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Human Beings are Turning Into Pharmaceutical Beings

Americans have become so accustomed to taking medications for any and every ailment that it is quickly becoming a part of our culture, and, as described in this quite interesting New York Times essay that is surely a sign of the times, this is a social change on the same order as the advent of computers, but one that is taking place inside the human body. More people shift to the pill-taking life every year, to the delight of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Indeed, drug sales suggest how willing people are to pursue better living through chemistry.

To look at it in another way, Americans take so many drugs that some researchers are worried about the effects on the environment. What does it mean if the sewers run rich with Zoloft? Or to be more precise, what might happen to fish eggs if the rivers soak up waste water with discarded and excreted pharmaceuticals and personal care products, like shampoo? No one has the answer yet, but the idea that what runs through our collective bloodstream is a potential environmental hazard makes you look at your medicine cabinet in a different way.

New York Times April 6, 2004

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