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Overselling Overmedication: The panic over pill-popping may be wrong

By The Editors

“People have been unofficially drugging themselves for as long as they’ve had the capability to do so. They smoked cigarettes to boost their concentration. They drank cocktails with lunch and dinner — and more — to deal with anxiety and despair. Prior to the modern era of F.D.A.-regulated prescribing practices, they slugged down untold quantities of tonics and bromides. All of which suggests that what social critics now identify as the signature event of our time (the urge to manage psychic pain through substance use) may, in fact, almost always have been a facet of the human condition. It may just be that we’re better at it than ever before – with cleaner, safer, less addictive and debilitating tools at our disposal.”

Posted 2/18/08 at 2:18 PM