Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Drugs R Us

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)

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
Samantha Krop
Questioning Our Declaration on Human Rights
Morna McDermott
Classrooms, Not Computers: Stop Educating for Profit
Patrick Walker
Today’s Poor People’s Campaign: Too Important Not to Criticize
Julia Stein
Wrestling With Zionism
Clark T. Scott
The Exceptional President
Barry Barnett
The Family of Nations Needs to Stand Up to the US  
Robert Koehler
Two Prongs of a Pitchfork
Bruce Raynor
In an Age of Fake News, Journalists Should be Activists for Truth
Max Parry
The U.S. Won’t Say ‘Genocide’ But Cares About Armenian Democracy?
William Gudal
The History of Israel on One Page
Robert Jensen
Neither cis nor TERF
Louis Proyect
Faith or Action in a World Hurtling Toward Oblivion?
David Yearsley
The Ubiquitous Mr. Desplat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail