Think about this list of side effects for a popular drug advertised on television, “Call a doctor if you’re feeling like you might pass out, urinating more or less than usual, or not at all, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, tired feeling, muscle weakness, and pounding or uneven heartbeats, chest pain; or swelling, rapid weight gain,cough, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, depressed mood, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, or mild skin itching or rash.” And that’s not even all of them!
We’ve all seen those commercials where they read off a list of ridiculous side effects that can come from taking their drug, but they play some catchy or uplifting music and show a pretty lady doing yoga in a field of flowers with her Golden Retriever. Her life is great because she had some kind of sickness or disease and this company’s magic pill helped her overcome her issue and now she can do yoga. That all seems great until you realize the side effects that can (and very well could) come from taking whatever drug they’re pushing you to buy. And this is all for a legal drug that can be prescribed to you by a doctor. Imagine what can come from drugs like heroin, meth, or cocaine?
One of the many issues with drugs is that they offer a quick fix to our problems. Want to lose some weight but not put in the effort? Take our magic pill and eat what you want without consequence except one of the side effects is that you could have a heart attack or go blind. Suffer from depression? Our drug will help you overcome your depression only except there’s a slight chance it could have the reverse effect and your depression will worsen, leading to suicidal thoughts and tendencies, something you might already be struggling with anyways. Not to mention you could suffer from some minor paralysis as well. Having some issues at home? Drink some alcohol and forget about the whole thing for at least a couple of hours.
Now, we don’t want to blame the victim in any way, because if you have something that you’re struggling with like depression you should speak with someone immediately to get help. But drug companies and drug pushers would have us believe that maybe it’s ok to ignore the consequences of our actions and just look to the quick fix solution to our problems.
Persistent drug users, whether they be in the form of pills, a bottle, or something you can smoke, are often looking for a way to escape from their problems. With certain states legalizing marijuana (and likely there are more to come), we paint the image that maybe it’s acceptable to step away from reality and not deal with personal issues in a responsible way. But maybe if we can teach people that drugs don’t make the problem go away, that they just make it worse, we could start to see some real change. Sometimes life is hard, and that’s ok. How we react to difficult times in our lives define who we are and make us better people for the road ahead.