Mother's Little Helper

09-24-2023Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

What a drag it is getting old
"Kids are different today, " I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

Mother’s Little Helper sung by Rolling Stones

I’m sure many of you remember the explosion of Valium that took place in the ‘70’s. It was a new blockbuster drug, help you manage your stress, much ‘safer’ than those older sedatives like Miltown. And it was passed out like candy. Many people, women especially got addicted to it. Valium was just another reformulation of the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Withdrawal from it is nasty and can take a very long time, causing lots of irritability, insomnia, and other annoying symptoms.

Before that were the ‘diet’ drugs. Basically methamphetamine, marketed to women to slim down and get back into that dress you wore before having three children. It sped you up, revved you up and help you to clean the house with ease. And for those who were really insightful, they could amp up on a diet pill get the chores done and then pop a Valium and come down, tune out and drop out. Who cared the kids were screaming, husband was in a bad mood, order a pizza and shut them all up. Or just mix the diet pill with a cocktail and get that exhilarating BANG! But the piper had to be paid. And getting off the diet pills required its own hellish detox. But we were told, they are ‘safe’.

The latest iteration of the marketing of chemically induced bliss is now with cannabis. After all it is “legal” now. Somehow legal is equated with therapeutic. And the biggest new consumers are those over 65yrs old! That would be most of you. I get it. That generation after all fell for the diet pills, the valium, and the guarantee that these wonder drugs are ‘safe’. And of course, you smoked a little weed at a Stones concert once and nothing bad happened, you didn’t go “one toke over the line.”

What all these have in common is that they are marketed to you to help alleviate your stress, your weight gain and now your aches and pains. Appealing to our vanity, to our fight with gravity and to our sneaking suspicion that with the right mixture of substances all will be well. And of course, the authoritative seal of “it is safe” or the moniker “medical” marijuana puts us at ease.

But marijuana, is neither safe nor medical. Back in the halcyon days of diet pills and sedatives, the drugs were titrated, so you could start at a low dose and work your way up to the max milligram. With today’s cannabis you start out at the max buzz. We have plenty of evidence of how unsafe marijuana is, particularly today’s formulation which has often 90-100% THC (the psychoactive substance in marijuana). Back in the groovy 70’s, a joint with 20% THC would have been “the best weed EVER”! The potency of the drug is causing all sorts of mental health problems and physical illnesses as well. And there are zero double-blind clinical studies that have been peer reviewed to support any medical uses of the stuff that is sold at the ever-ubiquitous dispensaries. And of course, the Cannabis industry and Big Pharma, are betting on you smoking lots of weed, getting the munchies, gaining lots of weight, and then purchasing the new class of weight-loss drugs. Give ‘em credit, they do know how to make money.

So rather than crooning for “Mother’s Little Helper”, take a lesson from Ringo: “No, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more. I’m tired of waking up on the floor…”


Fr. John B