This has been quite a week. My last column about finding a way to get off of acid reducers hit a nerve, people have been asking about adding fluoride to the water, medical marijuana and finally the heart wrenching shootings in Colorado. What do heartburn, fluoride, marijuana and violence have in common?
Heartburn -- acid reflux, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, indigestion -- is so commonplace there is an extraordinary market for over the counter and pharmaceutical treatments. Money drives the market and there is a lot of money involved.
These drugs, taken daily to relieve indigestion, weren't intended for very long term use, yet that is what has happened. Short term side effects include reduced absorption of nutrients, while long term effects can include memory drain/dementia and weakened bones, also called osteopenia/osteoporosis. Of course, money-driven pharmaceutical medicine makes a bundle off of the people with these ailments, too. I'm glad I found a way to stop using these, after ten years. I'm thankful for aloe vera and other supplements.
As for the plan to add fluoride to drinking water statewide, I don't understand the logic. The biggest question is why medicate everyone in the state (who drinks this water) with fluoride when science clearly shows benefit to a very few? That is exactly what we will be doing ... medicating. With fluoride toothpaste cheaply available, I have trouble answering this question. Of course, there are long term side effects from fluoride ingestion. Hmmm.
Medical marijuana legislation should pass, as this herb is beneficial to the most ill in our state. The worry, I assume, is that the demon weed will be mis-used and we will all become addled citizens. On a social note, I think it should be dealt with like alcohol. The people I know who don't use, still wouldn't.
Finally, the Aurora, Colorado shooter fell through the cracks in our social structure. To me, he's an indulgent, fantasy-filled loner who lost touch with the sanctity of other people with a horrible outcome. We don't value psychology/psychotherapy very much, but we should have this available at low cost to everyone, applauding those who choose to use it. What does all of this have in common? In each case I think we don't value ourselves enough. Sadly, value is often only attached if there is a dollar to be made, no sanctity included.