Anne-Marie,

If I took on every single factor in why our life expectancy is going down (and it is, in part because of obesity and opioid addiction, and as my research shows, for the first time in America’s history, our kids will not be living longer than their parents.) the article would be a treatise like War and Peace. As a journalist and writer I have to pick a point, narrow the scope and stay on target. While I may agree with you about poverty and other factors, each is its own huge universe of issues and concerns. In this piece I am focusing on pharmaceutical abuse.

This does not say that any individual story or person’s experience isn’t valid. In some ways (and don’t take this to mean I am saying that this is what you’re doing here please) it’s like saying that “well, my grandaddy smoked and drank all his life so it must not be so bad.” As individuals, we all have unique experiences, and any one of us can tease out a particular story given the many billions of people who live on earth. However, we do take vastly too many drugs, and I stand by my statement that for the most part, good food, exercise, a life purpose and being surrounded by a supportive community are vastly better for us than anything external. And that remains true.

I did not say that all drugs are bad, and I am sorry you infer that from my piece. I challenge the Western medical community to publish the vast numbers of studies that show their meds DON’T work, cause more problems than they solve, and in particular in the case of the elderly, lead to falls and death and far worse. I too took escitalopram. Made me suicidal. That is my metabolism and my experience. Not yours. That speaks to our individuality, our differences and our different ways we are wired. In this there is no right nor wrong. However, when any fool can walk into a doctor’s office and get anti-depressants pushed upon them for a sore toe (that’s a story I was told by a friend, I’m not kidding) then we have a problem. If this works for you then that’s terrific. Far too many of us seek pills instead of doing the responsible work of good food, exercise, life engagement, deep personal work and finding a way to be of service. I choose the latter, and it has made all the difference.

Recent research has shown that those living too close to major highways are getting diabetes at far higher rates than others who aren’t subjecting to inflammation that the heavy metals present in car exhaust delivers to their bodies. That’s just one example of millions, Anne-Marie. However for many, that can’t be controlled due to poverty, to your point. Pharmaceuticals are just part of the problem. That’s all I addressed. I am a fan of Hippocrates when it comes to simple life solutions: exercise, good food as our medicine, and a good walk cures a great many ills.

There is a very big argument that the placebo effect is much of what works with anti-depressants. That’s over my pay grade. However in the article I listed my sources. They might prove to be valuable reading. Or not. Either way I am glad you have found something that works. Thanks for your comments.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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