Thursday, April 30, 2009

the american way

Prescription drug use is the new American way of coping. There is so much to be stressed about; war, the environment, the economy. Anxiety is in the air. Americans like pills because they are easy to get, easy to take, and no one seems to feel guilty about the fact they are using drugs. Many of these pills are just synthesized versions of the drugs that our government is at war with. Heroin comes from the same source as vicodin, oxycontin, codiene and morphine. Amphetamines given to children in the form of Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Adderal, are basically just meth cooked by doctors. The effects and withdrawal symptoms are the same. Meanwhile, America's pharmaceutical companies are making billons of dollars every year. The long term effects of prescription drugs on the nervous system, brain, and body have yet to be fully understood by the pharmaceutical companies that create them.

Oxycontin sales were in excess of forty million dollars last year.


  1. ohhhhhh Jessica, I'm so happy that you DREW this too.
    one wonders if you had an example to draw from.

  2. When I was in high school I wanted to be a psychiatrist and my art teacher told me that I'd just be a meds pusher. While in college I was on antidepressants after years of therapy and I really do owe a lot to the medication for getting me through the depression. It's not just as easy as taking a pill and things get better. You have to do a lot of work for things to actually get better. It's true that not everyone who takes medicine actually needs it and there is a lot of money being made. But I guess what bothers me about writing medication off is that there are many people who benefit from it. I guess the conflict is does the abuse of the many destroy the helpful benefits for the few?

  3. I am glad you responded to this with your experiences. I was going to write more about mine, but I decided not to. I don't want to give off the impression that I am anti-drug or even anti-pharmaceuticals, in reality I am the opposite. I think that psychiatric medicine is by and far, a very important tool. What bothers me is the failure on the part of our doctors and pharmeceutical companies to investigate the long term effects of prolonged use of amphetamines and psychiatric meds, especially in children and adolescents.

    Psychiatric meds are not intended to be used over a long period of time. Like you said, you do work and make things better. However, painkillers are a different story, because more often than not there is no way to improve the physical problem causing the pain.

    My mom cracked several vertebrae in her back. She had surgery to clean up the mess and make some repairs, but they could only do so much. For the past six years she has been taking 260-340 codeine a month. Codeine is an opiate plus aspirin. She wants to quit taking them, but is still in so much pain. I worry about her kidneys, liver, and stomach. I know the misery of coming off a six year opiate binge would be unbearable for her. What kind of doctor lets a woman take aspirin everyday for six years? Other medications haven't worked for her because they were too strong. Codiene is a mild opiate. What does she do?

    My sister has a vicodin prescription for...nothing! Nothing at all. She says she has fibromyalgia, but I don't buy it. She is a seventeen year old girl who is home schooled. Her doctor gave them to her because she said she was in pain, but he didn't physically find anything wrong with her. Nothing broken, bruised, pulled, or injured in anyway. She takes them when she is unhappy, she takes them for fun, and she gives them to me. When she was 12-15 her doctor gave her antidepressants. She didn't seem that depressed to me, but her doctor insisted they would help. The only way to sum it up was that she basically went on a six month rampage. She was constantly crying, screaming, and throwing violent tantrums. She told me that she thought they were making her suicidal and she stopped taking them. Two years later I read an article in which the FDA linked some psych meds with increased suicidal thoughts and behavior in teens and children.

    My brother was medicated for "ADHD" as a child. I don't know when it started but I would guess he was 11 or 12. They made him a completely different version of himself, completely passive and compliant. I don't know if ADD or ADHD is real, I guess it is. I don't think the answer is medication, at least not for all children. When he was 18 her tried to stop taking the pills, it was horrible. He turned into a very different person, he was mean and aggressive. It took a very long time for him to get to place where he felt normal again.

    I've never been on any kind of medication, even though I had the same crazy doctor as the rest of my family. Beyond legitimate prescriptions is another level of drug use. More and more people are using pills recreationally. If Oxy sales were in excess of forty million, imagine how much money was made selling those pills to other people. Pills are addictive, kicking codeine, oxy, morphine or methadone is like kicking heroin because dope sick pretty much always feels the same.

  4. Hey I like the concept of this blog. It would be nice, though, to post the week's topic at the top of the blog.

  5. Thanks Jessica for elaborating on your experience and what led you to discuss the "American Way" in the method that you did. It makes sense in that context (not that you had to explain yourself).

    And to Richard: Maybe up in the right hand side where it states the idea of the blog and "watch it grow every thursday" you can add a line about this week's topic is.... and maybe also next week's topic is.... so those who aren't participating but are reading can know what we're all exploring.

  6. how's that?
    I just changed it -- tell me what you think

  7. Speaking about the long-term and residual effects of many of these drugs, has anyone else heard that they're showing that women taking Paxil during their pregnancies are putting their children at risk for several bad birth defects.

    As far fetched as it might sound, I really worry about the effects that other people's medicinal usage are having on those who don't even take these drugs. An example of this is the study of what birth control pills may be doing to our water. Though some people say it's b.s., it is entirely plausible that the drugs we take, which we then excrete, then go into our water, and might not be properly removed. Far-fetched, perhaps, but maybe not.

  8. I believe the FDA found that in studies there was an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in adolescents on Paxil. I read that mothers who took Paxil while pregnant may have babies with cardiovascular issues.

  9. The change looks good.