All junkies | Madrid | THE COUNTRY

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“Look, ma’am, you go to a doctor, tell him you’re a drug addict and let him write you a prescription,” the pharmacist in the Plaza de la Virgen del Romero blurts out to a customer who enters her establishment desperately asking for Minilip: “O dexedrines! ! Or something like that! It’s just that my nerves are very bad! ”. The scene is starred by Carmen Maura and a real apothecary who was recruited by Pedro Almodóvar in the Concepción neighborhood (the role was going to be played by Rossy de Palma, but when she saw the real doctor she realized that no one would do it better than her) during the filming of What have I done to deserve this, a film that fictionalizes something real: in the early eighties there were a legion of housewives hooked on pills, so it was not just quinquis who entered the pharmacies very nervous.

I will never forget how the Optalidon tablets that they ended up withdrawing from the market shone on my grandmother’s bedside table and that I suppose she loved not because they were pink (which they were), but because they contained a mixture of amphetamines and barbiturates, principles assets that generate euphoria, a feeling that usually neutralizes sadness and uncomfortable questions. I wanted them to let me try them but the only thing I got from time to time was for them to dissolve a baby Aspirin in a teaspoon. It tasted like glory to me.

I read in a spectacular report by Patricia Gosálvez that since the beginning of the pandemic, twice as many psychoactive drugs have been prescribed in Spain. The data appeals to me because during confinement I went to bed many nights with a dose of alprazolam in my body. I share this naturally, since benzodiazepines still enjoy a good reputation among the general population. At that time, when the police cordoned off stations and we were trapped inside a city whose ice skating rink had been turned into a morgue (remember this happened?), The anxiolytic, after a draconian day of Working from home, I was sinking into an enormously liberating unconsciousness.

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However, when the confinement ended I realized that I had fallen too much in love with the well-being that those pressed powders in the form of dragees gave me, that my kingdom would have given for a prescription (to enter triumphantly with her in the most beautiful pharmacy in Madrid , Martínez Campos’) and I thought of the victims of the opioid crisis in the United States, who became hooked on a substance that made them feel great and that on top of it offered them total confidence, as they had been recommended by the doctors.

According to the CIS (the same report has it), three times as many psychoactive drugs prescribed since the pandemic began have gone to people who identify themselves as “lower class”: they are those who cannot afford a therapist who will point out the causes of your pain but you can get a pill to ease it. They are the ones who do not have time to cry or to stop working (and if they do, it is because they are unemployed, a personal situation that goes hand in hand with anxiety).

Carmen Maura explains it perfectly when her pharmacist in the Concepción neighborhood refuses to sell her Minilip because ‘it is against the rules’: “And what rules are there when you have to work all day and you can’t handle your soul?” . Let’s talk about our mental health but please, immediately afterwards, let’s also talk very seriously about the direction of our working life.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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