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FIRST-PERSON: Legal medicines can become wolves in sheep’s clothing

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)–America’s pharmaceutical companies, anxious to promote their wide array of behavior and mood-altering substances, have adopted the television commercial as an instant avenue to financial success. These attractive crutches, ballyhooed as sure answers to every unpleasant experience, have caught the instant attention of viewing audiences.

Our nation’s efforts have been riveted on cleansing society of such illegal monsters as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and L.S.D. After all, the terrifying consequences resulting from the use of these drugs fill our daily media news reports. Indeed, it seems that no family is immune from this international tragedy.

In our anxiety to cure this problem, whether by affixing blame and dispensing punishment or by treating its victims, we have conveniently overlooked the devastating effects of some of the medicines on the legal market. Legality does not remove the potential for abuse and the resulting serious injury or death. We are constantly reminded by professionals in white coats, “Don’t do drugs; take your medicine!” While it is quite true that many medications may prove extremely useful under certain conditions, these same medicines, when not needed, may become inviting avenues for ultimate dependence and loss of physical, mental and spiritual control.

The current advertising crusade to promote the use of antidepressants such as Prozac is a classic example of the overkill. Similar strategies have been embraced by many legal peddlers who readily take advantage of the popular belief that there is some substance that will ease every bit of pain or obliterate every unhappy occurrence. We must understand that healing sometimes requires some hurt and that overcoming problems of life often requires strenuous struggles.

A warning to those who would fall prey to such advertising blitzes: Many states have reported in recent years more documented cases of those whose deaths were attributed to the abuse of antidepressants and such medicines than those whose demise was caused by either heroin or cocaine. To those whose current situations require such medications, we must remind you to seek at least two medical opinions before embarking on such a course, and please be careful to follow the instructions of your doctor and pharmacist. If you note any unusual side effect, notify your doctor immediately. Always utilize your God-given common sense.

Another major transgression against the public has been the over-prescription of medicines for those who have been diagnosed with deficit attention disorders. While these drugs have been helpful to children in some cases, in many other situations the prescription of such medicines has been a convenient method for control of the patient.

The lure of the popular tranquilizers, anti-anxiety medicines and barbiturates causes countless individuals to slide gradually into the misery of the addictive lifestyle without adequate warning. For some, the wakeup call is slow in coming. For others, rock bottom is too late!

The responsibility for this urgent dilemma, however, lies not with the medical community alone. We, the public, must change our present mindset that seeks the easy way out. Sometimes the capsule, pill or liquid will not provide rescue, but instead will enslave and destroy.

Our drug problem is much bigger than we once imagined!
Stone and Barber, of Durham, N.C., are coauthors of two books on alcohol and drug abuse, “Hope for the One Who Hurts” and “Hope for the One Who Cares,” both available from LifeWay Christian Stores.

    About the Author

  • Ted G. Stone & Philip D. Barber