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Prescription Drugs

In Karate-No! Program and Drugs -- Medications, I wrote about some of my thoughts about drug and alcohol abuse, particularly how these should be avoided by Karate students.

In the second post, I tried to clarify, for younger readers, that when I write about drug abuse, I mean illegal drugs. I did not want children to think that they should avoid the medicines that are prescribed by their doctors.

I received an email from a reader urging me to further clarify my views (which I am very happy to do). I appreciate the input because it is important to be clear on this very important subject.

While it is true that doctors prescribe many useful medications for us, we must be very careful to follow their instructions very carefully. We must take the medications when, how, and how often the doctor tells us.

Also, it is extremely important that we only take our own medications. We should not take other people's medications. Other people's medication might be good for them (because of their illness or condition), but could harm us. For example, if your mother became ill and her doctor gave her a certain medication, you should not take that medication if you also become ill. It is possible that you have a different illness. In addition, your mother's medication was prescribed for her. It may be too strong for a child or may even be dangerous.

So, you should be careful to only take your own medication -- and you should not let other people take your medications either. The only person who should be giving medications to anyone is a licensed physician.

When we think of drugs, we usually think about the pills the doctor gives us. But other things can affect us. Alcohol is a good example. Drinking alcohol is like taking a drug. Smoking is also like taking a drug. Smoking a cigarette puts chemicals into your body. Even too much sugar can harm your body. It is important to eat and drink healthy foods.

There is also another kind of drug -- over the counter drugs. You can go to the drugstore and buy all sorts of drugs. It is easy, for example, to buy drugs to help you lose weight or even to gain weight. Just because a drug can be purchased does not mean that it is safe and will not harm you. Even legal drugs can cause problems.

And over the counter drugs (the kind you buy at the drugstore) can interact with the medications that our doctors give us. That is why it is very important to let you doctor know what kinds of drugs you are taking (even the ones you buy at the drugstore).

My own practice is to avoid all drugs unless they are really necessary. I do take two medications for my allergies. That is it.

At one time, I was prescribed medications for high choloesterol. I took them for a couple of months, but then decided that I really did not want to. I asked my doctor if there was any other way to deal with my high cholesterol. He said that through diet and exercise I could lower my bad cholesterol and raise my good cholesterol. So I got to work. I watched my diet and trained harder. As a result, I got in better shape and no longer had to take the cholesterol medications.

So, please avoid illegal drugs. Only take the medications that the doctor prescribes for you (and follow his instructions carefully). Do not take other people's medications and do not let other people take your medications. Be careful with the drugs that you can buy at the drugstore. Even legal drugs can cause problems. Ask you doctor (and parents) about this. Finally, even if you have to take drugs (because your doctor has prescribed them for you), ask your doctor if there are other good ways to deal with your medical problem. If it is possible to be healthy and avoid taking any drugs at all, that is the best.

Though Karate training, we can improve our health. But physical training is not enough. We must also make healthy choices in our lives.


Charles C. Goodin