In order to understand the drawbacks of using drugs to control our bodies and minds, it is important to point out why Pill Poppers believes that drugs can be helpful. One of the primary points of emphasis in the film centers around the idea that drugs can serve purposes beyond their intended ones; the range of effects that drugs can have are relatively unknown until they are tested on a large scale. Because of this, some drugs can have effects that boost parts of our bodies or minds in ways that make users overwhelmingly more healthy, productive or, in some cases, intelligent. The film uses the example of Ritalin, an ADHD medication that can spur cognitive function in healthy people without ADHD who use it. Ritalin allows healthy users to boost their cognitive abilities, allowing them to study longer and more efficient, and ultimately impacting their lives in a positive way.
The drawbacks of depending on drugs for enhanced mental or physical benefits stems from the inherent uncertainty that exists with all drugs. Originally, Ritalin was not meant to boost cognitive function in healthy users, and the discovery of this effect was entirely accidental. While the discovery of some positive side effects from drugs can be encouraging, this also leaves open the possibility for unexpected negative side effects. Extended use or dependency on drugs can lead to a fundamentally different lifestyle for users, and it can also impact communities, and the world at large, in an undeniable manner. If drugs like Ritalin were openly accepted as a cognitive booster, users of the drug could gain an unfair advantage over non-users, which would spur non-users to begin taking it in order to catch up. This would fuel a social dependency on drugs that would alter the way that people live their lives permanently.
Personally, one of the most important points that Pill Poppers was able to emphasize was the undeniable fascination that common, everyday people have with drugs and drug culture. Wherever there are physical or mental ailments, people are entirely ready and willing to accept help in the form of drugs, regardless of the possible adverse effects they may have. The film was able to interview several people who were passively dependent on drugs, many of whom took anywhere from five to fifteen different medications everyday simply to function normally. In my opinion, the willingness of people to knowingly sacrifice their potential long-term health, and their daily ability to function normally, is a sign of a fundamental issue that exists in American culture. Today, it would appear that drugs have transcended beyond their original purpose as they have become increasingly ingrained within the American fabric.
It is worth noting that, originally, all pharmaceuticals and drugs were created with the intention of curing or alleviating issues relating to a particular human ailment. At the most fundamental level, drugs are intended to help people live better lives by removing the physical or mental barriers that stop this from being possible. Living a better life, however, has now evolved to mean boosting one’s mental or physical abilities beyond what is normal, and this has led to issues with unnecessary prescriptions, failed drug development and more. Increasingly, people are turning to drugs to solve problems that they have worked to create, and which were not always considered medical problems before drugs existed to treat them. To counteract this dependency on drugs in the U.S, I believe that finding a viable alternative to drug use must begin with a collective abandonment of boosting abilities beyond what is normal. For issues like erectile dysfunction, which has been treated with a drug originally intended to cure angina, I believe that people should look for natural remedies that can have similar effects as drugs. Natural and home remedies existed for decades before established medicine did, and their use today would likely alleviate some of the drug dependency in the U.S.