When “supply & demand” has conflict with the “value of a human life”

Ever human life has a “basic value”.. that basic value is derived from one person’s respect for another. When that respect breaks down or disappears, can one claim that all human lives have the same value?
This past summer the pharmacy community lost two Pharmacists, 1 pharmacy clerk and two customers to the supply and demand of a couple individuals over substance abuse.
We Pharmacists are caught in the middle of nothing short of a CIVIL WAR… on one side we have untold number of individuals who – for the most part – have serious mental health issues. They are often using whatever they get their hands on to self-medicate their “demons”.. why their demons are not being treated by a mental health professional can be numerous, from financial, to not knowing that their demons can be legally treated to who knows what.
On the another side, we have people whose greed and desire to make a “fast buck” have turned to diverting and selling drugs.
On the third side we have our society’s engrained Puritanical beliefs that continually attempts to force those with mental health issues and abusing substances to basically “toe the line”. Such “moral weaknesses” are unacceptable and these persons “just have no self-control”.

Prescribers are prohibited by law to “maintain” a addict.. the question has to be asked is it better to have a functioning addict or a drug seeking addict?
It is estimated that ~3% of the population is abusing some sort of substance – other than alcohol or tobacco .. it is also estimated that ~ 20% of the population is -at any point in time – a borderline alcoholic.

It is now generally accepted that alcoholism is a disease and we have medications to help people stop smoking tobacco – note .. we do not advertise to help them stop their Nicotine addiction !!!

The question needs to be asked… if alcoholism is a disease and alcohol is a DRUG… and the use of tobacco is really an addiction to Nicotine (a drug) and we treat that as a disease… why is substance/drug abuse not considered a disease?

What would happen if we allowed prescribers to maintain addicts .. trying to make them function addicts?
What would happen if we just flooded the market with opiates and benzos… would all the diverters/abuser/addicts still be forging Rxs, doctor shopping, robbing pharmacies and killing/harming those that gets between them and the drugs that they want/need?

Does anyone believe that Opana would continue to sell for $60/dose on the street? Oxycodone IR would sell for pennies a dose.. instead of $5 per mg.

Hell… make them OTC… would have to keep them behind the counter to stop the shoplifting.

When is the last time that you heard of anyone robbing a store solely for liquor or tobacco… yes they may take alcohol & tobacco products during a hold up… but it is the money they are there for to BUY the drugs that they really want/need.

When a individual’s narcissism reaches such a level that the health/well being/life itself of another person is virtually meaningless to them. Can we hold their life in the same value/esteem as the rest of those in our society that has a healthy respect for others?

I can hear the OUTCRY now.. more will kill/over dose on these drugs… more will drive under the influence.. more will …. more will….. They are DOING IT NOW ! We unofficially started the war on drugs with the Harrison Narcotic Act 1914… the SAME YEAR THAT WORLD WAR ONE STARTED !

Yes some are going to die. they are doing it anyway… maybe fewer Pharmacists/staff/customers will die in the meanwhile. Maybe Darwin was on the right track… let the most fit survive and the rest drop by the wayside. I am not suggesting that we don’t take care of those in our society that cannot take care of themselves, but those who chose to harm some in our society just to satisfy their own needs/wants. Maybe we need to rethink our commitment to put the same value on their lives as the rest of us.

All men are created equal – as our constitution says… but some have chosen to take actions that have probably diminish their own life’s real value to themselves and to our society.

One Response

  1. during A cruise 2 Mazatlan. I was injured on A speeding jet ski breaking a few ribs. The cruise ship was debarking. No time to find a MD.The ships Dr was 400.00 USD. I limped into a simple pharmacia. OTC Tylenol #4 Brand name alprazolam, soma, of course good old 10 mg diazepam + many others. Well, CONVIENENT! < 50 $ no muss, fuss, at least I was comfortable.

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