Thinking About Drugs Makes Me Want Drugs

I rarely drink but when I do it's something unusual.

I rarely drink but when I do it’s something unusual.

Vicodin! Oh, my poor wee bairns.
Credit: A Guru’s Lament

First things first. I hate drugs*.

*Per the Drug Subsistence Manual (DSM) III: A definition of “drug” that excepts caffeine and alcohol.

As I was saying, I hate drugs. I almost never take them. Present company of alcohol and caffeine excepted, of course. I have to be in some dire straits to even consider it and, even then, I generally take less than the recommended dosage.

I don’t like ibuprofen and I don’t like Tylenol. I even eschew aspirin. My wife knows a lot about prescription medications she’ll often respond to my whining by saying something like, “Take four of these horse-sized pills.” I’ll usually only take one or two.

Topping my list of things I hate is nicotine and marijuana. Gross and pointless. I understand life is hard. My advice? Eat it. (Life, I mean.) If you’re not going to live in the reality of the here and now, why bother? What’s the point?

I do admit, though, that Walter White’s “blue ice” looks tempting. I wouldn’t mind taking some of that fictionalized meth for a spin. Just one time.

And yet…

When the dentist builds a cell phone tower in my mouth, he used to prescribe a pitiful dosage of weak-assed Vicodin pills. I’d literally grit my teeth and suffer through the pain just so I could save those suckers for a rainy day.

Why? Because, why I really am in pain I want relief. And none of that totally fake OTC placebo bullshit, either. I feel I’m entitled. I’ve earned it. I don’t abuse my drugs.

So what happens? When it’s my turn to belly up to the pain trough, society tells me to eat it. Nice.

heisenbergThe United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970 defines something known as “Schedule II drugs.” Why does the government always obfuscate things to the Nth degree. Why don’t they come up with a color-coded pictograph like they did for terrorism? You know, keep it simple. “Holy shit. Vicodin is red. What’s that mean? Let me check the chart. Oh, just that it will consume your unborn. Gulp! Mmm, mmm, good!”

Schedule II includes drugs that serve a legitimate medical purpose, have a “high potential for abuse,” and can lead to “severe” physical or psychological dependence.

A good chunk of medications on the list are defined as opiates, like my old pal, Vicodin. (Which is just a brand name for hydrocodone.) Opiates basically come from opium, which, as we all know, is the dried latex from the opium poppy.

I like to imagine perhaps tens of thousands of years ago there was a dude in a hut. Nearby happened to be a field of opium poppies. (It could happen.) Through luck, he discovered how to use the plant to lessen pain. There were no doctors running around with their fancy prescription pads charging $190 for three-minute visits, so what did our ancient friend do? He took some when he felt pain.

Back then it was a schedule do-whatever-you-want drug since there was no fancy government around, either.

I have to wonder: Was that really so bad for him? Did he end up escalating his consumption to the point of 24/7 and death? Did he control it? I’m not so sure.

What I do know is that he got to use it when he wanted. Something denied to me, your average modern day human.

Now when I go to the dentist and he builds a cell phone tower in my mouth, he no longer issues prescriptions for Vicodin, or anything else, for that matter. He’s apparently too scared. If I demand answers he’ll mumble something about OTC crap and then awkwardly disappear.

The FDA recently announced that hydrocodone products, like Vicodin, will be moved from Schedule III where they are harder than hell for the law-abiding citizen to get to Schedule II where the only way to get your hands on them will be to do a cavity search on your doctor.

Bottom line: Addictive assholes who pop illegal drugs like Pez dispensers will still have plenty. And, when I’m finally forced to turn to modern medicine in extreme pain, they’ll have nothing for me and tell me to go french kiss a leech or something. “Sorry, Oliver. No gruel for you.”

Once again other fuckups, the “bad apples” in life, have ruined it for everyone else. “… the FDA has become increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reached epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States.”

That hurts.

5 responses

  1. I’ve a feeling Vicodin and Tramadol are sibling medications. I enjoy the pain relief I get from tramadol, something few other meds give me when I am at a peak of physical pain, but I do not enjoy the grogginess and generally lethargy they induce if I have to take them for more than a few days at a time. So hopefully that means addiction is not on the cards for me. I’m too addicted to watching that gif where Nicholas Cage’s face has been superimposed onto Miley Cyrus’s body in the Wrecking Ball video , anyway. 🙂

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    1. Yes, Tramadol is another member of the opiates family. Apparently opium is such good stuff that all they do is mix a little bit with something else, give it a name, and – viola! – sell it as something new. And here we thought the high price of medication was based on clever research and development. Nope. It’s more like an episode of Iron Chef where opium is the secret ingredient. Allez cuisine!

      The face and behavior of Miley Cyrus actually tempts me to become addicted to opiates just so I’ll groggy enough to no longer care.

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  2. Being part of the drug industry, I generally avoid them too — knowing a bit too much about how certain sausages are made.

    In our labs, all the Sched-IV stuff has to be maintained with an inventory that the Feds can come check whenever they want. Totally discourages — ahem — sampling.

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    1. Good point. Medication is like sausages. Yummy! 🙂

      This whole affair makes me think someone was being a Schedule I asshole.

      Regarding abuse, I don’t understand why we don’t have some sort of national pharmaceutical registry database. (I mean one that actually works.) Working in the health insurance field my wife was aware of people who would see 12 different doctors in a single month to get 12 different painkiller prescriptions. If all prescriptions were forced through a central database then doctors couldn’t conflict with each other and red flags would be raised. No doubt abuse could be somewhat curtailed.

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      1. The damn thing is, I’m sure most of the regulations went in for a good reason — and then like seeds of confusion, blossomed into the clusterfuck that is modern American medical practice.

        Health IT has certainly come a long way in the past decade, and I wonder if the industry is moving towards something like that — though you’d have to get all the big parties to play along and come up with standards.

        Not to mention the tin-hat crowd knee-jerk reaction to “more” regulation.

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