In Her Own Words (7)


Last week it was all over Italian television.

Thousands of pills, marketed for quick weight loss and sold over the ‘Net and through selected middlemen, were found to be spiked with powerful drugs.

These capsules were laced with exotic-sounding yet possibly toxic and potentially deadly chemicals like phenolphthalein, sibutramine, rimonabant, or phenytoin, as well as addictive substances in order to keep clients going back for more. These substances have been associated with hypertension, stroke, heart attacks, palpitations, seizures, tachycardia, and more.

In the past, the same types of “dangerous and outrageous drugs” were positively (or is it negatively?) associated with suicidal thoughts, depression, insomnia, anxiety, and aggressiveness.

Then came the scandal of the “baby powder” drugs; so-called stamina boosters that were found to contain dried and powdered flesh from aborted or stillborn human babies.

We are shocked when we read of how a rhinoceros is killed for its horn, or a whale slaughtered for its fin. But how can we even comprehend that a child is not given a decent burial or cremation, but instead, is sacrificed to vanity?

What makes it all worse is that some reports about this sordid matter include comments such as “nobody was penalised, since the capsules were for personal use” (really?  35 smuggling attempts since last August, involving 17,450 pills?) and that “there was not enough human flesh to make this an offence” (how many grams of human sacrifice would tip the scales into ‘too much’?).

Unfortunately, this ugly, despicable side of alternative medicine touts this medication as a magic bullet:  never mind that super-bacteria from the dead bodies can actually kill those who ingest them.

That, then, is the big picture – a pill for every ill.

You get a headache – and your sister-in-law hops around with some of her migraine medication because it cured a migraine, go figure an ordinary headache.  Your husband gets indigestion, and your know-it-all neighbour gives him what he took himself… only, your husband’s discomfort was a symptom of a heart attack… and he dies…

Drugs are only a phone-call away for some of us. And that is why substance abuse is alive and well.

Ryan was about nine years old when he began having obsessive thoughts about people coming to kill him and his family, or other issues.  His mother could usually reassure him – until the next time.

By the end of his teen age, all this was water under the bridge; he could actually laugh about his younger self.  But he found it hard to concentrate on his studies. His parents, knowing he was an extremely intelligent child, did not take him seriously when he said he had ADD; after all, he didn’t “fidget”.

A friend gave him a couple of spliffs; this set off his anxiety state once more.  Therapy was a disaster. His parents tried natural supplements, rotation diets, moving to the seaside, an exercise programme… and everything seemed to be under control.

Until he began going out with a group of friends, and returning home perfectly sober but acting strangely.  Later, a friend who had access to medication gave him lprazolam, a psychoactive drug sold under several trade names, for his ‘generalized anxiety disorder’.   He was not allowed to borrow the car, but that did not motivate him to stop… One of his female friends was giving him a lift to a party; they were stopped at a roadblock and she was found to have 50 Ecstasy tablets in her handbag.

The upshot was that he appeared to have learned his lesson. He began going steady with a nice girl who wanted to settle down as quickly as possible. When he said he was not ready for marriage yet, she left him. His and new girlfriend would return to his house and fall asleep in front of the television. The parents, who wanted all nonfamily out of the house by 11.00pm latest, would have a battle royal of at least an hour, trying to wake them up. Later, much later, it was discovered that they smoked K2 (‘fake weed’ or ‘spice’), which does not show up on drugs tests.

Ryan’s personality changed completely. He began having hallucinations, and occasionally vomited. He quit his studies, and was nasty to his siblings. His parents insisted on testing him for drugs; and yet each time they did he was clean. And yet the erratic behaviour continued, with him saying he hated his life, and was on this earth ‘for nothing’.

So his parents, fearing he would commit suicide, took him to a psychiatrist, who promptly wrote him two prescriptions; one for the drug his friend had given him years before, and an anti-depressant. Ostensibly, this would be until his serotonin levels went back to normal. In the second visit, Ryan said “I told you so” when the doctor said he had ADD; and yet that meant another education was added to his cocktail. He became aggressive and insomniac.

One night when everyone else was asleep, he took the car – and drove head-on into another.  Incredibly, both he and the other driver got away with minor cuts and bruises, although both cats were totalled.

At the third visit, the psychiatrist insisted that Ryan be weaned off all his medications; and this, of course, brought terrible withdrawal symptoms.

We call them mind-altering drugs… but we would be better off calling them brain-altering ones.

Drugs are drugs, whether they are illegal, or legal, or even classified as medications.  And let us remember that even complimentary medicine can react wit prescription drugs, and cause untold harm to the body. Some medications treat symptoms and not conditions.

At a time when children attend “rainbow parties” (scooping up a handful of pills from a bowl, and downing it with alcohol), and inhale “fairy dust” (ground up tablets of whatever is available) just be to cool, it is practically a must to check on your children every so often, even if they are adults.



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