“Remember to spay and neuter your poor!”
“Why don’t we put up a prescription booth. Just grab as many pills as you can in 30 seconds. Who knows? One of them might cure you. The others might get you high.”
A couple of bombshells this week from Stephen Colbert. After laughing I felt alarmed at the truth in these observations. In the first statement, you can replace "poor" with "sick" and it still makes sense. In America, those that lose their health typically lose their job and health insurance at the same time. This triple whammy is common. That’s partly why SSI offices are filled with those who have lost the ability to care for themselves, or to get the medical care they need. The other reason is the baby boomer generation is now at the age where neuro-psych afflictions tend to become disabling among those carrying the genes.
The second statement reflects the attitude about pills among American doctors, particularly those treating neuro psych patients. Many such patients take 40 or 60 pills daily. Typically doctors aren’t aware of counter-indications, so it is important for individuals to research the latest info re: which pills cannot be taken together, or by patients with a particular diagnosis. Genetics also plays a role in whether medication will be effective – or create significant problems. So discuss with family members with the same diagnoses. Fatalities and serious conditions resulting from pill toxicity are not uncommon - they show up on records and death certificates as Myocardial Infarction (heart failure), liver failure, kidney failure, etc. Unfortunately pill incompatibility, pharma-toxicology risks, and the role of genetics is not discussed between doctors and their patients.
I hope Colbert continues to draw attention to these issues. Maybe humor is the best way to draw people toward a constructive dialogue.