What’s wrong with North Americans? Plenty!
Long ago, Immigrants landed on our hostile shores. They had no shelter, food or medical
care. They hacked down forests and tried to survive. Many didn’t. They developed colds and sore backs. But they had more to do than swallow pills. Nor did they have social agencies to pamper them. Today, their offspring have become wimps, part of a drug-infested society dependent on a chemical solution for every pain. What’s happened would make our ancestors roll over several times in their graves. Is there any hope for us?
The Doctor Game
Recently, the increasing cost of drugs to treat opioid abuse hit North American headlines. It’s madness that Canada has spent 300 million dollars to treat addicts! In one province there’s 42,000 addicts using methadone clinics, and the majority take drugs for pleasure, not pain.
The figures are staggering. The U.S. Surgeon General reports more Americans use prescription drugs than smoke cigarettes! They use 80 percent of the opioids sold worldwide! Drug overdose is the 9th cause of death in the U.S. And prescription drug overdose now kills more Americans than car accidents!
North Americans have become a nation of pill worshippers. They demand prescription and over-the-counter-drugs for every ache and pain as if they were The Holy Grail. They fail to realize these drugs are now also a major cause of kidney disease.
Another disturbing trend reported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders is that 50 million Americans complain of heartburn every month! But rather than get smart and change their questionable dietary lifestyle, they resort to a variety of over-the-counter medications.
How will this trend end? In one word, badly. Our nation of weaklings is like an early cancer that no one treated correctly and the malignancy has metastasized. It means that “pillitis” will eventually bankrupt the health care system. The tragedy is that this army of pill swallowing wimps and addicts is using funds that are desperately needed for those in dire need of health care.
Is there a solution? Of course there is, but it would require Draconian measures, a momentous shock to imbedded human psychology. Can you envision millions of North Americans suddenly rejecting T.V ads showing quick cures for pain? Or do you believe that already rich athletes will reject big sums from “big pharma” to help promote questionable drugs?
Do you think busy doctors will spend hours trying to convince patients to allow tincture of time to ease their back pain, when they’re convinced a pill will provide a quick cure? Would you bet your money that those with insomnia will get up earlier in the day, exercise more and read a book at bedtime rather than pop a pill? Or, if another disaster like the one in 9/11 that struck New York City strikes again, thousands of people won’t rush to obtain drugs for anxiety and depression as they did the last time catastrophe struck?
And are you foolish enough to believe that those employed by bureaucracy to treat addicts, would accept my treatment for those who just seek momentary pleasure from drugs? Namely, to send them to Northern Canada to chop wood? Fresh air and exercise would quickly cure their addiction. I’m sure none of you are naive enough to believe any of this will happen. I don’t know one politician who has the intestinal fortitude to even suggest a tough Rx approach for irresponsible people.
I’m aware some readers believe I have ice water flowing in my veins. It’s not true. I’ve spent my life in surgery trying to save lives. But I believe history will show there will come a time when bleeding hearts who want to save everyone, even those who do not want to be saved, will eventually have to conclude the health care system simply cannot afford them.
But the important thing is what do readers think? Should society, namely taxpayers, try to save everyone from himself? Does individual responsibility mean nothing anymore? And won’t we reach a point where we can’t be our brother’s keeper forever? I’m sure readers have opinions on this matter.
I’ll publish your responses.
– W. Gifford-Jones MD