Pharmaceuticals vs. Street Drugs: Which is Better For You?

Think I’m kidding with that provocative title? Hardly.
The other day I got fed up with being sick for about 60% of the preceding eight weeks and went to a doctor’s office. I was seen by what’s known as a physician’s assistant. She prescribed two drugs: a decongestant, and an antibiotic. I bought the drugs, scanned the warnings about possible side effects, and dutifully started taking my drugs.
Imagine my consternation when I awoke in the middle of the night seized with something that must be similar to a panic attack. We’re talking serious jitters. I went and took another look at those side effects… “Mild dizziness, mild drowsiness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, dry mouth…” Ah, here we go: “Extreme nervousness, trouble sleeping.” Thank you, Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan/Decongestant Oral. Wait, what’s this? “If any of
these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor.” Hmmm. Otherwise, tough it out? Not wanting to be a pussy, I tried it again for a couple nights before I finally said fuck this, I’m better off without it. That Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan/Decongestant Oral is some bad shit.
When you buy street drugs you might well be buying a safer product and getting a better value than when you score from the pharmacist. Granted, that bag of cocaine from the corner spot contains a substance whose exact composition and origin are unknown. However, the dealer has a sincere market-based interest in your satisfaction. Can the same be said of Big Pharma? If they think the profits outweigh the risks of liability, they are capable of spinning their data and lobbying the FDA to approve their stuff even when they know it isn’t safe.
Does the drug dealer really care any more than AstraZeneca does about your health and well being? No. But the active ingredient in that bag, cocaine hydrochloride, has been the subject of countless scientific studies, many of them responsible. Moreover, cocaine has been and continues to be tested informally by an army of volunteers every day. Its effects, both good and bad, are pretty well understood. Anyone who can read and think can make an informed decision whether to buy and use that bag; you know less about the drugs your doc thinks you should take.
True, cocaine will not cure your ear infection, and indeed may make it worse. But that’s not what it’s intended for. It’s for mood elevation and temporary relief of fatigue. Side effects? Let’s see…. loss of appetite, nasal congestion, trouble sleeping, nervousness, prolonged use may produce dependency. Not much worse than Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan/Decongestant Oral, is it? And for the congestion you can always try… Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan/Decongestant Oral! (I got some right here. You interested?)
Then there’s price. We all know prescription drug prices are scandalous in this country. Street drug prices have been comparatively stable, obeying the economic laws of supply and demand — pure market dynamics undistorted by the sort of corruption we see from Big Pharma. That bag from the homies on the corner is a better deal than that bogus antibiotic prescription your doctor gave you for an ailment that was not bacterial.