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.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail