Get Your Drugs Here

I remember the first time I walked into an American drug store (a Duane Reade in Herald Square). My mind was blown. It was like a miniature super store… or a corner store on steroids. Everything you could possibly need displayed neatly in shiny aisles – food, cleaning products, gift cards, beauty stuff…and of course, meds. Where I come from, we had grocery stores for food, beauty stores for lipstick, and pharmacies for meds. The one thing that completely blew my mind was how HUGE the “DRUGS” sign was. I was standing on the escalator, staring at the blinking, neon, red white & blue sign that read “GET YOUR DRUGS HERE” with 5 arrows pointing downwards. My jaw dropped. Was all that flashiness really necessary? It might as well have said, “Welcome to America.”

It’s the change of the season. It’s sad, really, because I barely got to enjoy fall. Spring and fall barely exist in this city. Every time there is a drastic change in climate, I get sick. I’m in the process of moving, so I couldn’t locate my meds amongst the boxes. I couldn’t even remember if I have any meds left that isn’t Nyquil (I realized that it’s a devil drug that gives me nightmares and turns me into a zombie the next morning). This means one thing… the dreaded trip to the drug store. I hate going to the drug store to buy meds. I feel like every time I do, I spend a good solid half an hour staring at the aisle-ful of meds, wondering which one I should get.

I feel like every single fucking box of OTC cold medicine I pick up, it’s either missing a symptom I have or has one too many. So I’m standing there, trying to either compensate or overdrug myself for a symptom I don’t have. And honestly, why does there have to be so many choices? I understand the whole American view of “having too many choices is better than having too little,” even though they’re all basically the same (i.e. the soda aisle – 98% equivalent ingredients – high fructose corn syrup + flavoring). Why, oh why, does one company need to make 5 different kinds of pills for one drug? Same ingredients, different format. Tablets? Cherry flavored? Gel capsules? Easy-to-swallow? Daytime? Nighttime? Not to mention syrups, powders, nasal shots, balms, blah fucking blah. Each company makes over 5 different kinds, and there are well over 5 companies that make the same thing. THEN, on top of that, the drug store you’re at makes copies of those drugs and sells them for cheaper (“compare ingredients with Tylenol!”)

So many minutes, so many hours… wasted. From staring at damn aisles full of drugs that don’t even address my problems. I’m used to natural meds that address the underlying causes of symptoms, not synthetic meds that temporarily relieve symptoms. All I’m saying is, well… it’s stupid. And I’m tired of it.

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About Han J.

Located in NYC.

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