Submitted Date 07/14/2019

America Can Do Better

Part 2


Speaking of trying to kill us, at what point in time did it become my job to tell the doctor what medicine I need? Isn't that why they go to medical school all those years, to diagnosis and know how to treat patients? Now we have commercials on 24/7 about all kinds of disorders, diseases, and ailments and how this pill or that treatment is what I need to tell my doctor I need. I'm certain if you watch enough television you'll be convinced by these long-winded, often vague visual spectacles, that you're dying of something and need a prescription for a drug you can barely pronounce.


Doctor's are not innocent in this new drug pushing protocol either. When did the Hippocratic oath get traded in for pimping the prescription of whichever drug company offered the biggest kickback? Our health care system has become another greedy corporate beast and pharmaceutical companies are preying on those in need.


There is a treatment available called H.P. Acthar. It's a hormone believed to help the body produce its own steroids that regulate inflammation. It is used to treat several conditions including multiple sclerosis and infantile spasms. In 2000, a vial of H.P. Acthar cost around $40. As recently as 2018, a vial of Acthar gel can cost nearly $40,000, an increase of 100,000%. (Yes, that's one-hundred thousand percent!!!) Whistleblowers revealed bribery and illegal marketing are what drove the price sky-high. Meanwhile, people in need of this treatment are not able to afford this now, luxury item.


Other prescriptions that have been in the news with regard to price gouging include insulin and epi-pens, two life-saving treatments that could be made readily available. But we live in a free market where companies can charge whatever they want so why not jack prices up for things people need? As they see it, they'll either pay the price or die, and no one wants to die.


My other problem with pharmaceutical companies and prescription drugs, in general, is how quick we are to start popping a pill to fix a problem instead of addressing the issue at hand. When I was working on my master's degree, I worked in the county group homes for troubled teens. One of my jobs was distributing medications. We had to keep track of everything which meant counting a copious amount of pills every day.


These kids were on all kinds of drugs, by that I mean mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anti-anxieties, and ADHD medications like Ritalin or Adderall. Now, I realize there is a need for these medications and mental health issues are treatable when properly diagnosed. My problem with it, in this case, was these kids were just normal, hormonal young people trapped in that awkward time between the innocence of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood.


They didn't need to be locked down and doped up on prescriptions. Most of them just needed the love and attention of parents, too busy working long hours to make ends meet. They needed guidance and compassion from the people they love and acceptance from the peers they encounter every day. They just wanted to be seen and heard but the only behavior that got your attention, that made you look up and take notice was the bad behaviors. Instead of recognizing the cry for help, the system labels them troubled and puts them in a group home, separating them from their family and friends.


These kids needed teachers who could recognize their troubles and the struggles they faced. But now, schools are too focused on test scores and standardization requirements. We're cramming them full of unnecessarily complicated ways of doing math problems instead of teaching them valuable skills they need to make it on their own.


We've become so focused on getting to the finish line first that we've lost the ability to take time and enjoy the moments of happiness or to grieve in times of sadness. Our days are filled with reminders we're not good enough, smart enough, or rich enough. We're made to believe we'll never truly be happy unless we have what someone else has.


We will always be in the pursuit of happiness when we try to find joy from objects. Life is about experiencing a range of emotions through both good times and bad. Everyone sees life in their own way without realizing perception of the situation dictates our emotional reaction. Blame is passed around the room and no one ever wants to take responsibility for their role in what has transpired. Then we wonder why we can't get through to them when we're not even able to look at ourselves and recognize the mistakes we made.


We have the ability to see life events in a positive way that teaches and builds character, or we can choose to play the victim of circumstance and live a life of giving up and just getting by. Things are going to happen in life, some we have control of and other times it's out of our hands. Either way, you are the one who is in charge of how it makes you feel, what it makes you do, and who you become as a result.



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