Apothecary of Apathy
Like Romeo we may take a drug and die.
By Ken Shelton
© September 17, 2017
We, like Romeo, may die from taking the drugs of apothecary as results range from apathy to addiction and death.
Apathy suggests an absence of purpose, passion, emotion, self-worth, meaning or joie de vivre (French phrase joy of living used to express a cheerful enjoyment of life, an exultation of spirit, and a joy of anything or everything). Apathy results in indifference, insensitivity or insensibility —a lack of pathos, feeling, emotion, concern, excitement or interest in emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical, or physical life and the world.
An apothecary is a medical professional who formulates and dispenses drugs. The modern pharmacy and pharmacist (pharmacology industry) have assumed this role from the ancient apothecary’s use of herbal and chemical ingredients. In addition to dispensing medicines, the apothecary offered medical advice and services now performed by specialists, and in 1600s England apothecary shops also controlled the trade of tobacco (imported as a medicine). As a profession, apothecary dates back to 2,600 BC to Babylon.
I recall the line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “O true apothecary!” Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” With these words, Romeo dies (doomed love). The lovers, belonging to families of Verona long at war with each other, have secretly married and wish to run away. Juliet has taken a potion that allows her to feign death, planning to wake up and run off with her Romeo. Unfortunately, Romeo believes Juliet is really dead, and so buys poison from an apothecary. Standing over her body in the crypt, Romeo drinks the quick-acting poison, kisses Juliet’s lips, and falls to the floor, dead.
Like Romeo we may take a drug and die, or live half dead in apathy. For example, we may partake of “medicinal marijuana” (cannabis) now proscribed by doctors for their patients even though its use as a medicine is not well tested. Yes, cannabis can reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and reduce chronic pain and muscle spasms. However, short-term use boosts the risk of both minor and major adverse side effects, including dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, and hallucinations. Long-term effects include memory and cognition problems, schizophrenia and risk of abuse and addiction.
Medications having psychoactive (mind-altering) properties are often abused—taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are, after marijuana and alcohol/tobacco, the most commonly abused substances. Prescription drugs most commonly abused are: opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin® or Oxycontin®; stimulants for treating ADHD, such as Adderall®, Concerta®, or Ritalin®; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium® or Xanax®. The most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan.
People often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but they can be as addictive and dangerous and put users at risk for other adverse health effects, including overdose—especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol. Before prescribing drugs, doctors should consider the patient’s health conditions, current and prior drug use, and other medicines to assess the risks and benefits.
When prescription and OTC drugs are taken in different quantities or when symptoms aren’t present, they may affect the brain in ways similar to illicit drugs. For example, stimulants such as Ritalin® act on the same neurotransmitter systems as cocaine. Opioid pain relievers such as OxyContin® attach to the same cell receptors targeted by illegal opioids like heroin.
Prescription depressants produce sedating or calming effects similar to the club drugs GHB and Rohypnol®. And when taken in high doses, dextromethorphan acts on the same cell receptors as PCP or ketamine, producing similar out-of-body experiences.
When abused, these drugs directly or indirectly cause a pleasurable increase in dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway. Repeatedly seeking to experience that feeling leads to addiction.
Opioids can produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and depress breathing, making opioids dangerous, especially when snorted or injected or combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Depressed respiration affects the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, causing hypoxia, which has psychological and neurological effects, including coma and permanent brain damage. More people die from overdoses of prescription opioids than from all other drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine.
Stimulants have strong effects on the cardiovascular system. Taking high doses of a stimulant dangerously raises body temperature and can cause irregular heartbeat, even heart failure or seizures, hostility or paranoia. CNS depressants slow brain activity and can cause sleepiness and loss of coordination. Continued use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if discontinuing use. All of these drugs have the potential for addiction, especially when abused. Also, abuse of prescription and OTC drugs can alter one’s judgment and decision making, leading to dangerous behaviors such as unsafe sex and drugged driving.
Nearly all medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, have some undesirable and sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. All kinds of prescription drugs and medications, from those that are considered “all natural” to those that are chemically produced in a laboratory, carry some undesirable or dangerous side effects, including deadly cancer, fatal heart attacks, allergic reactions, anaphylactic responses, stroke, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Many drugs can be physically and emotionally debilitating, including causing total or partial paralysis, severe pain, headaches, stomachaches, joint and muscle pain and decreased control over bodily functions. Problems related to the heart, including heart attacks, congestive heart failure, lifelong heart damage and cardiomyopathy, have been linked to many prescription drugs.
The most common side effects of any prescription drug are gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, constipation and diarrhea, because most drugs go through the digestive system to be absorbed. Other common aftereffects include drowsiness, pain and skin reactions, dizziness and falls, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, and internal bleeding.
So, why do so many people opt for drugs, with all the attendant risks, when natural remedies abound? My friend, John Hewlett, has formulated an amazing supplement, Cardio Miracle, a nitric oxide mixture that drives oxygen to every cell, with no downside.
My prescription for Romeo and all others who suffer from apathy is to forego the apothecary and most Big Pharma drugs and try a natural miracle that boosts heart and health.