Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 20 - Your views on drugs and alcohol.

From Thirty Days of Truth

I suppose I need to bring you up to date since I haven't posted for a week.

We were supposed to go to Arizona to move my sister back to Arkansas to live with us, but she wound up in the hospital. Long story short: Lost her eyesight (temporarily) quite suddenly, went outside for help, had a seizure, went to hospital, blood pressure 200+/100+, EKG, EEG, MRI and assorted other tests. Determination was high blood pressure caused temporary blindness and seizure, no brain damage, blood pressure down, medication changed, released from hospital. She is currently resuming packing.

The trip to Arizona has been rescheduled to begin tomorrow morning. Tom is making the 4-day whirlwind trip. I have no idea how I will ever get to sleep at night without his arm around me. I know, it's a nasty habit, but I wouldn't try to shake it even if I could.

So, on to Day 20.

My views on alcohol. I love a lemon martini or a glass of smooth, fruity merlot or cold chardonnay. I've even been known to slam down a couple of shots of gold tequila preceeded by a drop or two of Louisiana Hot Sauce on my tongue. And I've self-medicated with a drink or two when I feared my head would explode as a result of stress.

However, in my humble opinion, drinking alcohol to merely to get drunk is just plain stupid and can also have dangerous and sometimes devastating consequences.

Further, too much alcohol too often by a person prone to addictive behavior can lead to alcoholism. It's a horrible addiction and I've seen first hand what it can do to a person physically, mentally and emotionally as well as the devastating impact it has on a family, particularly the children of alcoholics.

But alcohol is legal for those 21 years or older, and in some states as low as 18 years. Except for some counties in the south (like mine) where liquor stores (they call them 'package stores') are not allowed because the county is 'dry'. That's not to say that they are really 'dry'. One can merely drive over the county line to any number of liquor stores in the adjacent county, pack the bed of your pickup full of beer and bourbon and bring it home. Liquor stores used to have huge plastic barrels of crushed ice and plastic cups set outside the store exit if someone absolutely could not wait to partake and needed a little nip on the rocks for the drive home (they have since ceased that practice within in the past five years or so). Our 'dry' county now has a few restaurants that have been given 'private club permits' which allows them to serve drinks by the glass, although this exception is quite the sore spot with many of the native county residents.

But I digress.

I think there are two categories of drugs and society's view of them are different.

With the exception of marijuana, which I think is on the same playing field as alcohol and should be legalized, I don't want to see any person use and abuse illegal drugs. I've also seen what illegal drugs can do to a person. The addict becomes a person you don't recognize - physically and mentally. It's quite scary.

Besides the illegal use and abuse of them, prescription drugs is another issue. I personally think magazine, radio and television ads for prescription drugs should be prohibited and the decisions for prescribing these drugs should be the sole responsibility and discretion of a physician in consultation with the patient without the prodding from the patient who has seen an ad on television and is certain it will be a panacea for whatever ails him or her. When we are bombarded by drug ads featuring happy, healthy looking people in meadows full of butterflies and flowers, we are desensitized to the risks of the drugs and encouraged to use drugs instead of other drug-free methods of healing. It's easier to take a pill than to change one's lifestyle or diet.

That said, I also think most physicians too quickly and easily prescribe medication instead of working with a patient to develop and use drug-free methods that can be just as effective though they might not bring the desired result as quickly as just ingesting a pill. Now, I'm not talking about antibiotics to fight infections or anything of that nature. I realize those are necessary. But I read this week that upwards of 60 million people are taking Lipitor or some other kind of cholesterol lowering drug. That is astounding to me considering that a significant percentage of those people probably eat some sort of pre-prepared or fast food laden with fat nearly every single day. It's tantamount to enabling.

I probably should have started this by simply saying the following: Alcohol and grass in moderation or grass for medicinal purposes. No illegal drugs...ever. Prescription drugs only after other drug-free methods have been exhausted and no prescription drugs at all that are not prescribed specifically by your physician.

Okay. I'm done. Is it martini time yet?

1 comment:

altadenahiker said...

I don't know, that's a difficult one. I wonder if those who reach addiction through meds or alcohol, wouldn't find some other addiction were these unavailable. Maybe not, but I wonder. I've known addictive personalities, and they are like rabbits looking for a hole. Generally if they get out of the grip of medication, they become very religious. Which is usually healthier -- from a physical perspective, anyway.