Claudewell S. Thomas, MD, MPH, DLFAPA, is an established psychiatrist currently retired and living in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. He received his medical degree in 1956 at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and specializes in social psychiatry, public health psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. Dr. Thomas was board... more
The November issue of National Geographic magazine, in an article written by Dan Buettner, amply illustrated, with photographs and commentary by Cory Richards, that Costa Rica, Denmark and Singapore are identified as the most joyful places on the planet. These authors employ interviews, simple surveys and interaction as their methodology and conclude that these countries give their occupants a sense of purpose securely attached to feeling secure (health and financial security), thus minimizing stress and allowing the inhabitants to enjoy living in the "now". Costa Rica escaped the tyranny of land barony that characterizes South and Central America and invested in health care and retirement pensions instead of an army. Singapore invested in health care, employment and investment opportunity and a military that resembles an ROTC opportunity structure. Despite its autocratic structure, the relative absence of uncertainty makes a great difference and quite possibly their murderous approach to drug sale and possession may have a positive effect in their system. Denmark, perennially among the happiest nations, has a health care single payer system, income subsidy, relative homogeneity in its population but an immigration policy that is relatively open, even though under pressure by the forced mass relocation that is taking place in the world. Narcotic abuse and/or opioid overuse for different reasons are not major problems in any of these countries.This illustrating that happiness is not dependent on drugs.
That National Geographic article points to Boulder, Colorado as the happiest place in the USA, well below the indices of the happiest countries but far above the rest of the U.S. Possibly the result of an environment conducive to exercise, vigorously guarded against overbuilding, scenery contamination by ads and high rise structures (apparently less successfully each year) and employment and home purchase and rental policies that discriminate against relocators. (not the ideal American Way)
Bank note analyses in 1994 revealed 3/4 of all paper currency in the USA to be contaminated by one or more illegal substances with cocaine leading the way. The banning of $1000 bills and $500 bills in this country was aimed at narco trade defacilitation but money; $20, $50 and $100 bills are essential to everyday marketing and can't be banned; needless to say the contamination continues in today's world with handling, snorting of drugs and currency sorting and assembling by banks, of notes being the means of propagation. Bank note or currency contamination is a worldwide problem and may have disease dissemination consequences as yet undetermined.
In the posts relating to anxiety/depression and gun violence it was indicated that those parts of the USA, most resembling Brexit supporting parts of the UK were prone to problems with addiction and in the male population, gun suicide, this last a major risk for white males over 50. This is the unemployment age and inability to envision a secure future with health and income up for grabs and a spurious 2nd amendment comprehension, murder and suicide following upon failure of metamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol increase in probability. Why does suicide prevail over murder? Self loathing is a ready answer.
The use of medical marijuana suggested in a prior post has now been demonstrated to be an effective way of reducing physician prescribed opioid dosage (AMA,Internal Medicine Research). Drug classification conflicts between the Federal government and the individual states are now more obviously important. Beyond the oversimplified view of marijuana as a gateway drug are issues of safe pain remediation, particularly in the elderly, and a vital source of income for individual states through taxation of marijuana. There is also the probability that the illegal marijuana trade will be sharply curtailed necessitating less scrutiny of NAFTA and fewer border patrol incidents.
So let the next counter-intuitive Alexander take the great step forward and sever this Gordian knot, thereby presenting us with a newer spate of problems to deal with.