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Life in the Fast Lane -


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Life in the Fast Lane -
Topic: Health and Wellness 5:34 am EDT, Aug 22, 2008

So the amphetamine-assisted, physician-abetted social adjustment of yore is back as a mass phenomenon. But it does not, at first glance, represent as severe a problem proportionally. There are fewer than 10 million medical and nonmedical amphetamine users today, whereas the population has increased from 200 million to 300 million since 1969. Amphetamine use is therefore less than two-thirds as prevalent as it was in 1969. But we might expand our purview beyond simple statistics to ask a broader sociological question: Has the medical demand that amphetamines once filled abated? Apparently not. Counting all the medicines used now for conditions that amphetamine once treated — depression, obesity, and "fatigue," or inadequate working attention — we can estimate that, proportional to population, each year roughly twice as many Americans now take a drug that would, in 1969, have very likely been an amphetamine.

That calculus suggests that if the amphetamine epidemic of the 1960s was symptomatic of a deep-rooted social disease — drug use to meet unwholesome expectations of incessant cheeriness, unnatural productivity, and extreme slimness, and to boost the postwar consumerist ethos that the sociologist David Riesman once called the "fun morality" — then America is now twice as sick. When Allen Ginsberg helped open the counterculture's own anti-amphetamine campaign in 1965 under the slogan "speed kills," he wasn't referring just to the drug that so many Americans relied on to keep up. He was also thinking of the demand that amphetamine satisfies. It might be time to think again about heeding his call.

Right. Or, maybe Amphetamine was being abused then as it was not well understood. Now that it is better understood, it is being used to help millions of people lead better lives. Methamphetamine and Benzedrine on the other hand were/are a scourge and aren't used in psychiatry. Different chemicals, different properties. Imagine that!

Clearly the author doesn't require treatment for any malady Amphetamine is used for, and has little sympathy for those of us that do.

This smacks of 'moral weakness' wrapped in pseudo-intellectual bullshit. That being said, I did enjoy the review of history.

Life in the Fast Lane -

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