I keep hearing people say that we need to learn the lesson from Michael Jackson’s death! So what lesson is that? I believe the lesson is that the medical profession worldwide need to be held accountable for the drugs they prescribe – firstly being the right one’s for the right reasons, and secondly for the subsequent abuse of them by their patients. Just as a pub will be fined or shut down if something tragic happens to a patron who they over sell alcohol to. They are accountable to notice there is a problem, and nip it in the bud!
Two years ago I had to admit my mother into rehab after I realised she had become addicted to stilnox over a seven year period! Now ask any doctor or chemist and they will tell you that they’re not addictive, but what I know for certain that it was my mother who had to spend a Christmas propped up in a rehabilitation centre for over a month because instead of celebrate that year, I was visiting her in a place no one ever wants to see someone they love, least of all at Christmas! I cried every time I left.
Why did she end up on them? She was prescribed them to sleep during the time my nana, her mother was dying in hospital which went on for weeks. Understandably she was unable to sleep, and full of sadness and anxiety. Why did she continue to take them? I think because, as many other people out there, she had some pain and sadness that had built up over the years, and then became more intense after she saw her take mum her final breath! It’s a vicious circle because anxiety creates lack of sleep, and lack of sleep makes the pain harder to deal with.
Over the course of the seven year period I watched her turn into someone I didn’t know anymore, let alone one that felt like a mum. She sadly lost a lot of dignity during this time, and wouldn’t remember a lot of what she’d done. Rather than cringe with embarrassment and admit to a problem she’d laugh it off and joke that her friends called her eccentric! I hate to be blunt but there’s a difference between junkie and eccentric!
I refused to turn a blind eye to her behaviour, and I refused to let her destroy her life! I demanded I go to doctor’s appointments with her because I knew she was lying to me about how often she was getting her pills and quite frankly, wanted to know if the doctors she was seeing were aware or had bothered to realize that they were dealing with what was a manipulative addict! I remember seeing mum walk into her chemist one day so I waited till she left and headed in to ask the chemist a few questions! “Was a lady called Beverley Harper just in here?” The man nodded. “So tell me, would you say that stilnox is addictive?” “No, it’s not!” he said. “So how do you explain my mother coming in here every couple of weeks for nearly seven years and needing hundreds of these ‘non addictive’ pills?” “I have no idea madam!” he said sheepishly. Trying not to lose it and cry I said “I hope the drug company is paying you enough to make you sleep at night, and still be able to look me in the eye and tell me this disgusting drug isn’t addictive! I’ve nearly lost my mum! Have a good day!”
Through Michael’s death I hope the lesson we take is that people in pain will abuse themselves further because subconsciously they don’t like or care about themselves anymore. Simply looking down on a person for taking so many drugs is not enough, nor really makes sense. These people are not of sound mind anymore. They are sick and the people that have the power to treat them, need to treat them with a lot more care!