The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, January 13, 2000

There are drugs, and then there are drugs

The United States has this small drug problem—the government wants to outlaw the use of drugs (well, some drugs), but watch TV for any length of time and what will you see?

Advertisements for drugs.

Okay, so it's not advertisements for marijuana or cocaine or even nicotine, but if you ever feel achy, stuffy, feverish, coughy, congested, constipated, asthmatic, pimply or just plain blah, there's a pill, elixor, syrup, patch, serium, drop, spray or inhalent to make you feel all better.

I remember as a kid taking medicine to help with the achy, stuffy head, fever and coughs for all the colds and flus I got. The one thing that I distinctly remember is that no matter how much medicine I would take, I would never feel as good as quickly and for as long as the ads said I should. Over time (and for a variety of reasons) I stopped taking all those medicines when sick and just let nature run its course (except for the rare times when I would get bronchitis—then it was run to the doctor to get antibiotics).

Now I rarely get sick and when I do (usually once a year or so) it's rarely bad enough to take me entirely out (but I feel lethargic for about a month as it works its way around my body). But a few years ago I did get a nasty flu while visiting Dad out in California.

Dad gave me some over the counter medication and I was amazed that it actually seemed to work like it said it would in the advertisements.

The reason I think it worked then and not before was that I had lost any resistance I may have had to the drugs. Take drugs all year round, and your body will build up resistance to it. Forsake them, and when you need them, they'll tend to work. I suspect the ads are true for those people who have never taken drugs (or so rarely take them).

It seemed to be that in my case.

But getting back to what I was talking about. You have a slew of advertisements saying drugs are bad. Then you have another slew of advertisements saying drugs are good. Is it any wonder we have a problem here?

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