The ongoing debate of whether high-ranking government officials should be forced to undergo drug testing has just been blown wide open. Several members of Congress were just exposed for being on a litany of mind-altering medications which a pharmacist to Washington, D.C.’s top politicians just exposed after feeling guilty about some of the prescriptions he had been providing these officials for months. He feels that serious conditions these prescribed medications are to treat can and do have some particularly damning effects on the kinds of decisions these Congress members are entrusted to make.
Many lower-level federal employees are rightfully forced to undergo random drug testing for the obvious reason of being in an information-sensitive position. Since these people need to be of clear mind and judgment just to handle certain paperwork and processes, shouldn’t those who make the really big decisions have to be of more sound judgement than those beneath them? Apparently, power has superseded this safety check and allowed many members of Congress to medicate themselves to dangerous levels which has now caused some pretty serious problems that the pharmacist to the politicians is feeling bad about.
Mike Kim is the owner and pharmacist of the pharmacy used by many of D.C.’s most famous politicians and spoke to STAT News’ Erin Mershon about an alarming trend he’s seen lately. Not only has he been prescribing members of Congress with Alzheimer’s medication, but he’s also been providing treatments for other calamities as well, none of which people in this immense position of power should probably be suffering from.
STAT News reports:
Mike Kim, the reserved pharmacist-turned-owner of the pharmacy, said he has gotten used to knowing the most sensitive details about some of the most famous people in Washington.
“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,” Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”
Kim’s tiny pharmacy — which, at its busiest, sends as many as 100 prescriptions to members in a day — is nestled among Capitol Hill’s stateliest row houses, less than four blocks from the Capitol building itself. Founded in 1867 and named for a previous owner, the pharmacy predates penicillin, the American health insurance system, and even the Lincoln Memorial.
This is no judgment on people who take medications, as the accessibility to treatment to improve life is a blessing of living in an age of modern medicine. This is a matter of recognizing your limitations and acknowledging a condition and not maintaining a powerful position just for control or any reason that could compromise performance and decision-making abilities. These are average expectations of people in lesser capacities of any industry, even outside of politics that affect the direction of our country. More importantly, this medication/medical condition situation brings the need for term limits to the forefront.
As many of our Senators and Congressman are slipping into old age, some of their medications should be called into question. If a person gets to an age where they are no longer able to safely operate a vehicle, family and friends come along side and say enough is enough.
When we elect our leaders we assume they are of sound mind and in good physical condition. No one is expecting an elected official to run a mile in 5:00 minutes flat, but when an individual’s doctor is having to prescribe medicine to make sure that you are able to function at a normal level mentally, then it’s probably time to take action.
There are multiple Senators and Congressmen who have been in office for over 30 years, many of these people are in there 70’s and 80’s and are needing some of the medications described earlier. Age and health should be a talking point for term limits, as clearly represented by Senator John McCain recently. While undergoing surgery and post-operative treatment for brain cancer, he made some controversial votes concerning Obamacare repeal and replace. He continues to suffer from brain cancer he has described as “very serious,” yet remains in office.