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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/467

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463
DRUG ABUSES

the right to make free choice of the treatment for his bodily ailments. Yet the practise of self-medication is one of the most deplorable relics of the dark ages when the treatment of bodily ailments was confused with matters of conscience.

Consider for a moment the gravity of a peril for which it is difficult to see a remedy. These aggregations of capital must sell to maintain themselves. If the market is oversupplied they must make another market. If physicians do not wish to use such preparations as they furnish, they must be induced to do so, their hands must be forced. If the manufacturer sells directly to the public, via the druggist, every device must be employed to increase retailing to the consumer. If a man has no ailment he must be taught to think he has one. If he has recovered from an ailment he must forsooth thereupon be made fat or thin. Women are educated to believe they require a host of remedial articles, in reality quite supererogatory. Babies who would thrive best by instinctive maternal teachings are made to appear in need of special foods, soothing agents, etc. In short, healthy folk are taught to become hypochondriacs. All this merely to furnish a brisk market when selling has grown languid.

One closing thought we commend to all, especially to clergymen and religious folk. Can anything be more venal, more opposed to the fundamental principles of ethics, more an earning of money by encouraging misconceptions of our physical and mental feebleness, than many of the ordinary advertisements in the public press of remedies, of drugs, or other semi-medical materials, waters, instruments, etc.? If these bold emphatic advertising statements contain some elements of truth they are too often grossly overstated. The sale of 'get well quick' remedies for venereal diseases causes a confidence unwarranted. Thus thousands of innocent women are infected, rendered invalids for life.

There is only one safe rule when in trouble. Seek expert, honest, reputable counsel and be guided by it. This is of paramount importance when the body is disordered because then also is the mind, the judgment, likewise impaired.