The manufacturing of an epidemic-Ebola or prescription drugs
Within the last few months the news has been filled with stories, some predictably lacking in fact, with a sensationalist twist and others well researched written pieces that explore the arguments and issues surrounding the public debate on the so called epidemics of Ebola and prescription drug abuse.
Intially I would like to analyse the genesis of the Ebola outbreak and the deaths caused by this hardy retrovirus, which has recently mutated into a more virulent man killing version. I have written elsewhere about the altered global environment in which the virus now lives and which most likely set the stage for an episode of genetic adaption. Ironically mans disregard for the environment has allowed the initial colonisers of this planet to strike back and remind us who the boss really is. However it cannot be denied that the lack of social infrastructure and basic human amenities in the worst hit parts of Africa have significantly contributed to the most recent outbreak. The role of the media is complicated and although the problem must be reported it should be done so by properly qualified journalists who have an understanding of medicine and have not just come off reporting the fashion shows in Paris. The public comunication of medical issues is complicated and requires writters with expertise in this area. The risk to society of negligent reporting is significant and the propagation of mis-informnation can lead to social anarchy.
What is interesting is the different tone of reporting seen around the world. The US and British media outlets, except the BBC, generally lean towards the hysterical form of reporting while that of the Chinese and Russians takes a more balanced, considered and less panicked approach. This definitely speaks to the differences in culture but gives the advantage of a country in control. In contrast anyone watching US media outlets could be forgiven for thinking that Armageddon was around the corner. This, in my opinion, transparent media tactic is designed to increase the ratings, which ultimately, is all most of these corporations really care about.
The prescription abuse epidemic in the US has actually been in progress since the large pharmaceutical companies began dumping their stockpiles of powerful synthetic opiates on unsuspecting doctors and patients, with promises of pain no more and lies of minimal risk. The facts are now sadly speaking for themselves after 15 years of constant barragement with the worst heroin crisis the US has seen since after the Vietnam War. The sequence of events begins with a child stealing the medicines from the cabinet of one of his parents and then distributing them amongst his friends. The rapidity with which the addiction takes a hold is alarming, and the difficulty with which the child is able to stop using the drug has led to an explosion of drug rehabilitation centers and drug courts. In essence, a whole new industry has sprung up, with people making a lot of money. The danger in this situation is that the institutions are now not motivated to halt the drug abuse, but instead look at the repeat customers as a continued source of income. This social nightmare will probably take two generations to wittle down, and could so easily have been avoided if the politicians had not allowed the large drug companies to peddle their poisonous crap. Money, for sure , was involved, and the selling on wholesale of the American people to the corporations by the governement is some would say a modern version of slavery.