The disgrace of medicine has been that colossal system of self-deception, in obedience to which mines have been emptied of their cankering minerals, the entrails of animals taken for their impurities, the poison bag of reptiles drained for their venom, and all the inconceivable absurdities thus obtained thrust down the throats of human beings suffering simply of some want of organization, nourishment or vital stimulation.

If all the drugs were cast into the sea, it would be so much better for man, and so much the worse for the fishes.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94)

 

When people think about the appalling effects of drugs in the world there comes to mind pictures of heavily armed drug barons in jungle hideaways, drug pick-ups from darkened boats offshore and from secret airstrips, of evil mafia characters, drug pushers and emaciated addicts. We think of young people lying dead in untidy rooms or in back alleys.

That alcohol and cigarettes, albeit in a slower way, wreck more lives and physically destroy far more people than illegal drugs does not arouse all that much concern because they have long been an established part of our culture, considered by many to be quite an essential part. The people who control the liquor and tobacco industries and who push their products in lavish advertising sprees would have to be as morally corrupt as any jungle drug baron, but instead of being hounded by the law they are looked upon, often in admiration, as dynamic and successful businessmen.

Be that as it may, that's what we've got, and everybody knows it. But what everybody does not know is that there is a more insidious and widespread drug danger to humanity than all the others put together, and that is the ever-increasing consumption of pharmaceutical products which, in terms of money, corruption and danger, makes the operation of jungle drug barons look like chickenfeed. The pharmaceutical companies don't just target impressionable teenagers for their next crop of addicts; they target everybody, young and old.

Almost everyone at some time or another takes medicine either bought over the counter or prescribed by their doctor, without for one second querying whether it may be anything other than good for them. They are entitled to feel that way because they trust their doctor and respect his vast knowledge. If only they knew just how little he really knew!

Regardless of whatever effect is conveyed by medicine, it is a fact that any chemical substance-other than those in natural nutrients--that enters the bloodstream is sensed by the body as a poison to be neutralized and eliminated as quickly as possible, and it is the job of the liver, kidneys, immune system and other vital organs to achieve this. Because most medicines are not virulent poisons, they can be neutralized and eliminated without too much difficulty, and if adverse effects are experienced they are defined medically to be only "side effects"--a term that sounds better than poisoning. However, with or without side effects the body's systems--no doubt already overburdened with other toxins to start with--has been put under even greater strain, and it is no wonder that after many years of drug-treated chronic illness, one or another of the vital organs breaks down and death of the patient ensues. The patient's death is reported in the local news as having occurred after a long illness--which is true--but it would be more accurate to say that the death was consequential to a long process of poisoning the patient could no longer endure.

Iatrogenic disease* has always been known to be a major cause of death, and if allowance is made for the undetected and unrecorded cases it would be reasonable, in the light of current knowledge, to assume iatrogenic disease to be one of the very main causes of death. The reason why a doctor can unknowingly poison a patient to death is that even if he knows there will be side effects, he has no option if he is to please his patient other than to prescribe the "approved" medicine, and he is equipped with little knowledge as to the effects of long-term usage.

*Iatrogenic means caused by medical treatment. According to a report from the World Health Organization, one in every four hospital deaths is the result of medical drugs--from The Healing Mind by Dr Irving Oyle, 1975.

To illustrate the fact that vast numbers of sick people are killed by what is called "complications" arising from medical treatment are the occasions in fairly recent years when death rates have fallen dramatically following situations when doctors have gone on strike. In 1973 doctors in Israel went on strike and reduced their daily patient services from 65,000 to only 7000. The strike lasted a month, and during that time the death rate, according to the Jerusalem Burial Society, dropped fifty per cent. In 1976 in Bogota, Columbia, doctors refused to treat all except emergency cases for a period of fifty-two days, and in that time the death rate fell thirty-five per cent. Also in 1976, a slowdown by doctors in Los Angeles resulted in a fall of eighteen per cent in deaths. Too bad for some that it was only a slowdown!