One of the thrills of writing this column is the number of calls, letters and e-mails I get from people I have not seen or heard from in many years. I was pleased to get an e-mail from one of my Wood College classmates, Betty Mack Priest Brown, originally from Houston and now lives in Oxford. She informed me that she was not old and I admitted that I did not consider myself old but did have a number of miles accumulated over the years. I was pleased to hear from her. She works in admissions at Ole Miss. Thanks Betty Mack for letting me hear from you. I very much appreciate hearing from any of the readers. As Country and Western Radio Stations once said, “Keep the cards and letters coming.”
Recently Al Gore, III, was arrested after being pulled over making about 100 miles an hour on the San Diego Freeway. According to the Associated Press he was charged with illegally possessing marijuana and prescription drugs. Drugs found in the car were Vicodit a pain killer, Xanax and Valium are used to treat anxiety. According to AP they produce feelings of relaxation or drowsiness. I cannot help but wonder how many drivers we meet on the highways under the influence of such drugs? Mr. Gore also was in possession of Adderall used to treat attention deficit hypertension disorders. College students use Adderall to get a speedy high or to be able to stay awake all night. If misused the drug can cause sudden death or serious heart problems. The most widely abused drug, alcohol, was not found in Gore’s car. According to some research I have read recently college students often mix alcohol with the prescription drugs, an accident waiting to happen.
Part of the problem with prescription drug misuse, as I see it, is a societal problem. We are a generation of pills. We sincerely believe that there is a pill for everything and we are a people deserving of no aches or pains. Children grow up and become young adults believing their “fix” is in the home medicine cabinet. Those pills they often get from home mixed with alcohol often cause terrible results including death. Drug advertisements have not helped. Those high priced ads we see on TV, newspapers and magazines convince people that a certain drug if for them and they find a doctor who will prescribe it. This also elevates the cost of prescription drugs that absolutely do not need to be elevated.
Let me encourage all of us to be careful with prescription drugs. Perhaps those of us who have accumulated a few miles are forced to take some pills. But we need to be careful about storage and discarding drugs no longer needed. Ask your pharmacist about how to dispose of drugs safely.
I hope we will teach our children and grandchildren the proper use of drugs and the danger of misuse.
(Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is Pastor of the Shady Grove UM Church in Calhoun County and a member of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org)