Day 442: The Pharmacist

I watched a Netflix documentary called The Pharmacist. It is about a man called Dan Schneider that decides to become a pharmacist to support his wife and family. He lives a quiet and heavenly life together with his wife and two children, one son and one daughter. Everything is perfect, until one day, his son is murdered in a drug deal. Dan is utterly destroyed and is thrown into a abyss of pain, confusion, sadness, hurt and anger. And to deal with this pain, he decides to catch his son’s killer. Eventually he does – however he cannot rest. Because of the way his son died his eyes turn to the medical industry and a new drug called OxyContin, which is a pain medication based on opiates, and hence, highly addictive and dangerous in larger doses.

He begins to notice a irregular pattern in the prescription of OxyContin. Young people between 20 to 25 years start coming into his shop with prescriptions written by a certain doctor called Clegget. And what stands out is that they do not seem to be in that much pain and the doses they are prescribed are unusually high. Dan becomes suspicious and starts his investigation and uncovers a can of worms. He discovers that dr. Clegget runs a pillmill, and that is basically a drug dealer that presents itself as a pain clinic.

Soon the consequences starts to emerge in Dan’s community. Young people die in overdoses in large numbers and Dan intensifies his investigations and contacts governmental agencies in order to put dr. Clegget out of business. In the end, he manages to shut down dr. Cleggets practice, and he continues his work by sharing himself and his experiences of drugs in schools.

Dan makes a definitive difference in his society. From being a middle class dad minding his own business, he is transformed by this extremely painful event, to become a force of good. He is driven by empathy as he does not want anyone else to experience what he went through. In all the young addicts he sees his son and he pushes himself with patience and remarkable perseverance. He practically lives the point of oneness and equality as he extends the care and love he experienced for his son to the rest of his world. I found that remarkable and inspiring.

What I could see is that if all of us would do this in our worlds, in our professions, in our communities, if we each would take on a point that we want to change, that we see could be better, and persevere, we would have a different world. It is interesting that Dan needs to experience a great trauma in order to realize his responsibility towards his community and that his world is not a lone island – it is part of the whole.

Dan moves beyond a factor that tends to limit us; the trust and hope we put in our governments. He is not satisfied with contacting the government. He creates his own investigation, draws his own conclusions, and form his own movement. And that is really amazing. And what is more. He does this without any particular funding but his own average, middle class salary. If we take a look at these apparently great philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, what do they do but give a small portion of their money to projects and hope that this will solve all problems? That way they can ease their conscious and keep the rest of the money to themselves. Dan Schneider he got his hands dirty. He moved with passion and did whatever it took to find a way forward – and that is the mentality we need. Rich philanthropists might have a lot of money, but that does not matter when there is no real care and love for humanity.

Thus – I learned a lot from this documentary and from Dan Schneider – what he did was fantastic. I will practice walking with his stamina and determination and seeing myself as part of the whole instead of a isolated individual in my own bubble.


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