Archive for category Health

What’s In YOUR Stomach?

Excuse my logic but with all the recent fuss about Pink Slime in our beef, I thought it high time to take a look at that as well as some of the other crap we ingest in our daily lives.

Now prior to hearing about Pink Slime I grew up thinking the grossest foods on earth were some like you heard of on TV’s “The Beverly Hillbillies.”  Anyone from my generation or older can probably remember Irene Ryan as Granny imploring visitors at the Clampett mansion to dine on such delicacies as “chicken gizzards,” “eye of newt,” “hog jowls,” or “toads brains.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled pink slime safe for human consumption.  As I am fond of reminding readers, after 911, Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman told workers they’d be safe working at Ground Zero.  The government also suggested the levees would be safe before Hurricane Katrina. Famous last words.

From what I’ve gleaned about pink slime from Wikipedia, it is of dubious origins.  Pink Slime is also referred to as “lean finely textured beef (LFTB)” or “boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT).  It is a beef based food additive used as an inexpensive filler.  The key words here as you will see later in this blog are “inexpensive filler.” Pink slime consists of finely ground beef scraps, sinew, fat and connective tissue which is mechanically removed from fat. The recovered material is then processed, heated and treated with either ammonia gas or citric acid to kill off bacteria.  Ammonia gas?  Isn’t ammonia that stuff that if you breathe it in deeply you feel like you’re going to pass out, or maybe just die?

On second thought I'll have fish.

As mentioned though the key words are “inexpensive fillers.”  I watched an episode of Jamie’s Food Revolution back in 2009 and was appalled by the conglomeration of sordid chicken parts including bone chips, liver parts, etc. that go into making a chicken nugget.  These too are inexpensive fillers, designed to maximize the meat suppliers’ profits with little concern to the welfare of the consumer.

It’s also interesting to note that for many years it was conventional wisdom when going to the local butcher to watch him weigh the meat carefully.  The old butcher’s scales had a bowl like platter that the meat was placed in and it was often rumored that they would hide a small stone in it to buoy the weight reading. Thus you thought you were buying a pound of meat but in reality you were buying ¾ of a pound.  Imagine if that practice continued today with Pink Slime.  The butcher would be double whammying you by selling meat with cheap filler added and giving you less than what the scale read!  Fortunately I don’t think things are THAT bad.

Going back some years before, I worked for a wealthy man who owned a meat packing plant in the Bronx.  He told me that there were actually cases where meats sat frozen for as much as ten years before being sold on the open market.  Probably not much nutrition left in those ice caked slabs.

I remember planning to write a blog that asks the question “Why is it that when you eat a quarter pounder with cheese, you don’t gain just a quarter pound but more like three pounds of weight?”  Perhaps that pink slime is the smoking gun.

Given all of the above, I’d like to sign off with a list of some other foods I find totally distasteful.  Bear in mind, some of them may be good for you but maybe just look yucky.

 

  • Pigs Feet.  Don’t take my word for it.  Ask a Muslim some day why they never eat pork.  You will be dumbstruck.
  • Cow’s brains.  The Government has banned consumption of cow’s brains from cows that have been slaughtered if they are older than 30 months.  This tells you there’s cause for concern.  Furthermore, I feel if I eat this, I may start walking around mooing at everyone or worse than that perhaps begin walking on all fours and eating grass.
  • Sausage. I mean the big fat kind that you get in the meat department.  To me it looks like a person’s intestines and I wouldn’t want to eat that.
  • Caviar. Craved by the privileged rich I had it once and thought it was very much overrated as far as taste and appearance.
  • Beef tongue.  You never know where that tongue was poking around prior to being served up.
  • Sauerkraut.  Looks like something that was once green (even though it wasn’t) but has been lingering in the refrigerator way too long.
  • Any kind of liver. Beef, chicken or I don’t care what else. It’s liver and it detoxifies the organism.  You can never be sure what kind of toxins passed through its veins.
  • Raisins.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know they are considered one of the healthiest of all foods, but don’t stare at one too long.  It just doesn’t look appealing.
  • Last but not least, diet sodas.  The benefits of drinking diet versus regular have been debated for years. All I know is that if you blindfold me and give me one glass of diet cola and one glass of regular I can tell the difference every time. Diet soda just tastes diluted.

In conclusion dieticians for years have been telling us “you are what you eat.”  With that in mind you’d best stay away from fruit cake or upside down cake.

 

 

Copyright 2012; Greg S.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fighting Back Against Sucide

This post doesn’t start out with the catchphrase “excuse my logic,” for it is not meant to poke fun at anyone, minimize anyone or in any way make light of the subject at hand.  Suicide is not a subject to be taken lightly and I hope this post offers some insight to anyone who is either considering this action themselves or know of someone who is.

Furthermore lest it be said that I don’t have any experience that would qualify me to address this issue I would like to point out that I have lost two dear relatives to suicide.

The first loss came when I was in my early twenties. My very favorite uncle, Rudy, was living with his two brothers (one of whom was my grandfather) and another uncle who was paranoid schizophrenic and quite simply off the wall more often than not. The schizophrenic uncle was much younger than Rudy and had a penchant for tormenting Rudy to the point where Rudy felt like a prisoner trapped in a hopeless existence.  While it was never documented that Rudy killed himself (no autopsy was done) my parents tell me that a bottle of sleeping pills half full was found next to his body on the night table.  There is another indication that he killed himself in that the night before he died he called up my Dad and asked him out of the blue to make a McDonald’s run (Rudy loved McDonalds but usually never wanted to put anyone out to drive him there).   We believe this was Rudy’s metaphorical “Last Supper.”

The other relative I lost to suicide was a more clear-cut case.  My cousin, in his late teens,  blew his head off with a shotgun.  Here there had been issues of a recent breakup with a girl, divorced parents and as my one aunt observed just a life too filled with rejection.

This brings me to the insight I wish to offer the reader.  I was listening to a religious recording and the speaker cited an informal study that had been conducted on the subject of suicide.  This clergy man didn’t harp on that old adage taught to us that if you kill yourself you’ll go straight to hell.  What he did observe was an offshoot of that adage but one that is more believable and contemporary than the threat of going to hell and burning up in the proverbial fire.

According to the study, a number of people who had attempted suicide and “crossed over” to the other side briefly, before being brought back to life vis-à-vis EMS workers or others, reported eye-opening experiences.  There was a common thread to these experiences.  These people who had near death experiences all reported that when they temporarily entered their afterlife, whatever problem they were trying to escape by killing themselves was still waiting for them on the other side only ten, twenty or even a hundred times worse!

I think this is a very powerful idea and one with practical applications.  Suicide you see is often fear driven.  The person is afraid of losing their job, their family, their home, their position in the community etc.  Their fear overrides their sense of logic and they decide that the best way out is to take their life. They reason that if they kill themselves they will no longer have to suffer the humiliation, rejection or grief that they are feeling while alive.  So you see, if you know someone who is contemplating suicide and you tell them that the problem they are facing here is going to be ten times worse after death my thinking is that you will fight fear with fear.  Then it becomes a question of which fear is greater.  If you want to stop a person who fears this life from ending their life, you must instill an even greater fear into that person of what lies ahead.  If the person contemplating suicide be it you or a loved one, has any sense of reason left at all they may start to rethink their intentions.

I speak from experience on this front too.  About ten years ago, I passed on the information about the crossing over study to a coworker of mine who was intent on killing himself.  He was addicted to drugs, felt misunderstood and completely alone in the world.   Several weeks after I told him of the study he approached me and thanked me.  He gave me his word that he would never think of killing himself again and I believe from that point forward he began turning his life around.

We're all in this life together.

Suicide claims victims of all ages, religions, and socioeconomic status.  How often have we heard someone exclaim about a victim of suicide “Oh he had everything to live for.”?  That’s what makes suicide so insidious.   Some people will exhibit all the textbook signs of depression and suicidal tendencies before actually killing themselves.  Other people who kill themselves leave us gaping open mouthed wondering how in the world it got to that point.

The above information is not meant to be a substitute for professional mental health counseling.  Rather it can be used as an adjunct in conjunction with the services of a mental health expert.   These are tough times.  Many people are disillusioned and/or scared.  If this post even succeeds in stopping one suicide, then it will have served its purpose.  They say that a person who is really hell bent on killing themselves can’t be stopped.  However, the least we can do is make the effort.

 

Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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Funny Pharms

Excuse my logic but why is it that a package of three condoms costs between $5 and $6 yet you can buy a bag of 50 balloons at the dollar store for $.99?  Oh I get it, it’s the latex.  Now that I’ve got your attention, I’ll get right into the meat of the matter and it does relate to those aforementioned overpriced condoms.

Prescription drug and medical supply prices are forever climbing.  I remember several years back I was prescribed Imitrex for my daily migraine headaches.  When I saw the price my headaches got worse!  $16 per tablet!  My insurance wouldn’t cover this medication and as such I was forced to seek alternate remedies.  Now it is true that you can get lower priced generics for this medication but their overall potency may be called into question.  Furthermore some companies are even selling the generics for $10 a tablet.  Imagine that we’re asked to pay $10 for a little dose of chemicals that doesn’t even weigh a gram. It is sinful.

Just as an aside, I currently take another medication for other issues and it costs a whopping $18 per tablet.  People who rely on year round doses of medication for such conditions as diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, etc. know first hand how expensive medicines can be.

Then pause and consider the actions (or actually lack of action) on the part of the large pharmaceutical companies concerning the “cocktail” they possess that can help AIDS patients to survive.  Some of the larger pharmaceutical companies, given their vast resources have the ability to save millions of Africans and other peoples if they would make the low cost AIDS fighting cocktail available to these people.  It has been proven that AIDS sufferers can extend their lives many years by use of this cocktail.  If the Big Pharm companies were to work with our government they could probably even write off such a gesture as a humanitarian exercise.  However, there’s no actual profit to be realized in such charity so the AIDS drug stays on the shelf and less fortunate people are forgotten and left to suffer a wretched existence.

There are a variety of dynamics at work in the ever changing world of prescription drugs.  For starters I have been told by some people in the business that in this day in age, many doctors get a commission from the pharmaceutical companies for every prescription that they write for a drug that the pharmaceutical company sells.  As such it is prudent for someone suffering from an illness, whatever that illness might be to read up on the recommended course of treatment. In short, when doctors can expect commissions for writing prescriptions they may be trigger happy and start writing you out prescriptions for meds that you don’t even need.  This is not meant to be an indictment of all doctors – many are still caring and honest – but as in any profession, there can be unscrupulous players.  As such you may be spending more and more on drugs that you don’t even need.  The only way to be sure you are not being pumped full of unnecessary drugs is to do your own research.

There seems to be a pill for everything

 

As well, the reason I believe that there are doctors on the pharmacy company payrolls is based on something I witnessed some years ago when I would sit waiting to be seen by my doctor.  I would wait incredibly, sometimes two hours past my appointment time to be seen by him.  During that interval of time, it seemed like a virtual parade of guys in suits would filter through his office.  They were all pharmaceutical sales reps. Judging by the quality of the clothes they wore, they were all getting quite rich.  And samples?  This doctor had the equivalent of a large walk in closet worth of sample doses of hundreds of different medications.  It looked like a Walmart for prescription drugs.

I am also told that many of today’s pharmaceutical company reps are young attractive women.  Would a person go to Hooters if the waitresses weren’t attractive? Same holds true in this biz.  Even analytical well trained doctors can be influenced by a nice pair of legs.   

I’d like to conclude this blog with a theory I have about the pharmaceutical industry. 

We as a society (and I mean the worldwide society, not just the United States) are enamored by the idea that we can pop a pill, gulp down some water and presto-change-o, our symptoms will go away.  Somehow, it is so much easier to pop a pill than it is to do yoga or exercise, plan a healthy diet, or quit drinking and smoking.  If you were to try and calculate just how many pills the human race takes on just a single day, the figure would be off the charts.   The Big Pharmaceutical companies love this. You never read much in the mainstream media about pharmaceutical companies’ earnings.  I think they try to keep it hush-hush. I believe if the public ever knew the staggering profits these companies were reaping there would be a massive outcry for reform of the system as it is now.  I believe some of the big pharmaceutical companies have earnings that would even dwarf those of IBM or Microsoft.

Now that this is all said and done, I think I’ll take a tranquilizer.

 

Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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Before You Use Zoloft…

Excuse my logic but if you were on a medication and found that it made you feel more tired the morning after despite a full night’s sleep would you continue taking it?  I hope not.

Much has been written about Zoloft and its sister medications Paxil and Prozac.  Known collectively as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, these medications have been linked to birth defects in newborns whose mothers took them, suicides in children and adults, and bone density loss in older people.

I cannot comment definitively on Prozac or Paxil because I have never taken them.  However, I have been using Zoloft for a great many years and my own personal experience with the drug has shown me another dark side to it. I have had other people using Zoloft confirm they’ve had the same experience. Specifically, it can produce bad dreams.  Very bad dreams.

The 1960’s counterculture had an expression for a bad trip on hallucinogenic drugs. They called such a bad trip a “Horror Show.”  I have found Zoloft to produce in me a nightly horror show. The net result is that when you wake up in the morning, you feel like a train wreck.  You feel dazed, stressed out and as mentioned more tired than before you went to sleep.  

Wierd things come in small packages

So there’s a paradox at work here.  You take Zoloft, a drug traditionally used to treat various mental illnesses and yes, you’ll be sane in the daytime.  But at nighttime you go crazy.

Here is a sampling of some of the more grizzly recurring dreams I’ve suffered from using this medication.

 

  • I see tsunamis as high as mountains engulfing me and my loved ones and there’s no place to run.
  • A doctor comes into the waiting room at the hospital and referring to my parents who have been in a car crash says “I’m sorry, they didn’t make it.”
  • I am walking toward my freshman year college dorm, an eight story affair, and I see it completely collapsed from an earthquake, with many of my friends inside.
  • I am sitting by the side door to my house looking up at the attic window of my neighbor’s house. All of the sudden, I see a human skull looking out that window at me.

 

This last dream is particularly disturbing to me because in my awakened state, sometimes in the evening I do sit facing that neighbor’s pitch black window and I am always thinking “Am I awake or asleep right now?  Will a skull appear any moment?”

As indicated, these are recurring dreams which makes the whole experience all the more draining.  Furthermore, there is another fear I have as I continue to take this medication.

Namely, it is quite possible that I will dream something so terrifying that it will frighten me to death.  There is a phenomenon , most often occurring in Laotian Hmong refugees and other young Asian men known as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS). It is considered the most serious sleep disorder on the books.  Interestingly enough, inHawaiiit is called “dream disease.”  When it was first recognized in the Phillipines back in 1915 it was named “bangungut,” the word for nightmare in the Tagalog language.  Some of the Hmong people when referring to SUNDS’ cause as being a nightmare, don’t mean a bad dream in the traditional sense.  A nightmare to them means an actual invasion of the victim’s soul by some evil spirit.

This is getting creepier by the minute. One of these days, instead of taking Zoloft, I think I’ll hang some garlic around my bedpost.

 

Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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“Lights” Out

Excuse my logic, but did you ever notice how some people will buy “light beer” or “light cigarettes” and then drink or smoke double the amount they would normally do, the net result being that they still consume the same amount of alcohol or tar and nicotine?

Let me put it to you plainly.  These types of people are the bread and butter for the alcohol and tobacco industries.  The math is simple.  Assume a pack of light cigarettes costs the same or even slightly more than its regular cigarette brand counterpart. If you smoke double the amount of light cigarettes than you would regular you are putting twice as much of your money in the tobacco company’s coffers as you would by just sticking with the full flavored variety.  It’s the same with beer.  A six pack of light costs just about the same as regular.  So if you drink two six packs of light figuring it’s better than one six pack of regular, you will be spending double the money.

The worst part of this twisted equation is the actual “health benefits” companies tout when promoting their “light” brands. 

Let’s start with beer. The reason I start with beer is that the news isn’t quite as grim as it is with cigarettes.  Yet it is nevertheless eye opening to realize how people are being duped by the beer companies.  According to the web site personal-nutrition-guide.com, the first light beer was marketed as “diet” beer but it didn’t go over well with men who are preconditioned to think of dieting as feminine and unnecessary for themselves. Since the men represent the much larger market share of beer sales, the beer companies had to go back to the drawing board and think of a new marketing ploy. They came up with the concept of calling lower calorie beer “lite.”  The beer companies didn’t hawk their new light beer by pitching potential customers that its fewer calories that would keep a man thinner.  They sold men on the idea that since it was “light” you could drink much more of them in a single session.  What beer swilling man doesn’t want to be able to drink more beers in a sitting? 

What "ales" them?

It’s interesting to note that if you consume two 12 oz. containers of light beer you will have ingested approximately 50 more calories and 1.2 percent more of alcohol than if you drank one 12 oz. container of regular beer. 

Now as mentioned, since alcohol contents in beer are much lower than that in “hard” liquor, the news isn’t all that bad.  I have known many people who are big beer drinkers who went on to live long and happy lives.  The main downside is the weight gain and accompanying strain on your heart that heavy beer drinking can produce.  If the average 12 oz. container of beer adds 150 calories to your diet, than a mere six pack represents a whopping 35 percent of the calories suggested for normal daily intake.  Add three average meals to that beer consumption and you may soon be ready for the fat farm. 

Furthermore, the beer companies take great pains to avoid putting calorie totals on the labels so as not to scare you off from imbibing their product.

This brings us to cigarettes, one of the biggest public health hazards ever visited upon mankind.  For several years, in an effort to bring my own consumption of Nicorette gum under control, I attended Nicotine Anonymous meetings.  Personally, I suffer from a condition where my brain’s neurons don’t produce enough dopamine and it has been proven that nicotine enhances dopamine production.  So I will chew Nicorette until I exit this world. However, I can tell you my nicotine consumption is a textbook case of how switching to a lower strength version actually increased my total consumption. When I switched from 4 milligram to 2 milligram, I just ended up chewing twice as many pieces. 

At Nicotine Anonymous, I recall two particularly poignant stories of people who smoked.  One concerned a woman who claimed to smoke seven packs of cigarettes a day.  She was asked how she could actually have enough time to smoke 140 cigarettes in a day.  “I don’t sleep,” she answered.  I wonder if this poor soul even wasted her time eating.

Another heavy smoker related a story of how she used to smoke in bed.  The ceiling above her bed which was white when originally painted turned a dark brown over the years. When she tried painting over this spot it took NINE coats of paint to make it disappear!

I transgressed from the original point of this blog in order to drive home the insidious addictive nature of deadly cigarettes with the two examples above.

"I swear I'll quit tomorrow."

When a human being smokes a light cigarette, there is no appreciable difference from a regular cigarette in the amount of smoke, tar and nicotine absorbed into your system.  When establishing rates of tar and nicotine that a smoker of light cigarettes will take in from their brand, cigarette companies test the cigarette on a smoke machine. This machine is measuring the so-called smoke to air ratio.  The fallacy of these test results is that the machine “smokes” a cigarette in a different manner than a human.  The light cigarettes are manufactured with vented filters and these filters are uncovered when being tested on the smoke machine. The result is that a good deal of the smoke passes out of these vents before it reaches the measuring devices.  A human smoker however will block these vents with pressure from their lips or fingers, meaning that a higher dose of smoke and carcinogens reaches their system than the readings recorded on the smoke machine for this same light cigarette.

Furthermore, as I indicated above in my own situation, taking in nicotine increases the production of dopamine.  Dopamine acts on the part of the brain that produces a sense of pleasure.  This is what makes cigarettes so addicting. Who doesn’t crave pleasure? A smoker who became used to the amount of pleasure generated by smoking a pack a day of regular strength cigarettes upon switching to a light cigarette with less nicotine (and admittedly nicotine levels are on average .5 milligrams per cigarette less) will find that he needs to smoke twice as many light cigarettes to achieve the same nirvana.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. The good intentioned nicotine addict who thought downgrading to a light cigarette would decrease his or her nicotine consumption ends up smoking twice as many of these cancer sticks, the net result being that they are still poisoning themselves at the same level as when smoking regulars.   

In conclusion, light beers and light cigarettes are not a panacea for their consumers.  Instead, they are more like a modern day snake oil veiled in the false promise of producing a healthier you.

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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The Grass Would Be Greener

Excuse my logic, but why don’t we legalize marijuana nationwide and have the government or the medical profession oversee its safe growth instead of continuing with the current quagmire where it is being sold on the black market by criminal youths and of defective quality?  “Run on thought?” you ask. Guilty as charged.  Please understand that often when I set out in this blog to do battle with the illogic that pervades our world, I get very excited and animated.

Many years ago (but not anymore) I used to smoke marijuana so I speak with first hand experience when telling you that there definitely is such a thing as “bad” dope.  Just a for instance – I once shared a single solitary joint with a dealer who would end up serving time and it sent me on a trip I will never forget. This marijuana caused symptoms in me most commonly attributed to pot that has been laced with PCP (phencyclidine).  While driving my car I passed a cemetery and swore I was already buried there.  A short while later, I became very much lost in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, a town only ten minutes from my own home. In a panic I pulled over my car and ran for a deli where I instantly downed a large soda because of the “cotton mouth” I was experiencing.  The kicker is a guy I knew from college walked into this store and began calling me by name but I didn’t even know my own name at this point.  Imagine being so strung out that you don’t know your own name! That man saved my life that day because he came up to me and asked if I had been smoking grass or something worse. When I answered yes, he took control of the situation. For the next two hours, he walked me around and around the same city block in the frigid winter air until I had straightened out. He took the ½ ounce bag of grass that I had and threw it down a sewer.

Some people who have ingested or smoked drugs laced with PCP aren’t as lucky as I was that day.  A high dose of PCPs can cause hallucinations, seizures, coma or even death according to a website called “The Partnership AT DRUGFREE.ORG”.  Some street names for PCP are Angel Dust, Killer Weed, Wack, Rocket Fuel and I like this one – embalming fluid.  Yes, PCPs are a component to something they fill you up with when you are dead. Lovely.   As much as I was a seasoned doper, I can’t tell the reader whether marijuana is typically laced with PCP by your average street dealer or by bigger suppliers higher up in the drug dealing hierarchy.  But I can tell you it’s dirty business.  Sometimes a person is sold nothing more than oregano tainted with PCP.  Much higher profit for the bad guys there.  Other times PCP is used to add to the weight of real marijuana, the net effect being that you pay for an ounce of grass but are only getting a half ounce of actual grass.  Other times, dealers and their superiors are looking to distribute a product that will be extremely potent (figuring that you’ll come back for more) and the dazzling array of effects PCP has on the user were just described above. 

However, PCPs aren’t the only dangerous carcinogen to make their way into marijuana.  The United States used to spray the herbicide paraquat on Mexican and Hawaiian  marijuana crops.  This practice supposedly has been discontinued.  However, do we really know what governments in Latin American and Asian countries are doing to combat the proliferation of marijuana?  Might they be spraying paraquat or some equally dangerous herbicide on crops that will make their way to our country in the present day?  Paraquat can cause severe lung damage according to CannabisMD.net, Cannabis Medical Dictionary, a website.  This website also points out that in 1998 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at one point was planning to spray something called Triclopyr on marijuana fields right here in the United States.

Also of danger to marijuana smokers are bacterial or fungal infections that can be contracted as a result of using grass that has been cultivated carelessly.

On the flip side, CannabisMD points out that “properly cultivated marijuana and its constituent cannabinoid components are amongst the safest drugs known to medical science.”

So what are we waiting for?  Although debated by some, a great many experts point out that marijuana is not addictive like other street drugs.  Opponents will argue that marijuana use increases the likelihood of experimenting with other drugs.  Is a 75 year old osteoporosis sufferer likely to start trying cocaine because they have used marijuana?

So it’s not habit forming and even better, marijuana is known to be an effective pain reliever.  As for young people, there is always the possibility that using marijuana will start them on the path to stronger drugs.  Yet if we take as a given that certain youngsters who are predisposed to using marijuana are going to get it one way or another (legally or illegally), isn’t it better that they smoke the safe stuff?

The current situation where medical marijuana is only legal in some states needs to be examined.   What we have right now is a situation akin to that which occurred during prohibition.  Our government outlawed booze and this paved the way for one of the greatest promulgations of organized crime in our nation’s history.  The longer we make marijuana illegal in some states, the more criminal elements will continue to flourish and profit from selling the “junk” variety of marijuana they are known for.  Kids will experience bad trips. Our prisons will fill up with two-bit pushers that taxpayers will have to cover the bill for.  People who genuinely need marijuana for medicinal purposes will have to cultivate their own at risk of being prosecuted or resort to other nefarious means such as going over state lines to make a “buy.”

Even worse, with each passing day we see a worsening situation at our southern border with Mexico.  Drug wars and the carnage they create are making their way into our southernmost towns.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I conjecture that if our government and the medical profession working in tandem could cultivate on a massive scale, safe and inexpensive marijuana made available to any and all who wanted it, it would become much less alluring to criminal elements from Mexico and Latin America to try flooding our country with their product.

The time has arrived for legalized medical marijuana.  As for marijuana being legalized just for the purposes of getting high, I have one message for young readers of this site.  The old saying “NO HOPE IN DOPE” is as true today as it was when I was young.  I gave up all that crap more than 20 years ago. I count myself lucky to be alive.  If you try any street drugs you may not be as lucky as me. 

 

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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License to Kill?

Excuse My Logic, but isn’t there something quite hypocritical, contradictory, farcical and almost bipolar about pharmacies such as the ones pictured below? Isn’t a pharmacy a place you turn to when you need help to feel well?  Or maybe I’m missing something.  Perhaps alcohol and cigarettes are actually good for your health.

Pharmacies such as these that peddle alcohol and the wider spectrum of pharmacies that hawk cigarettes are just contributing to society’s ills.  Alcoholics Anonymous defines alcoholism not as a character defect but as a “sickness.”  Therefore pharmacies selling alcohol are in some cases making people sicker.  Alcohol seriously affects the liver, pancreas and other organs.  Cigarette smoking too is a kind of sickness.  It is an insidious addiction.  For example, I have heard people who were cross addicted to cocaine and nicotine declare that cocaine was easier to quit than cigarettes.  Doesn’t that sort of tell you what a serious addiction cigarettes are?  Yet almost all the chain pharmacies sell cigarettes.

Getting back to alcohol, it is a known fact that most prescription medications come with a warning label telling the patient not to mix them with alcohol.  So what do some of these pharmacies do?  Not only do they have the gall to sell alcohol but in many cases the alcohol is displayed prominently right near the cash register making the temptation to buy it all the greater.

Perhaps a few analogies are in order.  I equate a pharmacy that sells coffin nails and booze to a person who sells you a house and candidly tells you about the leaky basement but deliberately neglects to tell you about the termite problem.  Or a romantic partner who confesses to having cheated on you but conveniently fails to let you know they have contracted an STD.

Doesn’t it occur to the people who run pharmacies that sell alcohol that some people just might mix booze with pills?  Or don’t they care?  Famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix died from mixing sleeping pills with alcohol.  Comedian/Actor Freddie Prinze shot himself to death after mixing methaqualone with alcohol.  More recently put perhaps not recent enough to be relevant to the pharmacy business types, Brynn Hartman murdered her famous husband comedian Phil Hartman and then shot herself after mixing cocaine, Zoloft (a prescription drug) and alcohol.

I can tell you my own personal experience as a reckless youth who thought it might be interesting to pour the contents of several dexatrim tablets (diet pills) into a glass of scotch and then down it (I beg any and all readers not to do this). It was as the sixties counterculture people called it a “horror show.” My speech became slurred like a stroke victim and my eyes were practically bugging out of my head with some sort of psychotic reaction.

This also leads me to another question in this day in age where the seemingly impossible becomes possible every day.  Are we far off from a time where alcohol and cigarettes, by mere fact that they are sold in these stores, are going to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid?  What a bonanza that would be for the already well-heeled pharmacies.

Pharmacies that sell alcohol and tobacco need to step up and ask themselves whether they are just in it for the almighty buck or to help better peoples’ lives.  To quote a college buddy of mine “Drugs may bring you joy. But they may destroy.” I think this saying holds equally true for the purveyors.

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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