I have discussed on other blogs, if not this one, many times the logical disconnect in logic between the legalization of alcohol and the criminalization of marijuana. The main reason alcohol and tobacco are legal and pot isn’t, is due to a major marketing and lobbing effort by the two industries to push out a substitute good. The now cult classic flick known as “Refer madness” was originally produced as a public awareness message to warn of the dangers of marijuana usage. It was funded by the alcohol and tobacco industries. It contains wild and untrue assertions about the use of pot. It includes a scene of people taking it intravenously. It was meant to stir paranoia in the ignorant masses. It worked.
“Weed” had one major problem, it grows like a weed anywhere. Hard to make money off that. Unless you live in the lush climate of the south, you are not growing tobacco in your back yard. Certainly not in the quantities to support the average nicotine habit. So there is an industry. As a home brewer, I can tell you that brewing a drinkable beer is no easy chore even with today’s advances. So alcohol had an industry.
Cocaine can be grown and harvested then brought to the border pretty inexpensively. The biggest cost is the logistics in getting to the US consumer. And again, aside from the awful social affects that come with it, cocaine was pushed out by the alcohol and tobacco industries. Here they weren’t making up the socially unhealthy side affects. Prozac as it turns out is a very complimentary drug for the two industries. This is because its use increases the desire for their product. Go figure.
“So, LOL, besides the political and economical relationship, what else do they have in common? Right now this seems like a stretch.” Nice class, I am glad you asked. Cocaine acts on the brain by increasing the dopamine levels. Get this, it does this by “inhibiting” the cells to reabsorb dopamine. (If that doesn’t sound familiar, it will.) Dopamine is a response to pleasure signals. In your brain it makes you feel happy and pleasurable when warranted. So without the ability to absorb it, people become “euphoric”. Dopamine is a precursor (forerunner) of adrenaline and a closely related molecule, noradrenaline.
Now, for those who have been following along, Prozac and the class of drugs known as (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) SSRI’s. Please note the word “inhibitors”. Serotonin does the exact same thing as dopamine from a slightly different perspective. SSRI’s stop the reabsorbing of this pleasure producing chemical back into the cells. The results of it’s presence in the brain is nearly mirrored to that of cocaine. So are the side affects.
So lets take this one step further and apply a little logic. Why don’t we want people openly using cocaine in our society. Most of us, especially reading this blog would agree that cocaine and any drug use that doesn’t negatively affect the community at large should be completely legal. If you want to sit in your living room and snort coke, destroy your house, and scream profanity at the top of your lungs, go to it. As long as you don’t have a spouse or children who will be effected by this activity, party on Skippy. What you do to yourself in your own home is your business. However, coke and crack alike has a personality altering affect that produces citizens that are not functional healthy members of the community. By that, I mean they loose the ability to be good parents, hold down a job, or do an important job that requires responsibility to the required level. It has been known to produce violent and other criminal behavior such as theft, fraud, and sexual crimes. So our freedom seeking American society has cast it out as too much of a threat to our goal of social harmony. However, these SSRI’s have been proven to produce the exact same result. Because they are not often identified as the cause, they are not demonized. So why are they handed out like jelly beans at Easter.
Look, when you are talking about messing with brain chemicals, there are no guarantees. That is basically what my own counselor told me. Handing people these drugs nothing more then treating them like lab rats. So if for no apparent reason your wife runs off with your child and then falsely files a police report that she has been kidnapped, it is thought that adjustments need made. We all know people who can drink like a fish and walk out generally sober. We also know people who after 1 drink act like they have been drinking all afternoon. I know people who if I told you they do coke with some regularity, you would curl up your face and say, “really”. God knows I did. These drugs have the exact same consistency. The results are often the same unhealthy personality emerges. The difference is that since they are FDA approved and doctor prescribed, people look right past them as the cause when somebody’s personality on these flip. The diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that some people’s brain chemistry naturally goes haywire and act similarly. This results on many supporters of these drugs to say, “see people do this all the time that haven’t taken this drug”. To that I say, “my foot gets wet whether I get caught in the rain or I piss on it. The difference is one is my fault, and you can’t do anything about the weather.”
There are countless cases of people on these drugs doing the most heinous crimes. Here are just a few high profile ones. http://www.health-essentials.info/science/health-issues/ssri01.html . Then there are the ones that don’t make the news because nobody makes the connection. Then there are the grey areas where the personality flip ruins small individual lives as their person turns dysfunctional, but doesn’t do anything illegal. Children end up growing up in split homes, financial strains cause bankruptcy, disease are spread, abortions are had, and unwanted children are brought into the world. But we will leave that for another post.
The problem is that people who are already in a troubled state are going to doctors they trust and getting prescriptions for these antidepressants. Whether it be a vet returning with PTSD, a child who lost his mother at an early age, a deadly disease patient that is suffering from depressions, a mother suffering from post partum, or my favorite a wife who suffers from mild anxiety, anyone of them could be predisposed to heightened receptiveness to an increase in serotonin. Many times their adverse feelings are completely unrelated to a lack of serotonin level. You might as well snort coke or become an alcoholic. At the end of the day, whatever problem caused you to seek out mental health therapy, its still there. Now you have a deficiency in whatever was causing your problem and a serotonin addiction. Now you are headlong in the wrong direction at mach 2 with your ass on fire. Great job docs.
The trouble is how many people are getting rich off this. The drug companies are getting rich, the divorce lawyers are busy, the courts are full, the prisons are fuller, and the therapists who prescribed the drug often get business from the patients spouse, children, and even extended family members. Oh and don’t forget the doctors prescribing it.
Look, there are a select group of a few people who have serotonin deficiencies. For these people, SSRI’s are the answer. But what is becoming evident to me is that many of these people are not having their issues addressed. They are being prescribed aspirin for a brain tumor. I personally know of three people who were prescribed SSRI’s for to cope with anexiety. Caught early enough and having knowledgeable people around them they were taken off the drug quickly. One had a thyroid problem. The other had an androgen deficiency. The third just had deep rooted issues that needed brought into the open. A forth, well, I miss my baby.