Monday, November 22, 2010

The Drink

We have a customer, a relatively young individual, who's been through a succession of reflux medications and got rather agitated when his new PPI prescription wasn't covered.
I spoke directly to the prescriber, a younger female physician who actually sounded kind of scared of the guy. "What he really needs to do is put away the vodka," she informed me.

Obviously many of our pharmacy customers have conditions that they have no control over, but others can attribute a lot of their medical problems to things like obesity, smoking, and alcohol. I recently read a small news item in Newsweek magazine that stated,

British researchers find that alcohol is more destructive to individuals
and society than any other drug, including heroin and crack.

Pretty eye-catching statement, but I think it's true. I'm thankful that my parents were only social drinkers -- it was an occasional thing, holidays and special occasions, and no one ever got drunk. I am the same way. I wasn't aware of it as a kid, but I realize now that I have numerous extended family members who are approaching middle age looking back at a legacy of broken relationships, estranged children, shaky financial status and general poor health as a result of the erratic and unpredictable behavior that comes with alcohol dependence.

I work with people who talk about 'going to the bar' like it's a destination in itself. That's their weekend activity. They leave their kids in the care of others so they can hit the bars.
Their kids eventually catch on to this and recycle the behavior later themselves. People describe something to me that happens at home with their (haha) 'plastered' spouse and I think to myself, YOUR HUSBAND IS AN ALCOHOLIC. Why can't you see that? I'm not talking about college students here; these are full-grown adults.

Think about the percentage of police calls that are related in some way to alcohol. (Watch an episode of "Cops".) It's phenomenal. I once heard someone say that beer is the most underrated drug in America.

Unfortunately, smarter people than me don't know what can be done about it. Alcohol is never going to be illegal. Humans are social animals and alcohol is associated with that. We've created a stressful society where people are looking for ways to take the edge off. I believe some people are genetically predisposed to 'addictions' while others will never come close to any kind of problem. But the impact of alcohol on our society really is very dramatic, when you think about it.

Just another observation from behind the counter.....


Unknown said...

30 years of heavy drinking left my estranged husband with Barrett's esophagus in addition to severe GERD.

The one bright thing to come out of it is that it hopefully gave my daughter a lasting example of the damage excessive alcohol use can cause to both the alcoholic and the people in their life.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Good points. All solid.

C said...

I agree with you.

And their going after people smoking pot. What a waste. I don't see too many stoned people starting fights-they are eating or napping.

I'm not advocating doing anything illegal, I'm just tired of the violence and destruction it is/has caused.

lovinmyjob said...

On a related topic, just today I read a small survey in a magazine that said that 73% of people believe they should be allowed to take their children and babies into bars. So, 73% of people surveyed are crazy! Not only will they see mom or dad going our and leaving them with a sitter, these children would actually accompany their parents. A) should these kids not be in bed? B) do you really want to expose your child to the things done/said in bars? C) where is DHS when you need them?

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

There is no doubt that alcohol has destroyed many lives. Like any other addiction it can be tought to overcome. But the answers to what to do about this huge alcohol problem isn't clear. It is especially important around the holidays when lots of people are on the roads to realize that alcohol and driving don't mix but that lesson will be forgotten by a lot of people in the coming weeks I'm afraid.