Friday, May 15, 2009

Doctor Gregg on drugs

I saw a commercial the other day for a drug. We've all seen them, "If you suffer from a flaccid phallus, take these pills." Followed by a disclaimer listing the possible side effects which are usually far more serious than what the pills were initially supposed to treat, "These pills may cause blindness, dementia and death. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms."

We have all since become numb to how incredibly dangerous these drugs are. However, the commercial I saw that night was actually advertising for a drug to be taken with other drugs. It claimed that if you are suffering from depression AND are already on anti-depressants, these pills would help you cope with depression.

Now I may not have no fancy degree, but if you need to take drugs, to improve the effects of drugs you're already taking, aren't you in a hell of a lot of trouble? I won't even make the obvious observation that if in fact two drugs are better than one when it comes to depression, why don't drug companies just combine the drugs into one super pill?

Somewhere along the line I can only assume it has something to do with money. And I'm not going to pull a Tom Cruise and claim there is no such thing as depression but I think we all need to take a long hard look at what drug companies are doing. Yes, it is possible that some people might need drugs to help some problem they might have. But it seems to me, if in fact depression was as widespread a mere 50 years ago as it is now, what did people do to cope then? Did they just keel over and die? Fifty years from now, will people ask, "What did people on anti-depressants in 2009 do to cope with depression if they didn't have anti-depressant repressants?"

Think about Ritalin, a drug given to kids to help them behave. Having worked at a summer camp I've seen children on ritalin. There is a chilling detachment in their eyes that seems like something out of an eerie science fiction story starring Haley Joel Osmont (ironically before his trouble with drugs).

All this to say, back in my day we had a drug to help children behave. It was called a beating. As always, I am wont to bring up how badly behaved I think kids are nowadays, having no kids of my own and in many ways being a kid myself. But man, kids are badly behaved. I am always amazed when I see a kid look their mothers right in the eyes and scream and swear at them. But today's liberal society will tell you, its wrong to spank them. Pump them full of drugs.

I reiterate, beat your kids. If not for their sake, then for the sake of the teacher's I saw recently, getting scolded by some punk 14 year old who wanted to smoke on school grounds. Do it for the crotchety old men like me on the bus who have utter contempt for 14 year olds who stagger onto the bus reeking of marijuana while they curse and swear at their equally unsavory friends over the cell phone. And if you don't have the hutzvah to kick your child's ass when they need it, send them to the army where someone will do it for you. I was speaking to a friend of mine who knows a psychiatrist for teens. I'm told the job often boils down to prescribing drugs for rich kids who have just gotten bored. Perhaps bored with a life that has become too easy and maybe even too pointless.

So now to cope with life, we need to turn our children into existential philosophers rambling to psychologists about their boredom or keep them stoned out of their mind? Isn't it just easier and more useful to beat them? I mean, what's the consequence? Hypothetically my child is going to call the cops and have me arrested for abuse? You know what, when I have kids, they're getting spanked, I don't care if it's illegal. "Yeah? What? You're going to call the cops? After I feed you, clothe you and put a roof over your head? Go ahead then. I'll go to jail I don't give a f**k! No rent! Free food! I don't have to buy drugs for spoiled children. Enjoy life in a foster home!" And as Russel Peters said, there's still plenty of time to beat the kids as the cops are en route!

Might I suggest that in many cases, depression and bad behaviour are the jails we make for ourselves when opulent society has deprived us of our boundaries. And perhaps perscription drugs are the guy in your neighbouring jail cell, wearing a doo rag, who manages to get you cigarettes from the outside world, a fickle pleasure to enjoy while in a jail cell that might kill you in the long run anyway.

Call me old fashionned, but I think this is one instance of capitalists creating a need where none existed previously. I fail to believe that evolution has failed us so badly that we have no natural ways to cope with depression and badly behaved kids. Please, tell me there's something in the food that's screwing us up. Tell me we need to play less X-box, watch less tv and do more chores in the yard. Tell me that we are trying to fullfill spiritual needs with shopping or some other vapid, materialistic diversions. But don't tell me that millions of people need drugs as badly as they need food. Or even need drugs to cure the effects of other drugs they may already be taking. Drugs to cure the effects of drugs? That certainly sounds like science fiction to me.