Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Side Effects May Include...

It's been an intense last couple months in the political arena. It ended relatively well for the supporters of the bill in the recent health care reform craze that has swept and divided the country.
Given the current state of the economy and rate of bankruptcy due to health care expenses it had become quiet clear that a sea change was required. So thanks to Obama and his Washington friends, 32 million Americans previously having no health care coverage are now under some sort of a universal plan. Additionally, this bill has freed us all from the cranky insurance companies rejecting or dropping claimants due to preexisting health conditions or a sudden disease that pops up unexpectedly (can't believe this took so long!!) Granted there are a lot of unhappy Republicans who don't believe in the cause and effects of the plan in discussion, but in a democratic society we should all do our part in supporting the whole so the additional Medicare taxes will hurt less than help.
One issue that perhaps requires immediate attention is the free and deliberate use of prescription drugs among various facets of the population. Fulfilling the legal requirement of stating all disclaimers and side effects, drug companies have used amazing marketing and psychological techniques to convince the masses their need and dependence of various unnecessary and exaggerated pharmaceutical drugs. It is amazing to see how personalized and tailored certain commercials are on print and television, and how boldly they attempt to convince millions of people that their problem (whatever that might be) is indeed a disease and needs immediate chemical attention to cure.
Makers of psychological drugs, do this particularly well by spinning stress related from actual life happenings as a chemical imbalance and mental disease. Engulfed in their pool of confusion and depression, people buy into these theories and later end up buying the drugs that will eventually desentisize their emotions and create a "balance" in their brain to make their boo-boos go away. On a particularly stressful day, beware of the "you might be suffering from blah blah" gimmick. Everyone is not sick! Sounds like legal drug use to me, but ah, the beauties of free market I suppose. Buy at your own risk.
I believe that a tighter monitoring of the standards that doctors use to prescribe certain (actually all) medications is needed. If it is illegal for tobacco companies to advertise on television due to the addictive nature of cigarettes, isn't it time we regulate how pharmaceutical companies aim and direct their advertising since prescription drugs have addictive tendencies as well? I guess I'm more concerned about their strategy in attempting to convince a set group of people that they have some type of a brain related disorder (depression or biopolar tendencies or lack of sleep or XYZ), and a regular legal drug intake will solve their issues. Maybe the answer to people's depressed states is not a $20/pill-popping schedule, but better management of stress and resources. Side effects may include clarity of head, sober decision making, and decreased intake of chemicals (darn).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Purposeless Focus

Entertainment news has a special place in my heart. The corner reserved for unconditional, permanent bias. I guess I have never really understood the point of taking ordinary people and highlighting each and every aspect of their lives. Celebrities and other television personalities are ordinary people, really. For some reason, however, our society is obsessed with getting to know each and every little dirty detail about various aspects of thier lives. Do we really want to portray the image that being 15 and enrolled in rehab is a cool thing?
The 90's kids and beyond, mostly, have lost touch with reality and tend to lead their lives and draw their standards based on what the People Magazine or Us Weekly has to comment about someone they relate to in the limelight. Journalists and writers need to focus on grabbing the attention from all age groups, not just 40s and above, to educate them on the current status of the globe. It's amazing to me that news magazines such as Newsweek and Time have such a targeted audience by age. Mr. Zakaria, can I get an ay on that?
Foreign affairs and political environments is what we should focus on for the younger generation, instead of the newest diet on the block or who has the most cellulite in South Beach. Luckily for government and tricky politicians, their oversights and bad judgments often go unnoticed due to distraction.
Drug addictions and love affairs, marriage settlements and sloppy relationships shadow true facts and reality. I guess the point I'm making is that by focusing our energy and attention on useless, inconsequential, brainless dramatic facts, we are doing exactly what the corrupt state officials, or skewed lobbyists want us to do - not focus on them. Some sort of a wake up call to hold our voted officials accountable is needed. Perhaps the gossip columnists can 'give back to the community' by contributing an article of two of substance and actual information.
Wishful thinking is better than disappointing acceptance, I suppose.