A ramble on the drug industry and personal responsibility

Many of you know about my fight to get help for my son since the school wanted to call him ADD and I knew he wasn’t (I had the pediatrician backing me). I was relating part of this story to someone who made the comment about the drug industry wanting to hook them early into the culture of taking a pill to make it all better. It got me thinking (yes, a dangerous thing, I know).
When did we hand over the control to the drug companies? Was it in the sixties when we had the music which encouraged drug use to make people feel better(Go Ask Alice)? Was it before then in the fifties when as the Beatles later described the era “she goes running to the shelter of her mothers’ little helper.” (And you wondered how June Cleaver kept that smile on her face?) Or does it go back even further? Post World War II we had a boom in the drug industry, the war had forced us to experiment and pushed R&D and now someone had to recoup. Even tobacco was thrust upon us as a health cure.
Even before the war though, we had patent medicines – the cure all and snake oils. Today we have the FDA and they train people to think that if they haven’t put their seal on it then it can’t be any good. How can the FDA put a seal on proper nutrition though? How many of the behavioral problems at school could be solved by eliminating sugary cereals for breakfast? DH says when he’s teaching junior high, he can tell by 3rd period who had sugar for breakfast and who didn’t. The sugar kids are starting to crash and becoming irritable when moments before they were jumping off the walls.
I can’t help feeling that a lot of the new “popular” diagnoses are related more too improper nutrition than mysterious maladies. I would love to have someone diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome document their food intake for a full year and submit it to me.
We talk about childhood obesity and obesity in general. How much of that is related to sitting in front of the TV and how much to fast food rather than home cooked meals?
At work, in an attempt to lower health costs (and improve productivity), they started a Weight Watchers group. Weight Watchers has two programs the FastTrack where you count points, and the Core, where you don’t count points but what you eat comes from whole foods. I think I’m the only person at work on Core. I really didn’t find it hard to drop the sauces off meat and vegetables. What I did find is that as a family, we’ve been eating out much too often. It’s easier to pick up 3 tacos for $1 than it is to remember to thaw something out and put it in the oven after work. We’ve been doing better as an entire family these last few weeks. But I do find that I’m spending more in groceries. Fast Food Nation warned that poverty may be contributing to poor eating habits since fast food is cheap and plentiful and when both parents are working, it’s easier and cheaper than cooking from scratch.
How many people remember how to make the simple meals of a few generations back? I remember sitting at Grandma’s table where dinner consisted of salad with homemade dressing, steamed carrots, potatoes and onions, all from the garden. Dessert was home canned peaches. There wasn’t a preservative in site and the food tasted better although the tomatoes and the carrots weren’t the pretty kind that one finds in the grocery store today. Have we really traded substance for style? I worry about chickens eating chicken parts instead of grain. But that’s really another subject and once again, I’ve let myself ramble into another topic…

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  1. Lee

     /  May 16, 2006

    Well said!

  2. Daniel Haszard

     /  May 30, 2006

    Appreciate your blog,mental health consumers are the least capable of self advocacy,my doctors made me take zyprexa for 4 years which was ineffective for my symptoms.I now have a victims support page against Eli Lilly for it’s Zyprexa product causing my diabetes.–Daniel Haszard http://www.zyprexa-victims.com


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