Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

February 15, 2008

Valuable Perspective on Clemens vs. McNamee…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 11:41 am

…can be found on the pillgirl report the website/blog of my writer friend Naomi Wax who examines the bewildering psychopharmacological and philosphical issues raised by the amazing number of legal medications that people take to “enhance their performance”, enhance their mood, sometimes save their lives–and how often they are confused and shoddily treated by Big Parma and arrogant doctors. Naomi has a sophisticated perspective on these questions that suggests there’s far more here worth looking into than the punitive Congressional expedition against a few physical/athletic “performance enhancers”. What is natural? How happy should we be? What’s the difference between sadness and depression? Illness and melancholy?

Ask Naomi.



  1. It cannot be said enough: the criminalization of drugs used for recreational or pleasurable purposes has led to the creation of prescribed drugs, which absent the high, do more and more dangerous things to the mind and body. Goodbye Valium; Hello Wellbutrin. Goodbye Romilar, Hello NyQuil. Time was (50 years ago) when every home included Paragoric, benzedrine inhalers and other goodies. America is a nation of self-medicators, but really only different from other nations (where, for example, you can buy codeine over the counter) in its Puritanical demonization of pleasure. We have seen it all before, during Prohibition, when people went to their doctors for alcohol prescriptions. The Feds going after doctors for their prescription practices hasn’t helped matters, either. One thing that has been forgotten in the steroids debate is that there are many legitimate medical uses for steroids, such as in the treatment of Addison’s Disease. Warhol superstar Taylor Mead, still going strong at 83, used to joke that oldsters like him should be publicly encouraged to educate the young in safe recreational drug use. Anyone who has used drugs over long periods of time, particularly if one is prone to addiction, reaches a point where one looks back with regret at the physical toll drugs exact, but the criminalization of this behavior has only made things far, far worse.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 15, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  2. ‘Big Pharma?’ That’s worse than blaming ‘big publishing’ if you don’t like ‘Thus Zarathustra.’ Believe me the drugs used wouldn’t be on the market if they didn’t have legitimate medical uses. With regard to steroids, I imagine ‘big pharma’ has significant production, it used to involve Mexican yams which have a steroid precursor, for oral contraceptives and the other steroid products are a minor sideline. Etc.

    So everything is perfect! No deadly side effects, no drugs withdrawn because of heart atttacks, cancer etc. I wish I was on whatever drug makes one think that way. Or maybe not.

    Comment by michael — February 15, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  3. Lyndon Johnson deregulated the airlines, Nixon got us off the gold standard and Judge Milton Greene deregulated the phone companies in the AT&T case. So while you are trying to make an airline reservation, while you are being spammed by Internet hustlers and can’t afford the plane ticket, there is plenty of blame to go around. On the flip side, alot of people believe that recreational drugs are still illegal because Congress couldn’t figure out a way to tax, i..e. regulate them. Prohibition was the greatest regulatory disaster of all: regulation/deregulation are reverse sides of the same coin, greed, in the hands of most pols. Anyone wonder why my candidate is vociferously supporting the Second Amendment right now, when a number of right wing nuts could be, God forbid, fantasizing, or worse, about turning a gun on him? Say it ain’t so, Barack!!

    Comment by charlie finch — February 18, 2008 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  4. Charlie, some of us would be jelly on the sidewalk without Wellbutrin. My father (depression is genetic in our family) took it without ill effects until he died at 88. However I was so gratified to read Pillgirl Namoi’s piece about brand vs. generic Wellbutrin. I’m totally allergic to the generic drug, it makes me really sick, yet my insurer (Writers Guild!) refuses to cover the brand medication, claiming they’re the same, and ignoring my appeals. They ain’t the same. Thanks, Naomi, for pointing it out, and for mounting your crusade.

    Comment by Addie Pray — February 19, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  5. I don’t find it unusual that we take things to make us feel better. Why, I can remember in the 1950’s that my mother took injections of B-12. Of course, she didn’t take us out to the field to show us how to zip the split fingered fastball, but she could deal the cards at bridge club.

    Taking supplements that give one an advantage in professional sports is, in my view, a clear indication that the player fears real competition. He not only robs himself but his opponents of the opportunity to compete honestly. That it happens frequently does not change the result.

    The difference between Clemens and a severe depressive is a distinction we can easily make, even under the direction of the “United States Handicapper General.” Well, maybe not.

    Comment by Mark Van Wagoner — February 19, 2008 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

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