A Question – Is It Possible The Pharmaceutical Industry May Be Contributing To The Mental Health Crisis?

In this post I am making no claims —
— all I am doing is asking questions and maybe get people to start a dialogue.  
I’m not even sure if they are the right questions, but I am asking them just the same. 

There is a rush, it can be argued justifiable, to blame the pharmaceutical industry for the current opioid crisis. Although, and if you look at the history of drug use in America, heroin is not a new drug and it is the first or only opioid that to be abused. Yet, in an effort to increase and maximize profits, it is being suggested that this new “Opioid Epidemic” should be laid directly at the feet of Big Pharma. Many states attorneys general are so confident of this, they are willing to wage war in court. 

Yet, if the same suggestion is made concerning the Mental Health Crisis — sideways glances, dirty looks, sneers and derisive comments about lack of understanding and compassion are a more expected response than, perhaps, recognizing there may be a valid point.


Let’s look at the current Mental Health crisis in this country, or maybe we should be asking what is the pharmaceutical industries role in it? Think about this — if there are no diseases to treat, there’s no money to be made. Drug companies make money, lots of money, not because of short-term use of drugs, but due to long-term management of diseases with drugs. In essence, creating a need over not months, not years, but decades. If applied to non-prescription, illegal drugs — do you know what that’s called?

How much time and effort have we spent preaching the dangerous of illegal drugs, only to prescribe other drugs as a way to effectively accomplish the same goal — escape?

Please understand, I am not saying mental illness is not real, nor am I saying there aren’t those who do and could benefit from medication. What I am asking — Is it possible that issues which were one time thought to be obstacles of daily living, are now inappropriately labeled as “illness?” Instead of using coping skills, is a drug which alters neurophysicology, especially in an undeveloped nervous system, really the only correct  answer?

•Is it time to look deeper?
•To explore the possibility that we may be doing something wrong?
•To delve deep, and see what the genuine motivation is to label and treat what may simply be variants of “standard” personality traits as mental health disorders?

On a television show, a character who is a scientist for a pharmaceutical company jokes, “We created and cured a disease all at the same time.” What makes humor funny, is an underlying scintilla of truth. Think something, who is responsible or has a role in the development of  diagnostic classifications and criteria?


The Merk Manual is one of the “bibles” for diagnosing health conditions. Look up and see who puts out this book, which almost all healthcare students, and providers, have used at one time or another. Look who “helps” put together the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. You may notice a commonality.

Why am I writing this post? Because, I wrote Tortured and Tormented to try and spark a conversation. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of responses from people who shared similar experiences to the main character. Some were medicated, others coped, all were impacted. What is interesting is that the older the person, the less likely prescription drugs were involved, of course then, but interestingly enough, now. They learned to cope, and continue to do so.

All of this makes me think back to when I was a kid watching & reading Peanuts television programs and  comic strips. Think about this, how many of those characters under today’s standards would be diagnosed with mental illness? (I can come with three, no make the four, for Charlie Brown alone) And how many would be on some type of psycho-pharmaceutical? These were characters conjured up by the mind of one person. You don’t think that the characters had a real life counterpart who acted as inspiration?

Charles Schutz was a talented, creative, successful well adjusted adult. Imagine if he had been prescribed one of these “medications” in his youth — What would have become of his creativity?

We, writers and other artists, call upon our pain to create. We put it front and center in our art — and then we deal with it, sometimes. Admittedly, many great artists can not handle the depth of their emotional turmoil and lose the battle. 

I don’t know about you, but, as long as I can still create, I would rather deal with my demons and fail, yes even if that means loss of my life, than have my gift stolen simply to be normal.

Trade my ability to write, for long-term suppression of that which makes me angry, sad, happy, moody, or brooding which I in-turn, turn into stories — never!

Give me the characteristics others deem “abnormal” any day.  I will not sacrifice my art for another’s normal. I was willing to give my life as an active duty member of the US Navy for collective freedom, you better dam well believe I would be willing to give it for my own. 

I write of the damaged and broken, because that is the norm. For each person who overcomes their demons, there are hundreds, if not thousands, who do not.

It is their stories I tell. 

“Who am I?”20190630_1305207795170130459536580.jpg

I am an independent, self-published teller of tales,
an author, as of yet, scarcely any renown.
However, as a storyteller, I know who I am,
and with that persona, I am both confident and comfortable. I invite you to visit my website,


and/or Amazon Author Pages

Joe Leonardi              Scono Sciuto

if you are so inclined please purchase a copy and leave a review.

Thank you,


Buy a Coffee for Short Story Scribe




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