Sunday, January 19, 2014

15 Milligrams of Neil Young - twice a day with meals.

aserotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor
It was an amusing exchange: Neil Young against the CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on the subject of the Oil Sands. Young, of course, emphasizing his rage with hyperbole and metaphor at the devastation caused by oil sands mining (including a simile conjuring images of Hiroshima) and the CEO of CAPP dismissing Young as ignorant, more or less. “Neil Young doesn't know what he's talking about,” was the gist of DavidCollyer's response in an interview with CBC.
      Someone in the media (can't remember who) characterized the exchanges as arguments of the deaf.
      Somehow all this resonates with an experience through which I'm going at present.
      Some 15 years ago my family doctor diagnosed me as needing the assistance of what is called an aserotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI—Paroxetine or Paxil being its familiar names. I've been sailing along with full, if misplaced, confidence in the inventors—GlaxoSmithKlein—and my family doctor and my pharmacist, who either did not know—or knew and didn't inform me—of the potential side effects; I was initially assured it wasn't habit-forming besides.
      If you are taking an SSRI for depression or anxiety, the benefits might well outweigh the detriments for you, but the following information should at least be made known to everyone for whom such drugs are prescribed:

Paroxetine is an SSRI anti-depressant released by GSK in 1992 and sold as Paxil, Seroxat, Aropax, Brisdelle, Pexeva and Sereupin. The company's promotion of the drug for children was one of the grounds for the 2012 fraud case in the United States. [for]10 years the drug was marketed as "not habit forming," which numerous experts and at least one court found to be incorrect. Approximately 5,000 US citizens have sued GSK after using paroxetine; lawsuits have also been filed in the UK. The lawsuits allege that the drug has serious side effects, which GSK downplayed in patient information. In 2001 the World Health Organization ranked paroxetine as the most difficult antidepressant to withdraw from. In 2002 the FDA published a new product warning about the drug, and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations said GSK had misled the public about paroxetine and had breached two of the Federation's codes of practice.

In early 2004 GSK agreed to settle charges of consumer fraud for $2.5 million; the drug had $2.7 billion in yearly sales at that time (
 At this point, halfway through a withdrawal regimen, I can substantiate from personal experience that the drug's negative side effects are real and serious and that discontinuation is beastly; I'm still not certain of success.
      What has all this to do with oil sands? you ask. Well we should never fall into the trap of assuming that corporations are in the business of seeking ways to make our lives better, slick advertising notwithstanding; their motivation is maximum return on investment. In the case of GlaxoSmithKlein, the profit motive produced real and dangerous effects for consumers of their product. The courts as well as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations determined that GSK deliberately and maliciously misled the public in order to maintain and increase highly profitable sales.
      Similarly, members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are not engaged in helping us wean ourselves of our carbon-based energy addiction, their interests lie in expanding the market for their product, and like GSK, if necessary, by misleading the public and confining the debate to what they call “the real world”.
      Question is, which is the “real world?” Is it Neil Young's or David Collyer's? In fact, David Collyer's portraying Young as ignorant of the facts is—at best—the pot calling the kettle black; I would venture to guess that David Collyer's knowledge of environmental and biological sciences is as deficient as Neil Young's knowledge of fracking.
      Hence, the strident, angry arguing of the deaf.
      You will all draw your own conclusions, of course, but the elephant I ride on is holding onto the tail of Neil Young's elephant. I believe the earth should be seen as if from outer space, a small, fragile and vulnerable planet which is nevertheless the source and sustainer of all the life that exists in the universe—as far as we know. If life is important, then its wellspring ought to be tended and nourished.
      It's this to which the the corporate mind is wilfully blind.
      One more thing needs to be said, among many that could be said. An aspect of Collyer's argument was that the very public decrying the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is addicted to their product, uses their product on a daily basis and therefore their criticism of the oil sands projects is hypocritical. On its surface, this seems a logical and fair argument; but let's think for a moment. That would also make me a hypocrite for criticizing GSK because I was, after all, a consumer of their product. That's nonsense unless I used the paroxetine with the full knowledge of possible consequences, which the company and purveyors of pharmaceuticals withheld from me.
      There are numerous ways in which the corporate world and corporate government can manipulate consumers' choices: Saskatchewan winters are cold, I need to heat my house to live, I use natural gas to do that because the means to heat with solar panels and wind generators or hydro-generated power does not exist where I live, and I haven't got the investment means to bring their existence about; it's the corporate world and corporate government that manage where investment dollars go.
      Meanwhile if you catch me slamming doors, screaming curses at the sky and/or withdrawing from this world, you may assume that my tapering-down project is not going well.

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