Australia’s Drug Habit

It seems we’re becoming a nation of druggies. If there’s a pill to fix what’s ailing us we’ll gulp it down and then we’ll reach for the pill that helps us overcome the effects of the first pill.

Modern medicine has come a long way over the last several decades but has our attempt to fight disease become a lazy way to maintain our unhealthy lifestyles? Are we too quick to reach for the latest wonder drug and not nearly as keen to start treating our bodies with a little more respect?

AUSTRALIA has a pill-popping obsession, taking more than 40 million pills per day – about two pills a day for every man, woman and child.

Our drug habit is costing us $14.2 billion a year – $6.5 billion of that directly out of our own pockets – and raising questions about whether we’re relying on pills rather than changing lifestyle to maintain health. –

While the figures are talking about Australia’s obsession with the quick fix, I’m sure that the statistics would stack up in a similar way in many countries around the world.

I’m glad that there continues to be advances in medical science and that conditions which had no way of being managed in the past are now considered minor health issues. I’m very much in favour of using appropriate medicines to improve quality of life for many people but I wonder if we’re still too eager to reach for a blister pack rather than controlling some of the lifestyle issues that created our conditions in the first place.

It’s a concern that out of the current top ten prescription medications taken by Australians, three are cholesterol medications and three are blood pressure medications. While I’m sure there are many people with cholesterol or blood pressure issues that can only be helped with a pill, I’m sure that there are many thousands on such medications who could greatly reduce their dependence on drugs by living a healthier life.

I’m heavier than I should be and I don’t always eat the right foods so I know I could be doing more to stay healthy but I’m concerned that many people today are relying on pills and potions to allow them to live badly. I wonder what doctors and researchers could be doing with their time if each one of us took responsibility in maintaining our own bodies as much as possible. I wonder what serious health issues, diseases and conditions they would be able to conquer if they didn’t have to spend so much time, effort and money simply trying to manage our bad lifestyle choices.

What will it take for us to change our own attitudes towards health? I’m sure that someone’s working on a pill for it right now.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I agree we should be responsible and make wise lifestyle choices with regard to our health by watching our diet, exercise, alcohol,tobacco decisions. Sometimes however no matter what one does to reduce their weight, or hypertension taking some form of medication is a form of insurance for preventing stroke or heart attach etc. So for many such as myself it’s a case of keeping an eye on diet, exercising sensibly, drinking in moderation (that can be a challenge) monitoring the BP and weight and taking the least amount of prescribed medication. Thanks I enjoy reading your post.

    • Thanks George. I certainly agree with you.

      I’m so glad that we have made advances in medicine that help us manage our lifestyles. I just wish there were more people like you who let the medicine do its part and then take responsibility for their own part in the process.

      When medicine is used in conjunction with adjustments in lifestyle it gives us the best shot at a healthier life.

      I wish you all the best as you continue to strive for the best balance.

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