It is common for the average person to take paracetamol when they have a fever, which gets in the way of their busy schedule. How often do we take sinex or disprin when we have a cold or a headache? I have also seen a lot of girls take pain relievers like aspirin for pain relief during the menstrual cycle. Medicines are saviors, but aren’t medicines also “medicines”, having only a “pharmaceutical” label in front of them? If the word “drug” has such a bad connotation in our society, why is a “pharmaceutical drug” an exception?
It is true that pharmaceutical drugs have the advantage of relieving the discomfort and illnesses one faces as a disadvantage of being a living organism. But is it absolutely necessary to ingest these drugs when nature itself gives our body the capacity to perform this task? If being a living being has the disadvantage of suffering from various types of diseases, they also have the privilege of having an immune system. Often times when the capacity of the immune system becomes full, it is when we were supposed to take medication for their support, under the supervision of a licensed health service provider. But nowadays they are taken so frequently, mostly unsupervised, that the drugs seem to be the masters of the body. Where was such confidence built?
These drugs are ultimately drugs, regardless of the benefit they give us. More importantly, the benefits are not long term. They can bring immediate relief to our body. But in the long term, decrease / degrade our body’s natural ability to fight disease. The effect of a drug is simple; if we take them, we have to keep taking them. Our bodies become lazy to fight disease on their own, rather than letting drugs do it. So, unless it is necessary, why weaken our naturally healthy immune system? Is it worth spending our money for immediate relief?
For the majority of people, the answer is yes. What are the reasons for these addictions and for this blind reliance of people on drugs? First, they make our lives easier by relieving us of what we are suffering much faster than natural remedies. They are the ones to rely on when our body is feeling helpless. Medicine is that invention which overturned the tables of life and death! And second, they are readily available at any drugstore. Some need a doctor’s prescription, while others can be taken without a prescription. Unethical doctors and health institutes are also to blame. According to PLOS Medicine (2005), Nepalese doctors have started to become targets for pharmaceutical industry promotional activities and are abusing their power to prescribe drugs with the stroke of a pen.
While some drugs can be miraculous, just like the way people think these days, some drugs are so dangerous that they can do the opposite! Pain relievers can permanently damage your liver; antibiotics can alter hormone function and cause dehydration and many tablets can be life threatening if taken even a milligram more than prescribed. The scariest thing yet is that some can even suppress what our body is going through!
There is a case that a person with severe pain in the lower abdomen area avoided seeing a doctor for proper medical treatment. Instead, they relied on pain relievers because it relieved them of the pain. The pain reliever gave them relief, but it was temporary relief as well as a solution for the body. They turned out to be suffering from a tumor inside their stomachs that pain medication obviously couldn’t get rid of. Instead, the tumor was worse due to the delay in treatment. It is still unclear why the person did not go to the doctor and instead took the pain away with pain relievers. However, he gives the example of how drugs make us carefree about our body, how they hide and remove suffering from the body.
Despite this, the tendency has been not to consult doctors and to take them. Especially those that are considered “common”. For example, D-cold and Ibuprofen. In addition, nearby pharmacies sell them without consulting the authorities. According to Statista (March 9, 2021), total sales of pharmaceuticals in the United States were estimated at around US $ 514 billion. In Nepal, it is estimated that the demand for drugs will reach 1.65 tons per year by 2024-25. According to Apil R Bohara, the National Drug Survey conducted in 2012 found that there were 91,534 hard drug users in the country. It is also mentioned that many drug addicts are dependent on pharmaceutical drugs, the main reason being their easy availability and access. It is further mentioned that even pharmacists can sometimes be unaware that a certain drug can be misused as a drug. The risks become enormous again if we start to quote.
The irony is that by the word ‘drug’ our society is so allergic and what ‘pharmaceutical’ is presented in front of the word, it is so normal, rather supreme! An average person would pray to them within a few years! The development of technology, invention and manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs is truly a blessing for the human world, but is starting to dominate their life. With the advancement of technology, there are definitely downsides and one of them is too much reliance on them. Have we lost our body’s confidence? Are we not really taking care of our bodies leaving everything to drugs?
Some of the measures that can be taken are regulation of the production and distribution of drugs. Raising taxes for these can help reduce the sale and purchase by a significant amount. Only absolutely essential drugs should be provided and to the right people. In addition, we must consult and buy only from authorized persons. There are a growing number of health service providers and institutes. The government should verify their authenticity. Most importantly, the remote control of the body does not belong to anyone other than the owners of the body.
Recently, I came across an essay by David Leonhardt during my studies. The trial was linked to the burning issue of obesity in America. The main argument of the writer revolved around the way of life today which has led citizens to transfer responsibility for their health to other bodies like health facilitators or the government, due to which those with secondary responsibilities (the primary responsibility being citizens) must intervene. I can not agree less!
In today’s world, it is impossible to imagine life without drugs, but we can certainly reduce their use. All we need is to invest time and effort in our busy schedule to take care of our bodies and educate ourselves about pharmaceutical drugs, instead of investing money in them. When we give ourselves the time and effort, we can go for alternatives like having nutritious foods that boost immunity. Citrus fruits like lime and oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, herbs like tulsi (basil) help relieve fever and headaches, turmeric naturally has antibacterial properties. Spending time exercising, relaxing and doing recreational activities also makes a difference. Getting proper rest and sleep is one of the healthiest and natural ways to fight disease. A little time and effort is enough, and we can soon realize that our bodies are doing well without drugs.
Originally, pharmaceutical drugs were to be taken only when clearly needed. Why not keep the idea? Why take advantage of the long term disadvantage of a weak immune system for immediate satisfaction relief? When the majority of our business revolves around a better future (eg studying, saving money, etc.), why is it the opposite in this case?