Thursday, 2 April 2015

Writing - Yesterday's medicines today's drugs.




In my attempts to educate the world as to its follies and general foolishness I come across some weird s**t.

Image result for heroine the drug

It is easy to say the phrase 'drugs are bad' but that is the precise point at which you open a can of worms. I have known someone who smoked marijuana because of back pain, people who can't take ibuprofen and people prescribed aspirin to thin the blood. Morphine is a derivative of poppies as is heroine so where does good end and bad begin?

Image result for Bayer's heroin

A  bottle of Bayer's 'Heroin'. 
Between  1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitutefor  morphine.
It was also used to treat children suffering with a strong  cough.

Image result for metcalf's coca wine

Metcalf's  Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market..  Everybody used to say that it  would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal  treatment.

Image result for mariani wine

Mariani  wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it's time. 
Pope Leo  XIII
 used to carry  one bottle with him all the time.
He awarded Angelo Mariani (the  producer) with a Vatican gold medal.

Image result for maltine

Maltine  Coca Wine was produced by the Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York  .
It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after  every meal. Children should only take half
 a  glass.

Cocaine  Tablets (1900).
All stage  actors, singers, teachers and preachers had to have them for a maximum  performance. Great to 'smooth' the voice.

Cocaine drops for  toothache.
Very  popular for children in 1885. 
Not only did they relieve the pain, they  made the children very happy!

Its no wonder they were called the 'good old days' EVERYONE WAS STONED

Of course it wasn't all good. My grandmother died aged 41 in 1933 from rheumatoid arthritis. She was my mum's mum and my mum was orphaned that year aged 11 as her father died the year before. Of course this was 14 years before the NHS and the organisation of health care on a national basis. My mum often told of the attempts to gain pain relief for my grandmother at that time and none of them included heroin or cocaine. Old wives tales focussed on such delights as drinking boiled celery water.

Image result for nasty medicine face

I must confess that this is one of my soapbox moments. There have been arguments in the last ten days between the drugs administration body NICE who are responsible for licencing drugs to be used by the NHS, and drug producing companies who want more money!!!! 

The fiscal greed in this country sickens me!

A drug company producing the vaccine to help prevent the dangerous meningitis B disease is holding out against the government who only want to pay £5 - £7 per dose whereas the company wants ten times that amount. In the meantime children are being maimed and killed by the disease.

Then today another drug company is demanding hundreds of pounds for a daily dose of medicine to help slow the affects of age related macular degeneration which can result in blindness. The even greater sin is the fact that cancer drug atorvastin has been discovered to be affective against the condition at a tenth of the cost. Some doctors have been prescribing atorvastin but are going to have to stop because the drug hasn't had the necessary clinical trials. NICE wants to carry out the trials but the drugs company are trying to stop that happening. One of the purposes of the trials are to test its safety for human use!
I'm either naive or stupid or both but if the drug is licensed to be given to people to help in the treatment and cure of cancers, then it is safe to be taken. The side effects are known. The only aspect that isn't known is the benefits to the eyes, but surely it has been already discovered that atorvastin is of benefit to the macular condition or doctors wouldn't be giving it to sufferers. 

Am I being too simplistic?

So where does writing figure in this blog today? Well. it is written, there is research, and a historical perspective. There is information that can be used in stories, there is emotion in the form of anger, frustration and sadness; and, there are human relationships. However, much of the above is totally factual whereas when we write we can bend and shape those facts for the entertainment of our readers. 

It also must be remembered that historically, writers did not just stay limited to fiction but were revered and sometimes reviled for their views on the state of things during their times. Samuel Pepys was a fabled diarist and this week I've written about the 17th century writer and philosopher John Aubrey. 

So if you write and there are issues of the day that concern you then write them down and put them out there to be read.

God Bless