FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Drugs R Us

by SAUL LANDAU

Americans have descended into a legal drug culture, while simultaneously retaining the “illegal” one – at great expense. But the government responds by denying the evidence its own agencies produce.

Last month, a funding “highlights” of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) showed how the Obama administration had decided to emphasize again its focus on law enforcement–not treatment.

For FY 2011, Obama allocated $15.5 billion, more than 3.5 percent more than last year for law enforcement. Treatment allocation barely rose.

Given the Administration’s belief in the law of supply and demand — when there’s demand, there’s a supply — Obama must have gone into a drug-induced stupor for continuing to fund the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. $66 million goes to a so-called drug czar to supervise the production and distribution of ads (see an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9B-h_bU-uI). The ads claim smoking pot can lead to rape. But the ads don’t mention the flood of alcohol commercials on TV and radio, showing how you get babes by buying them beers and extolling the virtues of their products. But, they caution, “DRINK responsibly.” The ads don’t compare drunk driving deaths to high-on-marijuana deaths; or rape due to drinking with sexual aggression caused by marijuana highs! Alcohol wins, hands down.

The pharmaceutical companies pour out their propaganda for mood-altering drugs; some far more powerful than marijuana. Surprised? Why should Obama’s drug policy deal with reality? It’s easier to follow Bush’s priorities. Cops combined with slogans address a major social issue.

In American reality tens of millions of people use drugs – legal or illegal – for a variety of reasons. Around the country stress levels have risen. Thanks to the recession – now enjoying its fourth year – and pharmaceutical companies’ propaganda, doctors get to prescribe more downer pills. Even the ever-ridiculous New York Post related the “limp economy” to decline in sex desire. “Men’s libidos have gone the way of the Dow as struggles with economy-related stress, depression and anxiety are at an all-time high, experts say.

“With Wall Street woes worsening and job security shaky, men have bailed out of the bedroom and women are reporting a citywide sexual recession.

“The couple, who once hit the hay three to four times a week, has had a romp only once since the economy went soft.”

The Post’s “marriage therapists” and sexperts concluded that men’s libidos have fallen off following their income drop.” (Susannah Cahalan, Stefanie Cohen and Angela Montefinise, November 30, 2008)

More scientifically, the CDC reported antidepressant usage rose 400% since 1988. And doctors routinely prescribe such remedies for patients complaining of feeling depressed. These mood-altering drugs have become “the most frequently used by people ages 18-44,” according to a CDC report. (Janice Lloyd, USA TODAY, Oct. 18, 2011)

Most doctors who dispense downers don’t see their patients regularly to insure they’re not suicidal. Yet, the prescribed pills can produce drastic mood changes when patients decrease, stop taking or increase doses.

The CDC reported that more than “Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 years and older took antidepressants during the 2005-08 study period.” 12,637 participants  told of their prescription-drug use and antidepressant use, and about symptoms and interactions with doctors and shrinks.

Some mental health pros in the study pointed to job losses and home foreclosures as causes for the increase in people using legal ant-depressants. Even non-shrinks know that getting laid off makes you feel lower than a cockroach. But why drugs as remedy for economic disorder?

“These drugs can be very helpful for people who need them,” says psychologist Elaine Ducharme. “People should expect to be depressed after a layoff” but, she added, “they should not be put on a drug, though, unless they have an acute problem.” (Lloyd, USA TODAY)

The popularity of the anti-depressants relates also to aggressive pharmaceutical companies’ ad campaigns citing benefits of the drugs. (See Pfizser’s Pristiq promo video:  http://www.pristiq.com/pristiq_serotonin_norepinephrine.aspx)

“Marketing,” pushing a product for profit to meet a supposed human need, has become the ubiquitous center of American culture. The messages pound the brain from all media forms. Shit disguised as sugar sells. Deceit and fraud masquerade as trendy. “You need,” the ad tells you, the most important person in the world, “to buy something to improve your hair, skin, shoes, sex life, car, home or mortgage payment.”

That notion should make anyone miserable. Women between 40 to 59 fare worse. The USA story stated that 25% of those women take antidepressants. More discouraging, an October 25 NYT story reported that children now spend more time than ever watching TV– lots of ads, few books.

The country’s common value center, a reason to cohere, has devolved into shopping, watching sports on TV, occasionally mowing a lawn or washing a car

 

Politicians affirm love of country and support for troops. But Americans watch TV, and hope to win a lottery, instead of conversing with family and friends. They vicariously associate themselves with celebrities and game show stars. Worse, they confuse advertising-provoked desires for immediate needs.

Some of those occupying cities had used pills to assuage bad feelings after not finding jobs, or getting laid off. Noww they use energy creatively. They also watch cops, representing a declining free enterprise system (civilization), pepper-spray and beat them Where, they asked, was the country God had blessed? Or was police behavior just part of a failed, drug-policy acid trip?

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP plays at the University of North Carolina on November 9 and is available on dvd (cinemalibrestore.com)

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail