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  • Karen Watts Nauman

Just Say NO to drugs, 2018 Version

I was involved in a long difficult battle with my sister’s mental health illness. She snapped 8 ½ years ago, basically losing her coping mechanism and going into a very deep depression with severe anxiety. In and out of mental institutions on both coasts, attempting suicide many times and being fed a huge number of different drugs, she never came out of it and died at age 63 in late September. She is at peace now, but her journey was hell for her and her loved ones. I strongly believe that the depression didn’t kill her, the drugs did.

It’s ironic how the word ‘drugs’ is now being looked at differently. Up until recently, usually, when one spoke about drugs they would include Marijuana in this category. When someone was “on drugs” that meant that they were usually stoned. Cannabis was the evil, bad substance that they depicted in the stupid movie, Reefer Madness. When Nancy Reagan started the “War on Drugs”, it made this innocent plant seem even more evil. It was a drug just like heroin, meth, crack, acid etc. “You get addicted and it will ruin your life” they preached. But all along, the pharmaceutical drugs were all deemed safe, we were all led to believe so, by well-meaning doctors. And society took these pills because we were taught to believe in everything the establishment said, including the makers of these drugs. Now in 2018, when people talk about ‘drugs’ they are usually referring to the opioids, pain meds, anti-psychotic & antidepressant pills that are harming and killing people, not the plant medicine that heals. People are tired of taking so many different medications, most with not-so-pleasant side effects. They are open, some for the first time, to learning about a natural alternative that can help them to lessen their dependence on all the pills. According to a study by Leafly, anxiety-related disorders affect a huge segment of our population—40 million adults (18%) in the United States age 18 and older. In response, Big Pharma has developed numerous drugs to treat anxiety-related disorders, from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft to tranquilizers (the most popular class being benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax). No wonder why I was constantly shocked at the number of pills my sister was prescribed. The physiatrist would keep her deep in different pills for depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. ”Mother’s little helpers.” But after a long time of being on these drugs, she started showing signs of addiction and her body was deteriorating noticeably. Well-meaning doctors would then prescribe more drugs to try to fix the problems that seemed to be from the other pills. Fixing symptoms, not causes. The good news is that science is coming to our rescue and proving that CBD can be an excellent natural alternative to all these pills. Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University worked on a study that found in animal models of chronic pain that low doses of CBD administered for seven days alleviate both pain and anxiety, two symptoms often associated in neuropathic or chronic pain. “If these findings replicate in humans, we’re also closer to harnessing CBD’s potential to deliver non-addictive pain and anxiety relief, offering patients on highly addictive opioids and benzodiazepine anti-anxiety meds another way to go.” (The study will be published in the journal PAIN.) In honor of my sister, Billie Sue Watts Durham, I plan on continuing my fight to open up minds to trying a natural alternative and saying, “No to drugs” going forward in this new future of recognizing the real harmful ones made by Big Pharma.

BY: Karen Watts Nauman

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