You Can’t Legislate Away Stupidity

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Do you ever wonder what’s next? I do.

I have read reports that a significant number of emergency room visits are due to individuals taking over-the-counter medicines that contain acetaminophen and then also taking acetaminophen by itself. The overdoses were the cause of the emergency room visits and led to death in a number of cases.

In an effort to cut health care costs, will legislators decide that over-the-counter cold remedies and sleep aids and the like can no longer contain acetaminophen? I don’t necessarily think that it is a good idea to put a pain reliever in anything other than something intended to be taken to relieve pain, but that aside, you can’t legislate away stupidity. And I frequently wonder what choices and liberties we might lose in government’s attempts to do just that.

I’ve always felt that it is my responsibility to know what I am putting into my body in what amounts and what constitutes a safe dosage. And I’m not just talking about medications; it’s just as important with the food that I eat.

I learned early on that one quarter of the usual adult dosage of an antihistamine was all that I required and that I should never, ever eat squash. I also learned that the full, recommended adult dosage of an antihistamine would knock me right out … for hours. Decongestants in any dosage are a complete no-no.

My point is I don’t want government trying to tell me what and when and how much of something I can or should take or eat. And yet, that is the direction in which we seem to be headed. I’ll say it again, you can’t legislate away stupidity. No matter what you do, some idiot will find a way to use something in such a fashion as to make themselves sick or outright dead. I don’t think that the rest of us should have to suffer because of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have just as much compassion as the next person, maybe more, but the necessary information for making good decisions is printed right on the packages of these sorts of items. If someone wants to believe it must be safe to take different medicines in haphazard combinations simply because they are offered for sale, they are sorely mistaken. The crazy numbers of these items that are offered for sale are offered for one reason, and one reason only … to make money. Why anyone would put their health and safety in the hands of that often cited “they,” I will never understand. As in, these must be safe if they put them on the shelves.

I know that it might be nice if there were some way for us all to stay as children in our parents homes where our parents always make all the best and right decisions for us (yes, I know, there are homes in which this does not happen). But that is not the case. We grow up, we become self-sufficient and we get on with life. To expect or even desire that government take the place of our parents is naïve and, in my opinion, ridiculous and not at all a good idea.

I don’t know what they cover in health classes anymore. Or even if they have health classes these days. But in my day, they did not really cover nutrition, nutrition labels (well, okay, we didn’t have nutrition labels when I was really young) or how to read the labels on packages of over-the-counter drugs.

You can’t legislate away stupidity, but you can educate it away. A course on the safe use of over-the-counter drugs alone would be helpful. So, all you movers and shakers out there in government land take note. The key to cutting health care costs and making lives better in general is to have a better educated populace. End of lecture … or maybe that’s end of rant.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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