Just Thinking: The War on Drugs

JUST THINKING: Thought provoking topics that make you…think
”The War on Drugs”
By Michael Wexler

It’s always sad when a bastion of days past disappears. For those who don’t remember, there was the old McDonald’s Apple Pie (fried, in a sleeve.) The bees are apparently missing in action. And what ever happened to the milkman? Speaking of which, I haven’t seen the Good Humor Man lately either. We can only suspect…

But alas, one of the other stanchions of society who does not get as much respect or limelight inside of this discussion is also on the outs. Have you noticed that the corner drug dealer – or CDD – is conspicuously missing? Not the guy in the park, but the corner drug dealer that cared, the guy or girl who was at your beck and call, who was there with a pinch of this or a pop of that when Junior got all F’s on his report card? The covert cowboy (or girl) who roamed the streets in his or her beat-up Cadillac but always had time (or a little something) when the marriage was on the rocks, when the BF was being BS, when Grandma had cataracts and no one else had time to give her the time of day?

Yes, this member of our community, our friend, the man or woman who we know from coaching little league, PTA bake sales…this Robin Hood, a sheep in wolf’s clothing, is disappearing at an alarming rate. Part of it is legalization; dispensaries displacing dialogue, but a larger part of it is an imbroglio that has been perpetrated against the corner drug dealer right before our very eyes.

Who is the culprit? The fox in the hen-house? None other than: big pharma. Big pharma, the pharmaceutical industry, has been waging a de facto, underground war on the CDD. How does it function? What is the DNA of the imbroglio?

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#1. Acronymization: Pharmaceutical companies literally make up or “distinguish” amorphous maladies which previously had no name and were the purview of the CDD. ADD, ED, Low T, SAD, just to name a few.

#2. Marketing: Once the ailment has been established, big pharma goes about creating the cure (or the other way around.) And once a cure has been created, we are convinced that we have the ailment. It is a brilliant stroke of vertical integration.

#3. Insurance Fraud: Now that the ailment, cure, and audience have been established, the condition, necessarily, must be covered by insurance, right? We go to our local Super pharmacy, pay a $5 co-pay and get our pain killers, anti-depressants, and Viagra. The pharmaceutical industry has passed off the bill to a far more reliable payee: the insurance industry.

Let’s be clear: nobody is bemoaning the availability of cheaper, cleaner drugs, but we must not overlook the human toll. Lost in the shuffle of “progress,” is an icon tantamount to the bees or the milkman or the fried apple pie. To us it may be a speck on the radar but think about those who are daily losing their livings and customers and connections.

What are you going to tell “Johnny” or “Frankie” or “Sticky Green Ruthie” when he, she, or they pull up in that old Cadillac (desperately in need of repair) and looking bedraggled?

“Sorry, dude. I’m working with Merck now?”

“Oh, yeah. The dispensary is legal and you’re not.”

“Don’t talk to me anymore.”

As we continue in a mindless quest to simplify and streamline the exigencies of life, we must not forget that forces beyond our recognition are deviously at play. Big pharma is perpetrating a virtual genocide and I don’t know about you but I’m not going to just sit here and take it. I’m going to “Just Say No.”

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There is plenty of business to go around and the old, farm-to-table cures are often better, and healthier, than their synthetic alternatives. Not only that, I don’t want to see the CDD go the way of the cobbler and the Hacky Sack and the Falabella (that’s a small pony.)

This may not seem like a pressing issue, but that’s what we do around here. We complain and we notice and we comment. We may never get off the couch, but at least we’re…just thinking.

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Michael Wexler received his BA in English from Princeton University. He has published six books, released five records, and taught at the university level. Check him out @ www.wexworks.net