizens of the general public had cultivated mystical wonders around motherhood and doctors weren’t paying attention, enough attention to suspect a problem, women too shamed, embarrassed or too far gone to be honest with their medical professional. Remember Jake Lloyd got snark at the revelation of his schizophrenia diagnosis blasted by the media not himself; outside the weird bubble signifying Hollywood people merely rumored to have a mental illness, severity, degree be dammed, they are treated like the current generations typhoid Marry to be avoided as if just being around them will cause you to become sick too, mentally unstable too, true for perhaps the former not the latter. ‘Club Drug’ Ketamine Rescues Suicidal Patients: Study; echo chamber in full swing spouting they will try anything in the name of research. Dismissing it can’t be any more harmful than electro-convulsive therapy dressed up title for electro-shock, reentering the public consciousness by way of the movie A Beautiful Mind; naysayers clueless it’s still used on profoundly depressed American patients.  Does it matter it previously had the designation club drug, not to the people who love a suicidal person, not to the suicidal person once rendered no longer suicidal, hesitance found in people’s perception of the drug independent dosages certainly low enough to avoid a k-hole reaction; that it has such effect points to an imbalance of something, slowing of synapsis treatable upon added research, further study in the future, in the intervening years Ketamine keeping people once hopeless and despairing  literally alive. Ironic the same people shouting no medication, too much medication are the same ones handing out death glares to parents of obviously autistic children when they have a meltdown in public, we have to have specialized movie showings and theater performances so autistic children can attend sans disturbing ‘normal’ viewers/participants. One of the reasons the therapy first approach won’t work on ADHD is because it requires a level of attention parents aren’t willing to pay to their child, think it is too much praise, creating coddled, weak, can’t function without constant pats on the back adults, on the outskirts can’t because of other children, siblings in the family; if when an adult your life is chaos, relationships crap because of your inability to focus, remember, impulsivity equaling criminality oh well it’s a character flaw, you’re a degenerate. Yet not all impetus behind ADHD drugs was the influence of big pharmaceutical companies hoping to get millions on a new pill rather doctors, behavioral specialists exc. who noticed a problem in children that even when parenting was corrected didn’t stop, added popularity of brain scans showing a real problem and wanting a solution to it. Alluded to earlier, my friend’s almost 9 year old and the only problems he had this year being a failure of his program; that failure couched in a 2nd grade teacher teaching for 35 years who thought she knew everything failing to listen when his mother ticked off the signs he was ready to run. Failure to keep students engaged causing him to wander off from trips to the bathroom to be found hiding behind shelves in the library; failure of child management leaving him in the classroom during recess something that could have happened to anyone just read the children’s story Lucy Didn’t Listen, because she couldn’t count heads before leaving the room. As my friend said she leaned that working at a daycare; now it might sound as if I am making the ADHD is invented to excuse bad behavior, other problems believers’ case for the until you get to school pushback against putting the deemed necessary aide with him, a revolving door of aides interrupting his need for routine, the final aide’s failure to put him on the bus resulting in him wandering down the street toward home unwilling to wait for the bus, indicating he still has issues, progress to make to moderate his behavior to normal commiserate with his age. It’s just that medication makes progressive strides possible. Drugs in their prescription form aren’t bad they treat disease, save lives, make the quality of those lives better; when did we lose that in calling specific disorders made up, when did we suddenly think we knew better than doctors, scientists about anything part from ourselves, believe it, our kernel of self-knowledge, gave us free reign to judge someone else?

 

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About Natasha Sapp

Proclaiming an edgy voice of reason to America,while bringing back the common sense to social issues.

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