Friday, March 26, 2010

Jagged Little Pill

One of my favourite blogs posted a link today to a great jewelry company called Cast of Vices. The items inspired by pharmaceutical products particularly caught my eye, including this one:

The Cast of Vices website states the following: "Born out of a desire to create artifacts out of our vices, Cast of Vices celebrates the inherent design asthetic of these substances while casting a critical eye on pop culture and our obsession with self-medication and addiction."

I was immediately struck with the fascinating uniqueness of their pieces, and my interest was piqued even further after reading this mission statement. Obviously, since I work for a retail pharmacy company and there is a history of pharmaceuticals in my family (as in employment, not injestion; my mother works in clinical research and my grandfather, her father, was a pharmacist way back when), I find anything related to this field interesting on some level. I can relate to it. Also, I'm attracted to things I've never seen before, everyday things reimagined in new and interesting ways; ways that push the envelope or the level of the status quo a little bit.

Both parts of the statement above speak to me in different ways: for one, I had never thought before about the "inherent design asthetic" of pharmaceutical products, but once I read that statement and thought about it, I realized how true it is! Picture a pill - just your average capsule or tablet - and you will realize how pleasing to the eye the shape is; they are smooth, geometric, sometimes have graphic design on top of them or come in bright, vibrant colours; they come in every shape and size you could think of. This could be pushing it a little, but in a way they are like mini pieces of art. And considering your average pharmacy fills hundreds of prescriptions a day, it's mind-boggling how many of them are out there at any given time, and in the possession of many different types of people. Not just mini art pieces, but mini art pieces for the masses!

This statement struck me on another level with the statement referring to "our obsession with self-medication and addiction". This is a harsh-but-true statement about society today. Since, essentially, I work for pharmacists, you would think that I would be all for giving medications, and many of them, to everyone all the time but alas it's the opposite. Obviously I'm not AGAINST medications - sometimes they are needed, and some of them have resulted in great strides in the management and control of certain disorders and sicknesses; they have made millions of people feel better and lead more productive lives, and continue to every day. Trust me, I have gladly and thankfully consumed my share of medications when really sick or in pain! However, I do feel that our tendency in dealing with medical problems is to "throw a pill at it", i.e. write a prescription, or take a medication of some kind over-the-counter as a knee-jerk reaction, sometimes without really thinking about whether or not it's the best way to go.

Nowadays, there is such a huge industry built up around medications it is almost impossible to point a finger of blame in any one direction - each and every one of us perpetuates it in a way. Now, if I were to place pharmacists on the "blame scale" for this issue, I would honestly place them somewhere near the bottom, which I obviously realize is biased since I work with them, but the fact is I do have first-hand knowledge of the work they do every day to assist patients with their medications. Not that other medical professionals don't help patients as much, but lets be honest here, pharmacists are merely filling the scripts given to them/the patient by doctors. Something to think about.

Anyway, regardless of whose at fault, it's a problem that won't be going away anytime soon because too many are making too much money from it, which is rather sad.

I could go on and on about this issue, including the (known, yet overlooked) corruptive activities that go on behind closed doors between pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals, but I don't want to go off on a rant from atop my high horse. I merely thought it was interesting that a company like Cast of Vices is addressing such an important and timely issue in society in their own unique (and slightly subversive) way. All I will say is that when I get sick, unless I absolutely need a pill to get better, I prefer to not take one. In most cases of illness (obviously of the non-chronic and/or serious variety), rest and fluids, and perhaps a few doses of an anti-imflammatory such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, will make you as good as new in no time. Sure, throwing a narcotic at it might help too, but that may not necessarily be the best solution.

My grandmother takes a whole load of pills, and most of them she has no idea what they are or what they are for. She takes them because she was told to. How many of your medications do YOU really need?

Aside from this bitter diatribe, I totally want to buy this bracelet! It would certainly be a hit in my office, I imagine! (or Mother's Day??)


Carly Findlay said...

Hey there lovely! I've left you a little award on my bloggy. 10 things that make you happy.

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