A few years ago I went skiing with a few traditional medical doctors. I am a holistic practitioner in a specialty field, eye care. When we were all unpacked at the Mt Snow ski lodge we had rented, we sat down for a cup of hot cider before our first ski run.
To my surprise, one of the doctors started handing out pills labeled Acetazolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. It is linked to some cases of Liver Disease, aplastic anemia and other issues, though not frequently. I mentioned this concern and they guy with the bottle in his hand laughed. He said the odds were about 1 in 10,000 or less that you might get aplastic anemia taking it.
I happen to ride a motorcycle and I knew that the fatality rate driving a bike was 35 per 100 million miles of travel. It quickly occurred to me I was MUCH safer riding my motorcycle. Considering that most motorcycle fatalities are due to young kids racing on their bikes in traffic, the odds were even better. They all took the pills and I did not. I had pondered the difference in our perspective for years, whenever I shared the story. A few weeks ago, an ex-drug addict came in to see me and helped clarify what had happened.
This gentleman, who was now in his late 50’s, told me that when he was growing up his divorced mom would walk around the house with a tall glass of vodka clasped tightly to her chest. Naturally, he drank and became an alcoholic at an early age; after all, this was modeled for him as normal behavior. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and quickly switched to cocaine and then other drugs. He spent a lot of his life in rehabs and misery, finally he caught on and managed to get free of drugs.
What occurred to me after listening to his story was that the doctors I went skiing with were surrounded by the drug culture that doctors and nurses assume is normal. Life revolves around taking risks with drugs, after all you are taught to think risk-benefits but deluded to thinking that the serious risks are minimal. Why? Well what keeps a gambler gambling? It is the lack of real understanding of what the odds mean. The odds mean that the house will always win long term.
Doctors become drug pushers when they forget that people can make choices to live without drugs by changing their diets and lifestyles. If not in a week it may be over a year or more. Small steps are worth taking if they minimize drug dependency risks and the life threatening scenarios that drugs offer. I think all medial doctors need to have a yearly course in how not to fall for the drug culture and how to work with psychologists or psychotherapists to help patients get healthy rather than become medical drug addicts.