The next Survival Question in our series:
How much essential medication for myself and other family members do I have on hand and how long would they (sic) last if there was no way to get refills or if there was a medical emergency?
This is an interesting question on multiple levels. It depends a lot on individual circumstance, after all: Do you or a family member have a medical condition which requires medication? What scenario are you prepping for (a multi-day power outage, or full-on Mad Max Armageddon)? What, exactly, is an “essential” medication?
I’ll begin my commentary with some opinion. I think that we, as a society, are vastly overmedicated. I also think that there are those for whom a little medication is (or would be) highly beneficial. Thirdly, there’s my disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one; if your doctor has you taking a given medication for whatever reason, follow his instructions.
If you or someone in your group has a medical condition requiring medication, and not taking the medication would be life-threatening, you may want to think about stocking up. That’s difficult to do with many meds, as they may require refrigeration, or otherwise have a short shelf life; here, as with so many other areas, research is required. Is there a longer-lasting equivalent? Is there a natural source? If you’re only worried about a brief(-ish) power outage, then perhaps it’s not such a problem. In a “society-killer” event, it’s much more so. Then there’s the slippery slope of what to do with that person, if their medication can’t be stored, and you can’t find more; do you eject them from the group? Not let them join in the first place? Let them in, and somehow deal with the aftermath of doing without the medication? Things can get very uncomfortable very quickly–and not just for the person with the medical condition…
What if the condition in question would not be life-threatening without medication (I’m looking at you, ADHD America)? Again, can the medication be stored long-term? How much of a burden on the rest of the group will that person become, without medication (there can be a few slippery slopes here, as well)? Do you have plans for doing without the medication? For what to do with said person?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a group without such medical conditions, what then counts as “essential”? Allergy medication? Aspirin? How much really do you need? Where can you get more, or something to replace it?
One of the issues with this topic is that it can quickly turn–well, let’s say “nasty,” for lack of a better term. I know some “ultra-Darwinist” folks, who would as soon let folks die off if they can’t get their meds. I know folks whose “extreme event” plans include some potentially less than legal acts–although it society collapses, that becomes something of a philosophical exercise. With a range of opinions running this gamut (and in a few other directions, as well), the easy way out for me is to simply advise everyone to come to their own conclusions, figuring out what they need based on their individual circumstances, and leave it at that.
I don’t have any hard and fast answers here. My immediate family is fortunate in that none of us require medication, but my extended family and some who are close to us do. This really is one where each individual group’s calculus is going to come up with a different answer; my best recommendation is to do your best to find your answer.