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The Evils of Drug Medication

CHAPTER XLVI

   In an editorial in the July 1873 issue of The Science of Health, Trall said: "Disease being an effort of the vital organism to restore the normal state, the causes which necessitate that effort should be removed, in order that the effort may be successful." The superior efficacy of physiological care, that is, care that supplies the physiological needs of the sick organism, as contrasted with those systems that ignore physiological needs and tamper with the structures and functions of the body with chemical and mechanical means, is too evident to have to dwell at great length upon it.

   Before any genuine advancement in the care of the sick can be made, the killing method of curing disease will have to be abandoned. Physicians are engaged in "fighting disease," not in removing its causes. They think of disease as due to germs and viruses and not as the result of ways of life that conflict with the best interests of the organism. Even if they think that stress may be involved in the causation of disease, they are sure that this may be met with gland extracts and that the removal of the sources of stress is not really essential. Their drugs and their gland extracts are indulgences that enable their deluded victims to continue their harmful practices and not be hurt by them.

   They treat each so-called disease as though it were a single soldier or a guerrilla band, ambushed or ensconced in isolated regions of the body, and charge it with their hypodermic guns, bombard it with their vaccinal canons, gas it with their antibiotics and seek to destroy it with their atomic bombs-fission products. Viewing disease as an evil entity that has attacked the organism, there is always a driving effort, on all sides, to make the break-through, to develop a parry for every possible thrust of disease. Thus it is that against the most urgent remonstrances of the organic instincts, the physician forces upon the body of his patients vile compounds that should never be taken into the body of man. It cannot be said with any show of truth that the man is the greatest physician who most violates the laws of nature.

   A recent (1966-7) study made at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore revealed that five percent of "medical admissions" to the hospital were attributable to some sort of "drug reaction." Their report showed that 13 percent of the patients in the hospital had had "a severe drug reaction while undergoing treatment." The great majority of these so-called reactions followed the administration of antibiotics, of which penicillin had been most used. A so-called "drug reaction" may be anything from a simple skin irritation to death and it is practically impossible to foretell what "reaction" will occur, so that the patient who takes drugs always runs a serious risk. In the United States alone between 200 and 300 patients a year die from what they call "penicillin reactions," which simply means from penicillin poisoning. To make matters worse, it is admitted by medical authorities that "penicillin is certainly the least toxic of antibiotics." Thus it will be seen that the medical program of care is one of producing disease and death.

   Are the poisons of the physician necessary to save life, or do they destroy life? Is man so constituted that some certain and irremediable evil must be produced on him to produce in him some uncertain good? Is poisoning the sick not contrary to all the requirements of natural law; is it not abhorrent to the very nature of man, hateful to every living thing? Mothers, before you consent to poison the life-springs of your precious darlings, for whom you have suffered and worked, let us assure you that there is no need for and no good to come out of this poisoning for anyone. Hygienists have publicly protested for nearly a century and a half against the monstrous absurdity of attempting to cure disease by agents the natural effects of which upon living structures are destructive.

   Dr. Alcott describes his thoughts at the bedside of a typhoid patient who had been treated allopathically. After saying that he "saw very clearly" that what the patient needed most "was rest and sleep," he records his thoughts about the drugs at the bedside. "What does all this mean," he asked himself. "Why all this array of war-like implements? What indication is there of the necessity of alcohol, quinine, morphine, opium, ipecac, nitre, &c.? He is burning with fever; shall we add fuel to the fire?"

   Dr. Alcott reports that he discontinued the drugging and permitted the patient to have all the water desired to drink and that immediate improvement followed. If the sick individual is cared for kindly and in strict accord with the genuine needs of life under the circumstances, the illness should be of short duration; however, it is often prolonged and life destroyed by mistaken efforts to cure. The idea that disease can be cured and that it should be cured has enabled physicians to kill more people than "war, pestilence and famine combined."

   We do not deny that the regular practices of bleeding and antiphlogistication, in dealing with fever patients, were not without apparent successes. But this did not prove that the stimulations were good per se. It only proved that it is the least of two evils. We do not hesitate to say that 95 percent of the people who die in this country each year die needlessly.

   Of every thousand cases of a particular acute disease a certain number, which can be determined within prescribed limits of deviation from the normal, will recover with or without treatment of any kind whatever. This fact is true under any and all forms of treatment, of neglect and abuse; it has always been true. Hence, it is difficult to determine, when a treatment is employed and a certain percentage of patients recover, what effect if any the so-called remedy has in restoring health. The use of the remedy and the recovery of the patient may have been mere coincidence; the remedy may have actually retarded recovery; it is conceivable that, in some instances and with some remedies, recovery may have been helped.

   Patients also die under any and all forms of care. The question is both pertinent and logical: what is the office of the treatment in killing the patient? Certainly, the death rate in every so-called acute disease is much higher under some forms of care than under others. When, for example, the death rate in typhoid fever was 40 percent, the treatment administered was lethal. When a method of treatment was introduced under which the death rate fell to 12 and eight percent, the question still remained: does the new treatment cure more cases or does it merely kill fewer? Obviously, statistical studies cannot supply an answer to this question. Today, great store is laid by statistical studies; but it is obvious that they give results without revealing what the results are due to.

   When we read of the procedures and discoveries of modern scientific medicine, whether we read the news accounts or the accounts in the medical journals, reports and standard texts, one thing stands out above all else: always there are doubts, misgivings, compromising qualifications, exceptions, complicating, often dangerous side effects. There is lacking any clear and demonstrable principle that unifies the whole and reduces the jumble of uncertainties to certainty. Statistics also share in this uncertainty and lack of clear principle. As a consequence, they also lose value. The conflicting views that arise out of analyses of the same set of statistics by different medical men of equal authority are enough to demonstrate the unreliability of such statistics.

   Firmness is required to prevent officious friends and relatives from meddling with the life of the patient. For, when one is very sick, as in typhoid or pneumonia, the powers of the patient are as easily depressed toward death as toward life, as the most delicately adjusted scales are turned by a fraction of a grain of weight. It is the Hygienic view that drugging practices are directly responsible for great numbers of deaths which would otherwise not occur. Where they do not cause death, they greatly retard recovery.

   When a strong man in full maturity and vigor becomes suddenly ill and is soon numbered among the dead, we cannot reconcile this with any principle in the order of nature that predetermines the results. Those of our people who attempt to reconcile such occurrences with the attributes of wisdom, benevolence and unchangeableness with which they have endowed the Governor of the universe, fail to present us with a satisfactory answer to our misgivings. We cannot accept such deaths as the outworkings of a "mysterious Providence," against which the physician pits his skill and learning. We can perceive nothing but violated laws asserting their immutability and exacting their results. It may be and commonly is in such cases that the worst violations, those really responsible for the death, are committed in the treatment of the sick man. Treatment kills where, otherwise, the sick would recover.

   The newspapers are loud in flaunting to the world the fact that the physicians struggled valiantly against the disease, that they employed all the resources of modern medicine, yet the patient died in spite of their heroic efforts. Editors seem never to suspect that death is most often the result of these very efforts, that, except for the resources of modern medicine, there would be a much lower death rate.

   The clergy, seeming to take the position that the physicians and their poisons are the friends of the sick and God their enemy, attribute death to the "will of God." The Almighty sends disease upon a man and terminates his existence by violence in spite of the opposition of his physicians. God is the enemy of his own work. God killed the patient in spite of the efforts of the physician to protect him from the decree of the Almighty.

   Against such sentiments, which they declared to be most pernicious in their bearings upon the human mind, the Hygienists vigorously protested. Trall said that it is "such talk, such solemn twattle, that misleads and deceives the world, and makes the great and terrible lessons of wisdom taught through affliction so nearly lost to us."

   What are the remedies employed by physicians? Clearly they are poisons--other causes of disease. Their alleged remedial effects are the actions of the body in its struggle to resist and expel the drugs. The physician, so far from counteracting the causes of death, actually cooperates with them. His drugging is a concealed war upon the human constitution. The drugs, to which hasty and inconsiderate men so frequently resort to "aid nature a bit," often cause much more serious disease than that for which they are administered.

   The reigning preference for drugs can be ascribed to but one thing: namely, ignorance of the laws of life and the conditions upon which life depends. The complaint frequently made by physicians that the people, in their ignorance, believe that drugs are necessary to cure disease and, therefore, will have them, is but an effort to whitewash their practices. We ask: "Who taught the people to believe in the saving potencies of drugs? Whose business is it to enlighten the people and teach them better? Medical men are just as much addicted to unphysiological habits as are other people and are just as prone to disease. They have deliberately abandoned the sure and simple ways of nature and have created, as a substitute, a highly complex and ruinous artificial system.

   Trall wrote: "If all the physicians who become convinced that the whole drug system is wrong would at once refuse to countenance the wrong, either by word or deed, the people would sooner or later see their error. It is the business of the true physician to be a health teacher, not a panderer to depraved appetites and erroneous opinions. Otherwise his profession, which ought to be ennobling, sinks to the level of the meanest chicanery and the most mercenary trades." It is, of course, a mistake to think that the office of the physician has ever been that of an educator. From the time of Hippocrates to the present, he has been a disease-treater--a dispenser of drugs.

   How can we expect otherwise, as medical colleges are busy teaching the poisoning practice and nothing else? These carefully standardized and rigidly controlled colleges are not permitted to teach anything except what is approved by the medical society. The young medical graduate is equipped, by his training and clinical experience and by his internship, to poison and carve the sick and he is prepared for nothing else. Where is there a medical college that has a chair in dietetics? Where is there a medical hospital that feeds anything other than restaurant fare such as may be obtained in the third and fourth rate restaurants of the country? Where is there a medically trained dietician who is anything more than a second-rate cook?

   Here is a learned profession that for centuries have by prescriptive right, by statutory authority and by general consent, had the care of the people's health, and the best that they have found it expedient to do or the best that they have been able to do, has been greatly to impair that health. Such is the character of the drugging practice that its apparent successes are miserable failures. The good drugs seem to do are evils. Drugs only lure to deceive; whatever of good they may appear to do is evanescent and illusory. Sooner or later their true effects become manifest.

   How does the physician and his poisons cure the sick? Can he provide us with an explanation that does not involve the admission that, at their assumed best, his drugs are but "auxiliaries of nature?" But is he not engaged in constantly trying to force nature to accept as helpers, in her need, substances the legitimate effects of which upon the human system are killative? It is confessed by those who manufacture them and by the men who prescribe them that drugs are poisons.

   Poisons kill; that is their nature. This is known to all. To say that a substance is poisonous is not to awaken a recognition that it has as one of its essential properties, one that preserves health and life or that restores health to the sick. The contrary thought is immediately aroused. We associate with poison the idea of destruction--of disease and death. Naturally, then, in considering arrangements which preserve life, no informed man can include a giver of drugs. It is conceivable, to return to an ancient conception, that the drug system is the creation of the Angel of Death. He must "grin horrible a ghastly smile" everytime he watches the physician and nurse at the bedside of the sick.

   What a list of nostrums the physician has at his command! What a library of books a man must study to understand such a dealing out of poisons! Equipped with a pharmacopeia filled with nostrums and with a lot of unmeaning, incomprehensible jargon, with mystery as black as night, the physician goes forth on his mission of mayhem and murder secure in the knowledge that he has the law, custom, popular credulity and general ignorance all on his side. He even dares to flaunt the evidence of the crippling and lethal effects of his drugs in the public print, knowing that he is not going to be called to account by a credulous people nor by the authorities who have connived with him to give him a monopoly of the care of the sick.

   The medical school frequently boasts of the number and variety of its remedial appliances, processes and agents. Few mistakes have been more egregious than to suppose that medicine's usefulness is in proportion to the number and variety of its means of treatment. Its means are not truly remedial and, even if they were, there can be no conceivable reason for so many thousands of them. Their very number and variety testify to their ineffectiveness and fallacy. The reader may inquire: are there not some good drugs? He should understand that any valid principle which will give us one good drug will give us a million of them.

   Drugs are essentially disease producing when placed in contact with the tissues of the living organism. It is a fact that has been demonstrated by more than 2,000 years of medical experience, that every drug that is or has ever been used in the treatment of the sick will occasion in the healthy individual symptoms that are identical with the symptoms of disease. This is to say, drugs make well people sick. It is bad enough to be sick; but when, in addition to sickness, one is dosed with poisons, he is truly in a pitiable state.

   Nothing can be more preposterous than the idea that those things that make well men sick or that tend to kill when administered to the healthy are proper things with which to restore health to the sick. Yet on such nonsense as this the whole healing art--healing art!--has rested for 2,500 years. May we not, with the utmost propriety, call it the killing art? Has it not been a stupendous evil? Indeed, does not the testimony of its most illustrious advocates and teachers admit that it has been evil from the outset? Is there within the reach of written memorial another thing so tenaciously held, so persistently defended and regularly employed, while the reasons for its employment are so diverse and contradictory, as drugs?

   When such substances, the ordinary and inevitable effect of which upon the healthy organism is to disturb, damage and even to destroy it, are called remedies, there must be something wrong with the understanding of those practitioners who make use of such so-called remedies. When, notwithstanding the combination of all the false, morbid and, not infrequently, deadly means that are applied to the treatment of the sick, the sick succeed in surviving and returning to a measure of health, what more evidence can we ask for than this--that between health and sickness, life and death, the forces of the organism are on the side of the former?

   Drugs are commonly thought to be necessary to healing. But if they are necessary, why are they not afforded a separate compartment in the individuality of man? Why are they not desired as food and drink? Why is the healthy man not made sick or even killed without them? Why is there such a strong, instinctive repugnance to them? Why are they indignantly rejected by the body when taken? Why are they causes of so much harm? In science there is not the slightest show of grounds for identifying drugs with Hygienic materials.

   The physiologist knows of 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 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. The evils of drug medication lie in the necessity of the sick patient spending his strength "casting out devils" instead of employing it in "entertaining angels." Every drug (poison) administered to the sick requires new and additional remedial efforts, so that with every new drug there is an additional disease, resulting in greater waste of functional power. If disease so radically changed the body as to make a demand for drugs, enabling the body to make use of them, there would be some excuse for their employment. But disease makes no radical change in the human organism. What it cannot use in a state of health it cannot use in a state of disease.

   Drugging necessitates a critical squandering of our energies, which must be concentrated upon the elimination of the drug poison, while the causes of the disease for which the drugs are given are permitted to corrode the very vitals of the human constitution. We are so intent upon finding means for the erasure of the effects of our modes of living and treatment, that we have no energy left for living, as a good, per se. When poisons are administered to the sick, all the powers of his system are taxed to a fearful extent in casting them off through the excretory and other channels. When the patient is dosed with drugs, his digestive system, bowels, liver, kidneys, nerves--his everything--are in a state of universal revolt. His entire organism is involved in the effort to resist and expel the poison.

   His whole being is outraged by the drug and is up in arms in defense. Is it, then, any wonder that when he begins to convalesce (if he does), convalescence is slow, digestion is impaired, excretion is inhibited and he is weak (exhausted, in fact) and nervous?

   If a drug will prostrate the powers of a well man, it will do the same for the powers of a sick man. If it will reduce a man from strength to weakness, it will reduce him from weakness to even greater weakness. It is not within the power of drugs to evolve strength out of weakness. Their natural and invariable tendency is the reverse of this. If, in the whole kingdom of nature, a drug can be found which, if given to one in full health, tends to make one more healthy, one may use it with confidence when ill. It will improve the health of the sick with irresistable effect. It will restore his exhausted powers, purify his fouled tissues, improve his impaired secretions, accelerate his slackened circulation and restore him to that soundness of physical body that belongs to health. If, in health, it will contribute to his strength and beauty, in disease it will do the same. To believe in the necessity of drugs, we must first admit or demonstrate that they are useful in effecting some necessary result in a state of health. We must then regard them as Hygienic materials. We must believe that their habitual use by a person in perfect health would be not only beneficial but necessary.

   Drugs simply produce a series of complications--drug diseases. Hence, the more a physician medicates a family, the more they demand to be drugged. After he has had the management of a case for a year or two, he seemingly becomes an indispensable necessity to existence. Seldom does such a case pass through the day, never, perhaps, a week, without discovering a new ache or pain requiring another visit to the physician and another drug. If the physician has 100 such patients, he is set up for life.

   It is just the opposite of this with the Hygienist. When he cares for a fever patient, Hygienically, the patient is left perfectly whole and if he should later become sick again, he knows how to care for himself. He does not need to call in the Hygienist.

   How common is the practice of dosing patients whose sickness is mild with poisons that make the condition worse! The more drugs taken the worse the condition becomes. Many are killed outright by the practice. Others, who would have speedily recovered with a little intelligent nursing, have their illnesses greatly prolonged and their suffering intensified. Many infants and children are sacrificed to the drugging practice, while a great army of adults are drugged to within an inch of that river over which there is no re-ferriage. Drug medication is a self-sustaining institution; when a drugging physician gets into a family, health departs. If his drugs seem to cure, they actually complicate the condition of the patient--hence, the more he drugs a family, the greater grows the apparent need for drugging.

   Drugs are inherently noxious, large numbers of them being very virulent. So-called medical science treats the sick with poisons that are more virulent than those that are responsible for their illnesses. Commonly, the more grave the symptoms, the more heroic the means employed with which to treat them. As all of his alleged remedies are poisons, one of the important studies of the medical student is toxicology, the science or study of poisons. He must learn the so-called toxic actions of every drug that he is to give to his patients. As all of his drugs occasion effects other than those he seeks to produce, he must also study their so-called side effects or untoward actions. He must be forever on guard against giving what is called an overdose; he must watch for symptoms of poisoning and sensitivity and discontinue the drug if and when these occur. He is well aware that his drugs are disease-producing, that they are not useful in a state of health and that they are fraught with danger in a state of disease.

   It is only under the sway of false teachings and false training, when wrong ideas of the way, the manner and means of living have been ingrained in man's mind, that he can contemplate with complacency or approval the drugging practice or any other practice of treating the sick which enjoins the employment of substances and procedures the natural and inevitable effect of which, if taken into or applied to the healthy organism, is to kill or to tend to kill. A man whose instincts have been subverted and whose intelligence has been obfuscated may accept poisons for the cure of disease, but otherwise, he will reject such substances as vigorously as a two-days-old infant will reject forty-proof brandy as food.

   If drugs cure the sick, the more drugs administered, the more cures should follow; but such is not the case. We see evidence on every hand that as drugs multiply, diseases also increase. In the first place, drugs do not truly relieve a single malady; they paralyze and irritate the whole frame, but they remove no causes and they provide none of the essentials of health. A temporary excitement (stimulation ) may bring temporary fictional relief from symptoms, but such a strained exertion results, in its very nature, in a consequent and commensurate depression. Poison is exhaustive of the forces of life and destructive of living tissue and it is the worse kind of folly to imagine that such substances can be health restoring.

   How great is that army of cure-mongers and disease-treaters that regularly take advantage of the general longing of the masses, even its educated contingent, for something mysterious and incomprehensible, and who must have a "sign" or a statistic, however fraudulent and inaccurate, and fill their pockets with money thus obtained. Their cures change rapidly, but their modes of operation continue to revolve about this love of money.

   Everyone must be conscious of the constant changes which medicine undergoes, changes which are assumed to represent progress, improvement and increased effectiveness. Unfortunately, these changes continue to revolve around the same old fallacies, so that no genuine progress is ever made. If their principles inclined them away from drugging and in the direction of Natural Hygiene, there might be some hope for them; but they incline them in the opposite direction. Don't be fooled by the popularity of a new drug or a new operation. Fashions in treatment come and go like fashions in women's hats. The most fashionable drugs and operations soon become passe. The ephemeral popularity of new drugs depends on no peculiar or even demonstrated common merit, but upon the skill with which its imaginary virtues are puffed by every device of publicity and advertising.

   Physicians are busily engaged in establishing the myth that they are capable of weighing the probable harm of a drug against its possible benefits in a given case, thus determining the wisdom of giving or withholding the drug. They possess no such power of discrimination. Indeed, for the most part, they are engaged in administering their drugs, not in withholding them. They know, even if they disregard this fact in practice, that their drugs are always hazardous. They also know that the "possible benefits" of their drugs are only hypothetical.

   Physicians have cultivated the myth that they know how to give drugs, whereas the layman is unacquainted with the intricacies of medical science, hence does not know how to employ them. Neither the character nor the intent of one administering a substance determines its relation to the organism. A malfactor with murderous intent may administer a poison to a man; a most benevolent individual with the best of intentions may administer the same size dose of the same poison to the same individual--the effect or the result will be the same in either case. To take poisons under the direction of a physician does not alter the relation of the poison to the body. Whether taken in large doses or small, it remains a poison and the effects are those of poisoning. Poisoning is never constructive in its effects or its results.

   If the activities of the living organism are governed by law, when it is in intimate relations with foreign substances of any kind or quality, we may be certain that the law recognizes no differences between a poison when administered by a physician and the same poison when administered by a malfactor with murderous intent. Whatever the principle that presides over the organic structures and protects them with an eternal vigilance, it is no respecter of persons, but treats every intruder within her secret domains as unworthy of a place therein and promptly rejects it.

   Medical students, studying in their materia medica what are designated the properties of all the poisons of the three kingdoms of nature and firmly believing everything they read of the medicinal properties of herbs, minerals and synthetics, must be lost in wonder and admiration at their astonishing qualities and powers and at the great array of cures with which physicians are equipped. No one ever hints to them that the alleged medicinal properties of drugs are their poisonous qualities--that the so-called cathartic property of a drug is due to its poisonous quality, that the so-called emetic property of a drug is due to its poisonous quality, that the so-called diuretic property of a drug is due to its poisonous quality, that the so-called narcotic property of a drug is due to its poisonous quality, that the so-called stimulant property of a drug is due to its poisonous quality.

   How little true claim do physicians have for the confidence of the people! A physician boasts of his success in practice and he is only boasting, without knowing it, that he did not give enough poison to his patients to kill all of them. His doses were not large enough or frequent enough to prevent the body's recuperative powers from asserting their superiority and supremacy, in spite of the brakes supplied by the physician to her wheels, to accomplish her end. The physician may pound his chest and cry in a loud voice: "What a great man am I," but his assumed greatness is an illusion. It is not customary for individual physicians to openly behave in this manner, but the profession as a whole is constantly crying out about its greatness.

   The drugging practice has not the shadow of scientific principle for its basis; but its practitioners have been accustomed so long to blindly groping their way in uncertainty and experimentation, without system or consistency, that they fail to perceive the deplorable state of their alleged science. What was at first a conviction has long since been demonstrated to be a certainty--that the entire drug system is essentially, intrinsically and everlastingly false. Medical colleges turn out new physicians fast enough and pharmaceutical firms pour out a sufficient flood of new and old drugs to very rapidly lessen the amount of disease among our people, if the drugging practice were based on truth. But we do not see a lessening of disease; instead, diseases multiply endlessly and will continue to do so unless the drugging system is overthrown.

   No man can watch the newspapers for a number of years without being struck by the great number of promises that medical researchers make that are never fulfilled. The never-ending stream of new drugs that are announced in the press, as offering hope to the sick, only to disappear from the drug stores in a short time indicates, as few things do, the utter confusion of the medical mind. A new drug is produced; it enjoys a brief period of newspaper glory and passes unnoticed to the land of shades, only to be followed by another new drug which goes through the same experience. No matter how high the hopes raised, no matter how great the promises made, none of medicine's cures remain cures for very long. Medicine tries so hard to find cures but turns up only false cures.

   So long as they continue to live, those who suffer with incurable disease continue to run after the new medicines; when one nostrum fails, they go after a new one with the same eagerness with which they took up the old one. For the people will continue to run after new nostrums as fast as they are made or discovered, until they fully understand that the healing principle exists in the living organism and nowhere else and that every drug ever used always was and always will be a hindrance instead of a help to the healing process. The people must learn that the drugging practice is the arch foe of the sick.

   Let us not be fooled. Physicians are well aware that their professed knowledge of the "science of medicine" is all equal to a cipher. They have no science. They cannot tell us of the modus operandi of a single drug. They have no correct definition of disease. Yet they utter sounds, after the manner of a certain biped that paddles in our pools, whenever they find that someone knows them and can fathom the shallow depths of their wisdom. They have cried "quack" so long and so loudly that it is now accepted as a term belonging exclusively to them. We congratulate them upon their happy choice of a title.

   The specious plea in defense of the employment of certain drugs that, "if they do no good, they can at least do no harm," is palpably false. Whatever involves an expenditure of organic forces, whether a drug or a Hygienic agent, must of necessity be positively injurious if it fails to do good. There can be no neutral ground that can be occupied by either drugs or Hygienic materials and conditions. In using them or in resisting and expelling them, the forces of life are expended and if there is nothing inherent in them that provides rumuneration, they are to be condemned and rejected as enemies of life and health. It is upon the basis of this principle that food becomes an enemy under those conditions of the organism in which it cannot be used, that exercise becomes harmful when rest is the great need, etc., etc. If Hygienic materials are harmful when they are not usable or needed, should not drugs, which are never usable, also prove harmful "if they do no good?"

   It has long been known (it was much stressed by Trall) that there is no way to tell in advance of its administration what effects will follow a drug in any individual. As a simple example: a dose of castor oil may be given as a cathartic and it may be expelled by vomiting instead. Nor is it possible, by any scientific method, to predict with accuracy what side effects will develop in any particular individual. Effects may differ in the same individual at different times and under different conditions. The sex of the patient is a factor in determining this. A report comes from the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore that studies made during a two-year period established the fact that women are more susceptible to adverse reactions to drugs than men. Studies have also shown that drug reactions may be complicated by some foods, such as cheese and, also, by previous medication. The whole matter is so complicated that, even if drugs had any value, the physician would be forever working in the dark.

   Giving drugs to the sick is a great charlantanry, the sheerest empiricism, the veriest folly, and should be classed as the most outrageous knavery and the most audacious crime listed on crime's calendar. If the men who prescribe drugs were as intelligent as they are deluded, they would long since have ceased poisoning their patients. As for the recipients, no suicide that was ever buried could compare with drug taking, did the people but know how surely they are killing themselves.

   It may be questioned whether all drugs are more or less cumulative, but it is certain that all strong ones are. It is well known to medical men that many drugs are expelled with great difficulty and only slowly, so that, if they are taken regularly, they tend to accumulate in the body. The heavy metals, like bismuth and mercury, are excreted with great difficulty and there is a tendency of the body to deposit them in the bones. Poisons that are not expelled must be taken out of the general circulation and deposited where they will do least harm. If a substance is harmful, as all drugs are, why take it into the body? Why think that because it does not produce instantaneous death, we may take it with impunity? Why not refrain from burdening the body with it? Why not give the body the best opportunity to maintain high-level health? If we are content to suffer, if we want to watch ourselves go down year after year, then we will give no attention to the way in which we feed and care for ourselves; but if health is worth having, it is worth the simple effort that is required to refrain from habitually abusing the body by habits that are foreign to the elemental needs of life. Why do we blindly adhere to a system inherited from the Dark Ages?

   Drug treatment is only symptomatic. If anti-coagulation drugs can prevent blood clotting and tranquilizers can reduce blood pressure, they constitute only symptomatic treatment. They remove no causes and as soon as their administration is discontinued, the patient's condition lapses back into the prior state. He finds that he must either continue the treatment indefinitely or else suffer the continuance of high blood pressure and the danger of recurrent clotting. In the long run, which is the worse evil: the dangers associated with blood clotting and high blood pressure or those associated with drug taking? It is true, in this instance, as in all others, that the temporary "relief" of symptoms that is gained from taking drugs must be paid for with a greater impairment of health. The international flow of drugs is merely a big business from which huge profits are derived, but no health grows out of it.

   There is a popular medical notion that the more dangerous the condition of the patient, the more powerful the medication required. We can conceive of no more monstrous idea than that the more critical the case, the more poisonous the drugs that should be used to cure it. As a general rule, the more virulent the poison, the better the remedy. This medical notion accounts for the wonderful virtues ascribed to deadly poisons.

   Drugs present us with another evil, that of addiction. There are many drugs to which drug takers become addicted and from which they have the greatest difficulty in extricating themselves. When a man has become so addicted to tobacco, alcohol or other drug, that he can no longer control himself, his only means of self-help consists in keeping far away from the drug, and even this he finds difficult to do. If he once boasted that he could take it or leave it, the boast has become empty. His great and fatal mistake was that, when he could do so, he did not let it alone. He forged the chains of habit by repeatedly taking the drug. Our people are addicted to narcotics, tranquilizers, pep-up pills, sleeping potions, and other drugs too numerous to mention. Their addictions to tobacco and alcohol are old ones, but our people would benefit more from closing the druggeries than from closing the groggeries.

   Writing in an editorial in the Journal, October 1861, dealing with liquor in the Army, Trall said: "As we predicted, the alcoholic rebel has already proved a more destructive enemy to the Federal Army than have the Confederate rebels. A correspondent of the Tribune informs us that the forces under Beauregarde and Johnson at Manasses were not allowed to touch intoxicating liquors and that their officers set the example of strict temperance by wholly abstaining from the use of it themselves. How discreditably for us this contrasted with the fact of free liquor-drinking in the armies of the Union! Who knows, who will ever know to what extent the disaster and rout of the Federal armies at Bull Run was attributable to the super-enemy that steals away the brains, waxes the eyes, distorts the mental perceptions and overthrows reasoning powers? Officers have been accused of being grossly intoxicated and unable, in consequence, to attend to their regiments and duties. The newspapers have teemed with, complaints of the drinking habits of the soldiers and the rowdyism, insubordination and casualties consequent thereon. Commanders have been obliged to resort to extreme measures to prevent the utter demoralization of the men under their control and it has been a common topic of remark, by the reporters in and around Washington, that the rum-sellers were driving a brisk trade with the soldiers. When the Seventy-Ninth Regiment rebelled, liquor, if not the cause, was the chief difficulty and curse attending the revolt. Many of those who mutinied were in a state of partial or complete intoxication."

   The movies have always pictured alcohol as "liquid courage," but the facts of history indicate that alcohol is liquid confusion and, if anything, liquid cowardice. Certainly, a soldier who is drunk is a poor marksman and a poor marcher. In his confused state of mind, he is also poor at carrying out orders. Hygienists are not interested in producing good soldiers, but they are deeply interested in producing and maintaining the health of the young men of the nation and in maintaining clarity of thought in them. When we consider, first, that the medical profession teaches that alcohol is a beneficial substance and, second, that the multitude are governed in their thinking and acting by the opinions of the learned, we cannot be condemed for saying that the "sordid spirit of the liquor traffic is less of an obstacle in the way of temperance reform than are the false theories and consequent erroneous practices of the medical profession." When the temperance people and physicians learn that alcohol and its conferrers are intrinsically bad, and not only relatively so, humanity will have taken a great step forward. Must men forever be brayed in a mortar with a pestle and learn nothing?

 


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