Feb 202012
Authors: Seth Stern

The death of Whitney Houston resulted in the typical wailing and gnashing of teeth from our celebrity-obsessed society. When New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie announced his decision to have the Garden State’s flags lowered to half-staff as a tribute to Jersey-native-turned-philanthropist Houston, you might have thought he slapped Bruce Springsteen with a length of pig rectum.

But an interesting exchange took place Friday night on “Real Time with Bill Maher” between the host and Dr. Drew Pinsky, celebrity adviser and MTV attention whore. This isn’t an exact quote, but Maher cautioned his audience and viewers facetiously to stick to street drugs if they wanted to stay alive –– he specifically mentioned Keith Richards as an example.

Pinsky observed that generally speaking, with the exception of intravenous heroin users, the celebrities who have died from overdose have generally died from some combination of legal narcotics.

A quick turn through the celebrities who have overdosed shows a disturbing, but not surprising, pattern. With the exception of cocaine combined with heroin or morphine, the majority of celebrities lost to overdose have fallen victim to … alcohol. Immediately following alcohol, but very often in combination with it, are prescription narcotics.

ABC News published a story last year on April 20 reporting that 4.6 percent of the world’s population calling the U.S. home consume 80 percent of the world’s opiates and 99 percent of the Vicodin.

Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, professional hockey player Derek Boogard, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Ryan Dunn, Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger and a multitude of other celebrities have died at the hands of prescription drugs and alcohol, which are decriminalized by the federal government and deemed “safe.”

Yet despite promises to the contrary during the 2008 campaign and issuing official memos from the Department of Justice, the current administration has declared war on the Schedule I narcotic marijuana.

Your federal government defines Schedule I drugs as having a high potential for abuse and no known medical purpose. This goes so far beyond realistic that it’s impossible to fabricate.

Assuming you have never danced with Mary Jane, marijuana can be used to medically treat pain, nausea, insomnia and anxiety.

Pot carries the additional bonuses of being both non-addictive and on which, it is impossible for users to overdose. Even Fox News has exposed the lies of D.C.

If the celebrity patterns indicate that prescription drugs and alcohol are more lethal than street drugs, what are the odds of a similar correlation in the civilians?

It’s ugly. You think Occupy Wall Street is pissed at the banks? Occupy Pfizer would warrant a great deal more angst. The banks have used Congress as the tool to bankrupt Americans for the benefit of the billionaires.

Pharmaceutical and alcohol lobbies –– aka Valium and Vodka –– have exploited the very same Congress to ensure their billions in profits from the death and addiction caused by their products remain protected from the natural, effective and harmless cannabis.

I have professors who disagree with me about the importance of the FDA and USDA. Several argue that companies and corporations have historically proven they have utterly no compunctions about selling harmful products to consumers in order to profit.

With billions available to bribe reps to legislate their bidding without serious obstacle –– except from the few known not to be on the take (see: Pauls, Ron and Rand) for “campaign contributions” –– what the hell is the difference in outcome?

The reality is these two industries recognize an unregulated market would result in billions lost not only in pain medications and Pabst, but in SSRIs, OTC and prescription: anti-nausea, antacid, sleep aids and anything else currently being bottled, labeled and sold as “medicine.”

More unfortunate for Americans, the serious problems we face nationally are the result of a government occupied by corporations and banks. Getting the money out of politics at this point runs the same odds of success as curing terminal and systemic cancer with a dull knife. I see no cure on our horizon.

Bank, pharmaceutical, alcohol and corporate lobbies profit from the bankruptcies, foreclosures, overdoses, obesity and alcoholism of the nation –– all while their puppet politicians tell us they’re here with the government, and they’re here to help.

I no longer feel any moral obligation to heed laws written by the incompetent and corrupt at the behest of the greedy. From everything I can tell, if the government tells you it’s healthy, avoid it at all costs. If the government suggests it’s dangerous, check to see who profits.

Crack dealers may kill you with a gun, but pharmaceutical companies may kill you with prescriptions.

S. Jacob Stern is not a role model for government obedience. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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