Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's a Whole New World Out There

It is with a heavy heart that I read of the confirmed massive amount of steroid use by the baseball major leaguers. What impact will this expose have on the sport which, like it or not, has provided many of us of all ages with our heroes? What does it say to the little kid who now must face the reality that the use of certain drugs can make you better than others? Not a pretty thought, but some of us have known about this most of our lives. We have known that alcohol acts as a social lubricant and that we can say sharp, funny or witty things in the presence of others with a few drinks inside. (At least we think its funny or witty). Some of us have led less than perfect lives (my statements are a study in understatement of the obvious) and have also learned that recreational use of pot, cocaine and amphetamines can provide an occasional relief of daily drudgery. At least on paper. What happens, of course, that many go on to systematic abuse of these drugs and make their lives, as well as the lives of others, miserable and chaotic. Now performance-improvement drugs are added to the mix. I grew up in an era when there was no knowledge of such things. The same, of course, holds true for cocaine, pot and the damage arising from long standing alcohol abuse. The only suggestion that I have to counter this negativity is to reinforce the notion that adults need to be the spear carriers for kids. Adults need to harp continuously on the dangers and problems with use and abuse of drugs of any kind. I spent my professional life attacking the indiscriminate use and prescribing of legitimate drugs by physicians which caused harm to my clients. I say this only to suggest that the spectrum of use/abuse of drugs runs an entire gamut from chronic use of so called benign OTC drugs such as aspirin, Excedrin or ibuprofen to the down and out alcoholic or heroin addict. The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act was amended in 1962 to include the novel requirement that drug companies had to demonstrate scientifically that their drugs were effective. The day this requirement became law, more than 40% of the drugs that were on the market were withdrawn. Over the counter medications were exempt from this requirement so that most of the OTC drugs on the market today, and were on the market then, have no scientific basis to support the claims that are made. In other words, even the supposedly least harmful drugs we are all exposed to in countless TV ads, etc. etc. are useless. We must all be spreading the message to the children of our nation. Avoid drugs of any kind for any purpose unless absolutely needed and recommended by a physician who you know and trust and who can answer specific questions about the benefits and risks of the recommended drug.

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