HOME    HYGIENE LIBRARY CATALOG    GO TO NEXT CHAPTER


 

Drug Relations

CHAPTER XLIII

   Hygienists affirm that all medical systems, wherever and whenever practiced and by whatever names they are called, whose remedial agents are drugs, are false in conception, absurd in science, contrary to nature, in antagonism with the laws of the living organism and wholly injurious in practice. To be wrong in fundamental principles is fatal to the superstructure, however beautifully it may have been reared.

   Let us briefly examine the applicability of the methods of the drugging schools to health. What relations have their drugs to the human system in a state of health? As an advocate of drugs, is not the physician necessarily confined to advising sickly human beings? What drug can he give that will improve the growth in health and sturdiness of the infant? From the first to the last of his materia medica, he has nothing adapted to the healthy child.

   Any genuine maxim which the physician may give for the betterment of human conditions, if these conditions are such as to not involve ill health, must be rendered by him independent of the drugging system. At best, his drugs come into play only in sickness. But the most robust man who takes a drug prescription will have his robustness impaired or destroyed. The healthy man does not live who can take a drug and not be the worse for it. Is it not evident, then, that the physician can enter the health-preserving kingdom only if he leaves his drugs behind? For, to such as possess ruddy health, to whom bracing breezes and ample exercise, healthful heart-throb and a serene mind, are a perpetual heritage, drugs would be as uncalled for as would be an electric fan in the arctics.

   The alleged antiquity of the medical system is not a basis for confidence. Age does not sanctify a fallacy, nor does it convert the false into the true. Why should we adhere blindly to a system that had its origin in times of grossest ignorance? Why venerate relics of barbarism? Whenever the subject of the modus operandi of drugs is thoroughly understood, there will be reason abroad which no man can gainsay why no drugs should ever be taken. Let this knowledge become general and it will come to pass in a few years that drugs and drugging shall come to an ignominious end. The drug stores will be closed and the pharmaceutical factories will have to shut down.

   Normal activities and developments require normal conditions as essentials. When these are consistently and adequately supplied, the most perfect development is attained. On the other hand, the absence of perfect adaptations or physiological conditions is the chief source of all the faulty developments and inharmonies that abound in nature. Let us examine more closely the relation of drugs to the living organism. "The direction of our investigations," said Dr. G. H. Taylor, "in order to learn the science of life, and to promote the interests of health, is to study the usages of matter in the organized body, and the relations of matter endowed with life, to that which is extraneous; certain qualities of it establish a mutual affinity, and the acts of vitality are connected therewith, while all other qualities bear an antagonistic relation to the organic welfare, and are only capable of bringing its forces out in defense of its integrity."

   "When the qualities of matter and the functions of life are better understood, and when it is seen how all its endowments flow from qualities inherent in the matter of which the living thing is composed, set in motion by certain suitable relations--then it may be more easily seen that neither the possession nor restoration of health can flow from any extraneous chemical agency, but always and inflexibly from the maintenance and restoration of the necessary conditions, and these are connected with the will and the deeds of him who craves the boon. It will be seen that no matter what may be the attending accidents of medicines, the cure is but slightly connected with them."

   The living organism has its own way of doing things and does these with its own materials. For example, many efforts have been made to supply the body with parts from foreign sources. These have been unsuccessful, as the body rejects alien cells. Blood that is transfused is treated as a foreign substance and expelled. If it is sought to graft a piece of skin onto some part of the body, it may be done only if it is from the one receiving the graft. An organ from the body of another cannot be grafted onto it. The exception to this rule is seen in the case of identical twins and even this is not always successful.

   If we consider non-living substances, we, discover the same thing to be true: the body can make use of only certain usable substances. Materials that cannot be metabolized-substances that cannot be transformed into cell substance--are of no possible use to the organism in either a state of health or in a state of disease. The presence of such substances in the body can serve only as disturbing elements. They are foreign bodies and must be expelled. Any substance that cannot be transformed into living structure is a poison and must be resisted and expelled if it is taken into the body or applied to its surface. The processes and actions by which the body resists and expels these substances are commonly mistaken for the actions of the poisons (drugs) and are not recognized as defensive actions of the body.

   Even useful substances have to be specially prepared by the body itself before they are fit for entrance into the blood stream. The process of digestion reduces complex substances that we call food to certain assimilable products before they are fit to enter the blood. Protein, as essential to life as it is, is a virulent poison if introduced directly into the blood without first undergoing digestion. Amino acids, when introduced into the veins in an effort to feed a sick organism, are followed by anaphylactic symptoms, damages to the kidneys, progressive loss of weight and other symptoms which indicate that the amino acids are not metabolized. Evils of a similar kind follow the intravenous injection of glucose. When we try to by-pass the digestive system and feed the body in some other manner, we run into difficulties.

   A substance is not usable merely because it is a constituent of the body. Nitrogen and carbon, as such, are non-usable. The body can use proteins and sugars, but it cannot use free nitrogen and carbon. It uses iron, calcium, sulphur, phosphorus, etc., only in certain organic compounds and is poisoned by each of these elements if taken as such. Even oxygen can prove hurtful, as was found in the incubation care of premature infants. The process of extracting oxygen from the air is unquestionably one that is subject to as well-defined laws as the assimilation of solid matter and all efforts to flout such laws must end in disaster. In the early part of this century a method was devised to introduce oxygen directly into the blood, by-passing the lungs, as a: means of curing disease. It proved to be as abortive as were all other methods designed to flout the normal order.

   Every substance in the earth has a definite relation to the living organism--either it may be used to build and maintain the organism and carry on its functions, or it may not. If it is usable, it is food; if it is not usable, it is, so far as its relations to the organism are concerned, a poison. When extraneous substances and conditions are brought into contact with the living organism, it must act in relation to them in one of two ways:

  1. If they are useful materials, to appropriate and utilize them.
  2. If they are non-usable materials, to resist and expel them.

This principle must explain the phenomena attendant upon the administration of all drugs which are supposed to possess remedial properties. As drugs are not food--this is to say, they cannot be transformed into cell substance--the body must resist and expel them. These resistive and expulsive actions involve, not merely the use, but the expenditure of the energies of the organism, thus leaving the body exhausted of functioning power.

   Man has so long disregarded the true adaptations of matter to fulfill the organic wants that one is scarcely to be found that is not embarrassed and debased by influences counter to his perfect development and highest good. The physiologist knows no power in the living organism that enables it to synthesize living tissue or to generate functioning power out of the elements of drugs, nor of any power, either in the drug or in the body, that enables it to use drugs to remove the cause of disease or to repair damages. He is well aware that they are only means whereby tissues may be destroyed or damaged, functions impaired and the body exhausted in a very unnecessary and wasteful manner.

   If disease so changed the body as to make a demand for drugs and in a way that would enable the body to use the drugs, there might be some excuse for their administration. But disease makes no radical change in the living organism. That which the body cannot use in a state of health, is equally nonusable in a state of sickness. If it cannot synthesize tissue and generate functioning power out of drugs in a state of health, it is equally incapable of doing these things in a state of disease. Only that which is useful to the body when it is well can be of service to it when it is sick.

   Our principle is either true or false. If it is true, the whole system of giving drugs to cure disease ought to be abandoned as unscientific and deadly. If our position is false, it should be met and refuted by men of science. Think of a man taking arsenic until he is blue, for a disease caused by wrong life, or a delicate female made to take calomel until every tooth in her mouth is loosened and she is forever after diseased, and you will understand why we object to the drugging system. Drugs goad and torment--they are tormentors, not restorers. It used to be said that patients were drugged up hill, but in sober reality they were drugged down hill.

   Physicians gave their patients "strengthening medicines" to increase their strength, the delusion being quite common that strength actually resided in poisons. The veriest horse that knows how to eat oats knows better. Of course, those so dosed did not grow strong, as they ought not have grown; but on the contrary, the more their sick organisms were fretted and worried by the foolish manuvering, the weaker they grew, until at length their functions were almost too feeble to carry on. What is the greatest wonder: that some people have died from such treatment, or that any person has lived in spite of it?

   The smallness of the "success" of medical men is due, in large measure, to the unfitness of their "remedies." They are not remedial in character. They are wasteful, rather than conservative of the energies of the body. They possess no useful elements to supply the body. Their balance is on the wrong side of the scale and they weigh on the sick like a horrible nightmare on a disturbed sleeper. If a patient cannot get well without drugs, he should know that he cannot get well with them. Indeed, the sicker he is, the greater is the need to avoid drugs.

   We read occasional reports of deaths due to carelessness on the part of pharmacist, nurse, physician, surgeon or anesthetist, although these reports probably do not reveal all instances of such deaths that occur. They are generally regarded as "natural exigencies of the healing art," according to orthodox science. Of course, there is no quackery about them; but let somebody die under the care of somebody other than a medical man and the savants of the medical school pounce upon the "responsible" individual and his mode of care like a wolf pack upon a wounded deer or like vultures upon a dying lamb.

   Now the fact is that these accidental deaths under medical care are but a bagatelle when compared with the numbers of deaths that occur that are the direct result of the regular and approved administration of the healing art according to medical science. The most obvious fact in the world is that non-medical quackery in the hands of the most illiterate is not half as dangerous as medical quackery in the hands of the best minds of the medical profession. A man can endure a great deal of cold water or chiropractic thrusts or Christian Science jollying without dying. But the poison of the profession tends to kill always. The idea that medicines differ from poisons only in the size of the dose is too ridiculous for serious consideration.

   We unhesitatingly declare that if physicians would cast their diplomas into the fire, their drugs into the sea and close their offices, an untold amount of suffering, grief and premature dying would be avoided. As was said by a noted British physician of the last century: if there were not a single physician, surgeon, druggist, man mid-wife, nor drug in all the world, there would be less sickness and less mortality than otherwise--hence the wisdom Shakespeare puts into the mouth of one of his characters: "Throw physic (drugs) to the dogs; I'll none of it."

   Kittredge says in the Journal, 1844, that he once thought that drugs were "absolutely necessary to man's salvation from sickness," but he adds, "I have learned better things in my old age. For fifteen years I groped in darkness, wondering why my patients did not oftener and sooner recover ... I know now . . . Drugs are not only unnecessary in sickness, but decidedly injurious. This to anyone who has reflected on the subject unbiased, will be apparent; for all drugs are irritants, and foreign to our nature, and cannot but disturb the harmony of the system; and when anywise powerful, produce mischevious effects that often result in the crippling of the energies of life . . ."

   There is no healing potency in poisons. If the sick get better after taking drugs, it must be something else that helps them, as drugs cannot under any circumstances give assistance. There are two ways of accounting for recovery in every case where drugs are administered: first, the patient may have recovered by virtue of his own inherent powers of healing, alone; or it may be assumed that the drug restored him to health. A third explanation may assume that the drug assisted his own powers of recovery. As there is no healing potency in poisons and nothing in them that can assist the patient's own powers of recovery, it must be accepted as a fact that patients recover by virtue of their own inherent powers of healing.

   If they are to survive, medical men must continue to teach that drugs act on the living system by virtue of certain inherent affinities which each possesses and exercises upon certain organs and structures in preference to others. If this doctrine is false, there is no basis for the drugging practice. Absurd as it is, this doctrine is the very foundation of their pharmacology and therapeutics. Deprived of this fundamental and first premise, they have nothing left to stand on.

   We would say that their system is too comprehensive, that it comprehends too many substitutions and fallacies promiscuously jumbled together without any recognizable principle.

   It may be assumed that medicine has made great advances during the past hundred years and what we have said above about the relations of drugs to the living organism is no longer true. This would be to assume that there have been fundamental changes in nature herself. It may also be assumed that what is said above does not apply to the new drugs. This would be to assume that the body possesses two sets of relations to non-usable substances. Current facts deny both of these assumptions. The Statesman (New Delhi, February 1, 1967) quotes C. E. Paget, M.D., a British pharmacologist of repute as stating in a lecture on "Withdrawal of Drugs from Medical Practice," delivered before the Delhi Medical Association that, not only are modern drugs used wrongly, but that their "pharmacological, clinical and statical" trials are too short to reveal their "dangerous potentialities." He stated that if a balance sheet of the risks and benefits of modern drugs were drawn up, the risks would certainly be bigger. He said also that this fact has become markedly clear since the pharmaceutical "explosion" in 1950.

   Testifying before a Senate investigating committee in 1967, Prof. Leighton E. Cluff, M.D., of the University of Florida, told of the findings of a six-year study of what he called adverse drug reactions. Prof. Cluff launched one of the first major studies of adverse drug reactions in 1962 while at Johns Hopkins University. This research revealed that:

   "Four to five per cent of patients admitted for hospital medical service are found to have adverse drug reactions while three to four per cent are admitted because of drug illness. Ten per cent experience ill effects from drugs while hospitalized.

   "Twenty per cent of adverse reactions are caused by non-prescription drugs such as laxatives, analgesics and antacids. Eighty per cent are caused by such prescription items as penicillin, digitalis, sedatives and tranquilizers.

   "Drug illness involving medical service was the seventh most common cause of hospitalization."

   Cluffs investigations covered drugs used in treating sickness in more than a thousand patients in three major hospitals in the United States. They also showed that of the five percent who were hospitalized for illness caused by drugs, 30 percent suffered further illness from drugs given in the treatment of the drug-induced disease while in the hospital. The increase in what are called iatrogenic diseases has been very great during the past few years.

   It is estimated that some 5,000 new drugs have been introduced during the past ten years and that 400 new drugs are coming off the assembly line every year. It is the view of Dr. Cluff that unless means are set up to control this drugging, there is danger of a great increase in the amount of drug-induced disease.

   The London Times for November 22, 1966, carried a story headed "Cortisone led to patient's death," and reported: "After a year's treatment with cortisone, a woman suffering from arthritis died," and the pathologist "said the dose of cortisone given had been a normal one but it had contributed to her death. The question of the risk of side-effects was always a difficult decision facing a doctor " It seems to the writer that the question of side effects should be considered by the patient and the fact that these side effects are on the increase should convince the intelligent reader that the relation of drugs to the living organism is not friendly.

   What has all this production of disease and death to do with healing? Are we so constructed that we have to take our lives in our hands and risk death in order to recover from illness? Or is it that the medical profession bears a false relation to society and its methods are killative rather than curative? Concerning this last question, we may consider the employment of penicillin in gonorrhea. There has been a tremendous increase in this disease in recent years, especially among teenagers, who have been led to believe that one or two doses of penicillin is a "sure cure" for the disease. The failure of penicillin to remedy gonorrhea is now everywhere admitted; but the explanation for the failure, which is offered by the medical profession, is false. They state that the germs of gonorrhea have developed resistance to penicillin, so that it no longer kills them. Penicillin did not remedy gonorrhea from the outset.

 


HOME    HYGIENE LIBRARY CATALOG    GO TO NEXT CHAPTER