We live in a time of incredible advances in chemistry and medicine. However, we face the problem of chemical and medical side effects from modern drugs and food additives. Therefore, a medication designed to address one problem will often create other unexpected issues. I can give personal testimony to that.
I have blood pressure issues that are hereditary and a product of my age. For two years, doctors tried various medications to lower my blood pressure, but nothing worked. Finally, a doctor found a new drug that does work. My hypertension is under control, and I am thankful for that. This new drug, in conjunction with some previous medications, together with my new regime of exercise and eating habits, has greatly reduced my risk for a stroke.
The problem with this new medication is that it has side effects that were unknown when I started taking it. It affects my vision, balance, breathing, and sleep. When I complained to my doctor, who likes to be a comedian, he said, “Well do you want to die of a stroke or the side effects?”
We also have chemical and medical side effects from food additives and drinks. People in Christ’s day used fermented grape juice because the water was unsafe to drink. The “wine” available then had a very low percentage of alcohol, around 4%. Today, distillation processes allow the alcohol percentage to be vastly higher, and alcohol poisoning is a significant issue. Recently in Missouri, 19-year-old Daniel Santulli suffered severe brain damage after being forced to drink alcohol as part of hazing during a pledge reveal party for the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. When I was a fraternity pledge at Indiana University, my fellow pledges were forced to drink alcohol until they could no longer walk. Then they were then driven to a remote country road and dropped off.
Now the college drug of choice is marijuana. Modern marijuana has levels of THC (the drug responsible for psychoactive effects) 15% higher than in the 1970s. British studies show that these high THC levels increase the probability of addiction. We are now seeing fatal accidents caused by marijuana, as Newsweek reports that car accident rates have risen in states after legalizing marijuana sales. Science has not adequately studied the long-term side effects of marijuana.
In addition to drugs, people use food additives and supplements without scientific studies exploring their long-term side effects. God has given us plants and substances such as alcohol that we can use to alleviate human suffering. However, chemical and medical side effects are likely to increase suffering when we use them as untested recreational drugs or food additives.
— John N. Clayton © 2022