Our aversion to chemicals is a harmful distraction

Mark Harrop

Topics Politics

Paula Baillie-Hamilton barks up the wrong tree. I must ask where the time is found to root around for problems.

A most simple measure of our success is that we are able to measure illness to a finer degree (as with our ability to measure chemical levels in ever smaller quantities) and employ doctors to cure them. Broadly speaking the world’s populations are living longer and more prosperous lives (even in what was once known as the Third World) and this because of our ability to develop the world to suit us.

Dr Baillie-Hamilton – j’accuse – of time-wasting and to some extent panicking. In this case I would recommend you calm your nerves in which ever way suits you best and have a reappraisal. You are merely succumbing to the prevailing climate of doom but that is not your fault and I’m not a doctor.

As John Travolta once said ‘I’ve got chiiiills, they’re multiplying . . .etc.’ but he was at least looking on the bright side. Consider that we do get chills; what was once known as ‘ a cold’ can now be broken down into different categories, analysed and cured. We should actually take good care of ourselves as well but everything we do ‘hurts’ if we let it – football, dancing, work, reading a book, but all things in moderation, eh?

Dr Baillie-Hamilton lists a lot of diseases caused by chemicals – but chemicals are also the basis of many treatments, too. Some illnesses are alleged to be stress related or have a panic element – eczema, asthma, depression etc. Olive oil is reputedly good in breast-cancer treatment. gives online information regarding autism and also reminds me of what a nursing Instructor once told me – mental illness is extended normal behaviour – just some have it extended more than others.

As a one-time trainee psychiatric nurse, I came to the conclusion that quite a lot of the inmates/patients/clients didn’t really suffer from much other than ‘civilised’ society not making sense. Of course there are clinical cases but here there are human points of reference. For instance I recall a young woman who suffered from schizophrenia who was way off the beaten track many a time but even so one could have a conversation with her and get somewhere.

Our aversion to chemicals is a real problem; Acid dreams (Lee and Shlain) point out the early use of ‘psychedelic’ drugs and the promise they showed in clinical trials and as treatment for many an ailment/illness. This until they were deemed unsuitable by a crowd with a vested interest and some dodgy habits of their own.

The criminal aspect of ‘hard’ drugs (in recreational use) is very hypocritical given the uses to which the same authorities that ban them have put them to – Oliver North and the arms to Iran ‘scandal’, the CIA, for instance.

Because ‘drugs’ are illegal they come at a high price, have a ‘warped’ appeal and are subject to shady dealings. And for what? There are many people that take all manner of drugs to get them through their day, and these whether your common-or-garden Lemsip or something more ‘exotic’.

Many is the time I’ve worked with people that used so-called ‘dodgy’ drugs as an ‘aid’ to their work. Hey, and I have been known to have inhaled in the past; that neither stopped myself or others from doing a good job. Although just as I wouldn’t wish to work with someone who was ‘off their head’, neither would I wish to work with someone who was depressed to the point of not being up to doing the job.

Mark Harrop, UK

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Topics Politics


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