So Many Drugs, So Little Time

I read an interesting article at TIME magazine’s website today, and it just came together with some of the other things that I have noticed recently.

My grandmother came and stayed with us about a month ago and I noticed that she had a bag full of medication, probably 10 different prescriptions each day.  I was shocked.  I don’t want to be taking that many pills when I get to be her age.

I was at the pharmacy the other day and observed that THERE ARE A LOT OF DRUGS.  That realization hit me as I stood at the counter to get some medication for my daughter.  As odd as it may be for a chiropractor, I’m not opposed to medication.  I work with medical doctors, and appreciate the amazing things drugs can do.  My family of 5 may fill 2 maybe 3 short term prescriptions per year.

I stood at the pharmacy in disbelief just running the numbers in my mind.  There were thousands of prescriptions waiting to be picked up that one day in this one pharmacy.  There are pharmacies in every grocery store.  I wondered how many drugs this city was taking.

Then came this article showing that over 50% of all Americans are on medications not just short term, but for chronic conditions.  WOW!  What has happened?  I took a look at some research to see.

In the last 50 years medication technology took off.  From 1900-1950 life expectancy increased about 30 years.  From 1950-2000 it increased about 5 years.  In 1950 5% of our GDP was spent on healthcare in 2007 it was 16%.  People are taking less responsibility for their own health, but spending more on it.  Medicine has nearly destroyed infectious disease, but now chronic and degenerative diseases have taken their place.  Perhaps pills have made us lazy, or at least had a hand in it.  We may never overcome our desire for a quick fix with improved medicine.

What did our fore bearers do?  They didn’t have all these drugs yet they still lived good full lives.  Happiness levels haven’t changed as long as they’ve been studied.  I’m not saying we should get rid of drugs.  I am saying that perhaps we shouldn’t use them as much.  That goes for chiropractic as well.  If people just lived better, we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in.

You know the number one treatment for heart disease is diet and exercise.  Just because you can take a pill or get an adjustment (more info) to lower your blood pressure doesn’t mean you should get lazy.

Just imagine what our society would be like if we lived healthily and utilized healthcare advances.

2 thoughts on “So Many Drugs, So Little Time

  1. Betsy Gordon

    Hi —

    I certainly agree with you that many people are looking for a quick fix by taking multiple medications. BUT — I also think that lots of us are living with chronic conditions that, untreated, would severely limit what we could do in the outside world. With medication, and with chiropractic care, such people can control pain and improve function to the point where we are able to work and live almost as if the chronic conditions were minimal.

    You’re also right in being horrified by the sheer number of drugs out there!

    Best wishes,

    Betsy Gordon


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