It’s 4/20, but that fact alone won’t influence today’s post. I don’t smoke marijuana — never have and never will. I don’t get lost in the debate over whether it should be legal or whether it’s worse than alcohol or whether it should be used for medicinal purposes. I’m just disinterested. A subsconscientious objector, if they were such a thing.
Basically, I’m more likely to join a Fantasy Dog Show league.
Yesterday, I hinted at the fact I’m suffering allergies. I’ve never experienced seasonal allergies before. At times in the past month, I thought I had pink eye or eye strain. Turns out, I, like so many during their first spring in Portland, was suffering from the early pollen onslaught thanks to the heavy foliage and regional growth of grass seed.
Like any sensible person with health insurance, I went to see my doctor. I told him my only symptoms were red, dry, itchy eyes. I admitted my concern was purely cosmetic; I hate wearing my glasses, but more than that, I hate appearing stoned. I sought a prescription that would (in order of relevance) eliminate any assumption I’m a stoner and alleviate my symptoms.
So, my doctor wrote me a prescription and I was merrily on my way. I dropped my prescription for 60 Allegra-D pills at a nearby Rite Aid. I returned a few hours later to find the prescription cost $115 (!!!) even with my insurance plan. Imagine me, $10 bill in hand, looking at this ridiculous price for pills. How much is my upstanding reputation really worth?
I didn’t get the pills. I sheepishly declined the prescription and settled for some heavy duty over-the-counter eyedrops. I’m happy to report they make me look very unhigh.
I know a major cry that motivated the passing of healthcare reform was the astronomical rise in prescription drug costs. I’m insured, and I have pretty decent coverage (or so I thought — so when a month’s worth of allergy pills cost $115, my heart breaks for those without coverage who have real health concerns. Yeah, allergies suck and they feel intolerable, but I can get by without treating them. In that way, I’m lucky.
Marijuana will get attention from around the world today, and more than likely, you’ll hear an argument or debate about its medicinal value. (Take Oregon, which already has the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.) I wish the same attention was given to prescription drug costs, if for only one day. Pick a day, any day. Celebrate it however you like. I might start by reading stories of those who had to choose between feeding their family or paying for prescriptions.
Don’t pretend to be the good samaritan, humanitarian, caretaker, marijuana advocate, and act like your interests are rooted in those who suffer when chances are, the way prescription costs have skyrocketed, most people couldn’t afford legalized medical marijuana, anyway.