Even the generic pills aren't cheap anymore: There was no drug shortage, according to the Food and Drug Administration, that might explain the [price] increase. There was no new patent or new formulation. Digoxin is not hard to make. What had changed most were the financial rewards of selling an ancient, lifesaving drug and company strategies intended to reap the benefits.
A fun and poetic quality of the American healthcare story is how, even as it gets better, it keeps getting worse: Every sideways step around treatable sickness is nonetheless a forward step closer to death.
"My primary concern over use of benzodiazepines is that when used to treat anxiety, they are more likely to aggravate than improve a patient’s symptoms, especially if taken regularly. Patients develop physical and psychological dependence to benzodiazepines very quickly. Once physically tolerant, patients experience withdrawal symptoms if doses are missed, and generally interpret the withdrawal symptoms as manifestations of their own anxiety disorder. The progression from taking alprazolam or clonazepam ‘as needed’ to taking them regularly is as predictable as any other biological process. And after physical tolerance has developed, symptoms that were once considered manageable become part of an unmanageable ‘anxiety disorder.’" —[...]
"A medical testing company called Quest Diagnostics analyzed decades worth of drug tests – about 125 million of them – and found that only 3.6-percent came back positive for cocaine and marijuana. That’s down from more 13-percent in 1988. Seems like a good trend. But there were some exceptions beginning with prescription drugs. Positive tests for Vicodin and Oxycontin were up sharply over the past few years. And researchers warn the lower rates of pot and cocaine use could also be due to the fact that more people are beating the tests."
On the night after the Heaven's Gate UFO cultists were discovered dead by mass suicide in a San Diego suburban McMansion, I was standing in a dark patch of the Presidio, watching the Hale-Bopp comet and its forked tail over the Marin Headlands. Someone passed around binoculars, somebody else passed a little pipe around, and after a half hour everyone was cold and bored and we drifted back to the battleship-gray Victorian on Haight Street that I shared with a rotating group of five or six pals.
My bedroom was just a large closet on the upper floor, with enough room for a narrow mattress and a chest [...]
"The scandal over horse meat in the European food chain widened Thursday from a case of mislabeling to one of food safety as public health authorities in Britain said that a powerful equine painkiller, potentially harmful to human health, 'may have entered the food chain'"—but only in France, so phew. In related news, the Guardian headline "Horsemeat scandal: 'fresh beef' discovery as tests overwhelm laboratories" might lead one to think that analysis had discovered some actual beef mixed in with all the ground-up stallion, but alas, no: "tests revealed potentially dangerous contamination of meat with veterinary drugs and Asda confirmed the first trace of horse had been found [...]
Are you taking Xanax or some other benzodiazepine for anxiety or insomnia? Well, given the condition you are in, I don't want to alarm you about your pills, but, "there is growing evidence that they have serious side effects and a number of studies have linked them to falls, memory problems, panic attacks and early death."
What's going on with Atlantan trap rap? ("Trap" is regional slang for the drug market. Trapping is selling drugs. Trap rap is rap music centered around and focussed on the drug market.) Well, first of all, OJ Da Juiceman is never going to catch those sneaky kids who steal the money from his dice game while he's wearing so much gold. He can't run fast enough if he has to hold all his chains against his chest to make sure they don't fly around and hit him in the face! (This is reminiscent of the old I'm Gonna Git You Sucka joke about people dying from "O.G." or [...]
"In long interviews at his apartment off Fordham Road in the Bronx, however, Mr. Merritt rarely contradicted himself. Court records confirmed his mastery of details. He insisted that I portray him as deeply flawed." — The request of Earl Robert Merritt, who now claims that he framed hundreds of people for the NYPD, leading to their arrest for possessing guns or narcotics—or other crimes.
A generic version of the widely-used Liptor anti-cholesterol drug is being recalled because the pills are full of "glass particles," which we guess is a bad thing? People take so many pills!
And you know how the generics are always a lot cheaper, and who cares because it's not like the brand of the medicine is something you care about? Well, one reason these particular pills are cheaper is because they come from some sketchy factory in India—far away from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which does a pretty lousy job of protecting the food and medicine supply right here in the United States. For instance, one of [...]
"And then there was the matter of how they talked. My parents and their friends spoke this exotic language very slowly. There were other odd things. For instance, they often slept standing up, and this group narcolepsy could strike right in the middle of the most dynamic conversation. Someone would start a sentence: 'Those ofay cats bopping out on the stoop are blowin’ like Birrr . . . ' and suddenly the words would begin to come out slower. And. Slower. Soon they wouldn’t be speaking at all. Eventually our living room would be filled with black and white hipsters suspended in time and space, while I ran through the [...]
Once a month I get together with half a dozen moms from Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. We call ourselves Hookers, Sluts and Drug Addicts. They dubbed me a Hooker because I wear tight clothes and smile a lot. Sally, a stay-at-home mom of boys, is a Slut, because she’s always touching her body. The Drug Addict is a therapist who can drink a bottle of Cabernet in one sitting. (All names and some details have been changed so I don’t lose more friends than I already have.) Some work and some don’t. The working ones complain about their jobs and the non-working ones complain about their husbands. We go [...]
"In decades past, clinical trials found that drugs were hugely effective, compared to placebo, a new study reveals. Newer drugs, on the other hand, are often only just slightly better than placebo, Reuters reported. The study looked at drugs of all types, treating everything from infections to mental illness to cancer."
Well, this is very disturbing. In an apparent effort to challenge his old Three 6 Mafia partner Juicy J for the title of hip-hop's "No. 1 get-high rapper," the self-proclaimed "King of Memphis" DJ Paul does so many drugs in his new video that he has a heart attack and dies. (Kids don't follow!) Calling oneself the "King of Memphis" is pretty cool, though, in that it places DJ Paul in the line of Old Kingdom Egyptian pharaohs like Menes and Djoser, under the protection of the god of carpentry and metalworking, Ptah, or "Lord of Truth."
Rap is so crazy drugged-out right now. This new A$AP Rocky video—with its molasses-slow sample of Linda Rondstadt's "It's So Easy to Fall In Love" and kaleidescopic camera tricks—makes you think the young Harlem rapper is jealous of Andre 3000's getting to play Jimi Hendrix in the Jimi Hendrix biopic. And Gunplay, an underrated member of Rick Ross's Maybach Music group, has a new mixtape coming out called, hilariously, 106 & Snort. There's a good song on 106 & Snort called "Take This," which, you will not be surprised to learn, is about cocaine.