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Re: Shafer on Harmon's article

Posted by Laurie Beth on November 17, 2005, at 10:38:57

In reply to Shafer on Harmon's article med_empowered, posted by pseudoname on November 17, 2005, at 9:27:38

"But I think the article implied that it proved more than it actually proved about self-pharmacy trends."

I agree.

For example:

"For a sizable group of people in their 20's and 30's, deciding on their own what drugs to take - in particular, stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric medications - is becoming the norm."

Technically, this might be true. Perhaps for several young adults (out of how many millions in the US?), the "norm" is to decide what meds to take (and, also implied by context, to obtain them illegally). But the very use of word "norm" is intended to mislead the reader into thinking that she's saying that the NORM AMONG YOUNG ADULTS is to decide on their own what meds to take. Saying that "some people in their 20s and 30s decide on their own" what psychotropic meds to takewould hardly be news, right?

But in some instnaces, it seems to me that she DOES cross the line between misleading the reader into thinking that more is being claimed, and actually claiming more but not supporting it. Take this:

"The behavior [referent unclear, she seems to be referring to 'trad[ing] unused prescription drugs, get[ting] medications without prescriptions from the Internet and, in some cases, l[ying] to doctors to obtain medications that in their judgment they need'] ... is on the rise" [along with the "use of marijuana and cocaine"].

And what about the reference to "increasing casual misuse of prescription medications by young people"? Where is the support for this statement?

I don't really see any support in the article for a trend.

But what I find more problematic is (1) as medempowered says, people who are trying to become knowledgeable about their medical care and question or make suggestion to their pdocs or GPs about medication are being lumped with people who break the law by obtaining meds and dispensing meds illegally, and (2) people who are trying to get adequate treatment for serious mental illnesses are being lumped in with those who want to "party" or clean their house late, those who try to "regulate every minor mood fluctuation" will illegal obtained meds, and those who "want to enhance their performance at school or work" with same.





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