0227 Shirley Caudill

Shirley Caudill

“Drugs, drugs, drugs! They seem to be the main topic of many publications that cross my desk of late.”

This is what I said in a column I wrote in 2004, and it still holds true today, especially since the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson.

And celebrities from long ago, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley — not to mention the hundreds of ordinary people who die every year from legal drug combinations written by trusted doctors.

Michael Jackson’s autopsy was recently released and it showed that he had no illegal drugs in his system. He was a perfectly healthy young man and was not emaciated as the rag (yellow journalism) magazines stated. The medical examiner said his weight of 135 pounds was perfectly alright for his height of 5 feet, 9 inches tall. The autopsy showed he died from a drug that is only supposed to be administered in surgery. He allegedly told his doctor he had to have some sleep. He allegedly was unable to sleep because his system became tolerant of the other drugs the doctors had written for him. The combination killed the young celebrity.

As I once told the editor of my newspaper: “A piece of paper will sit still and let you write anything your little heart desires. It sells papers. But ethical journalists get the facts before they write a piece.”

It is astounding how much drugs play a part in all our everyday lives. Drugs — one paradox after another!

I read John Grisham’s book “The King of Torts.” Even though it was fiction, it was so true-to-life and sounded like the prescription drug nightmare that nearly killed my husband 10 years ago, putting him in a coma and causing internal bleeding. The same thing happened to my mother, and she died. Her liver was destroyed by pills.

Nothing much is ever done when prescription drugs kill or destroy a person’s health for life. Especially when you are a senior citizen and don’t have the money and won’t live long enough to battle in court for years on end. Should we call it the justice system or the injustice system? Another paradox?

Grisham’s book finds the main character caught up in a complex case against a major pharmaceutical company (supposed to have our best interests at heart). That in itself is another paradox. Drug companies have the upper hand in our bureaucratic controlled society, even many of the political campaigns, and that ain’t fiction! The problem is as old as pharmaceutical companies.

I have no doubt that if I had taken all the drugs I have been offered for arthritis, insomnia and menopause, I would not still be on my feet at my age. I am sure I would not still be driving a school bus.

Pills are not the answer for all of life’s problems. I got a new waterbed and it helps my arthritis pain just like a nice warm bath. Exercise helps, too. I take calcium and magnesium, plus vitamin B-12 and vitamins C and D. Now I sleep like a baby, but if I could not sleep, I’d just stay awake until I finally went to sleep. It won’t kill me. And I just outlasted the menopause aggravation. My liver and kidneys have no damage from pills. I’d rather suffer than risk getting addicted to drugs after seeing so many of my children’s college friends commit suicide on prescription pills.

And yet there is one commercial after another on television to indoctrinate our children, as well as adults, that they need a little purple pill.

You have heard me harp on this subject before, and I will probably never stop talking about it as long as I live. It all seems to fall on deaf ears. I could write a book about all the harm that has been done to my own family by pills that were taken according to the doctor’s instructions.

The paradox of Medicaid seems to be just another strip of red tape that is a bureaucratic mess — as is Medicare. There is waste, waste, waste and fraud like you would not believe!

We must all educate ourselves about drugs, legal and illegal. Legal drugs can kill just as fast or faster than illegal drugs. When addiction and corruption walk in, many people “check out.”

Yes, Medicaid is a paradox that does not resemble what it was designed to do. Is it really because it is an administration that is forced to follow complex procedures that impede effective action, consequently allowing people to acquire prescriptions and sometimes sell them on the street?

The bureaucratic nightmare is out of control at the taxpayers’ expense. Are we just burying our heads in the sand and letting the chips fall where they may? Looks like it.

Shirley Caudill of London is a former newspaper editor/publisher and longtime freelance columnist. She is a Nashville native who has lived in Kentucky 40 years. She has six children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and is married to a retired Army First Sergeant. She can be reached at gunnstar4912@gmail.com

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