Health, Illness, Pharmaceuticals and Peak Oil

By pyranablade on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 - 7:31pm

I posted this in another group. I'm 47 years old, but my discussion topic is more relevant to older audiences:


I've seen Peak Oil videos that state that modern medications are made with petrochemicals.

The implication seems to be that once the SHTF there will be no more medications - except maybe for what you grow yourself.

That didn't bother me until the last few days when I learned that I'll be taking one medication on a long-term basis. The alternative is horrible pain at the very least.

I'm going to stock up with about 6 months worth of my medication. I may try to use some herbal alternatives too. But this is a topic that others must be dealing with. Others must have done some research on what is likely to happen to the pharmaceutical industry as things go downhill. Or at least you may have thought about how you'll handle it when it comes.




Terry L's picture
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Addressing pharmaceutical shortages (and more) after TSHTF

Jeff, I'm glad you brought this up on PP. This certified elder is taking 2 prescription pain meds concurrently, so the question of what to do for pain relief when the pharmaceutical supply chains fail (for whatever reason), is certainly one I've pondered. Beyond stockpiling meds, I didn't have any other ideas... before today.

What happened today? I received this book I'd ordered: "The Knowledge," subtitled "How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch." Before ordering it, I'd already read a downloaded sample on my Kindle, which was sufficient to convince me of the soundness of the author's impressive credentials and approach. For more info, go to:

I had yet to open the book at the time I came across your post. But prompted by your dilemma, I found pain relief in the book's index, and felt rewarded by the author's explanations for how various drugs are derivable from plants, including analgesics (e.g., willow bark for salicylic acid, chillis for capsaicin, mint for menthol, and poppies for opium)! I don't know about you, but I'm now more optimistic with regards to post-SHTF pain relief than I was before.

From what I've read so far, I'd recommend your consideration of this book, and not just for the content on pain relief! As an excerpt from the front flap says: "In The Knowledge, the brilliant British scientist Lewis Dartnell synthesizes a staggering amount of information into nothing less than a step-by-step guide to jump-starting modern technological civilization." I don't think you - or other PPers - will be disappointed.

Jeff, what other post-SHTF challenges might you be stumped by? Please post! You might be surprised by the potential solutions other PPers could point you to :)


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Pain medications post SHTF

All narcotics are derived from, or are synthesized modifications of compounds that come from poppies. I might learn how to grow them.  The chance of addiction is quite high in a subset of people, however.  

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SandPuppy :)

DEA has feelings about using these plants for non-ornamental use but of course laws change so we shall see. Here are some cases but I cannot find the actual legislation.

Please know we are already somewhat in the SHTF stage when it comes to some medication shortages:

Good topic.


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The plot thickens

Thanks for your comments.

Terry, the book you recommend (The Knowledge) is now on my desk. I'll certainly be reading the chapter on medicine.

Good links VeganD.


I was purposely vague in my original post. General comments are probably the best to start a thread of comments. But since the ball is rolling, let me get a little more specific about my own concern.

The medication that I'm taking is Flomax. You see it on TV ads featuring (old) men having a good time. For some it is just a capsule that keeps you from having to pee every 2 hours. Others of us need it in a more serious way. The fact that they advertise it might be a plus for me - it is probably available in large quantities.

The herbal alternative is saw palmetto root. I haven't researched that yet, but I doubt that it grows in the north where I live. And, in a lot of cases - including mine - I'm thinking western medicine is the preferred way to go if it is available.

Anyway, if anybody has anything to add I'd be glad to hear it.



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can you grow or store it?

Dear pyranablade,

My understanding is that saw palmetto works for some folks I know. It's like other herbal remedies: unless it works ALL the time, physicians are reluctant to suggest it. . Here is how studies seem to think it operates. Other studies found it no more effective than a placebo.

Few side effects or allergic reactions are associated with saw palmetto extract use. The most common are gastrointestinal, some of which may be reduced by taking the extract with food. Use may increase the risk of bleeding or affect sex hormones, and concurrent use of other drugs with similar action should be avoided.

Beta-sitosterol, a chemical present in saw palmetto extract, is chemically similar to cholesterol. High levels of sitosterol concentrations in blood have correlated with increased severity of heart disease in men who previously suffered heart attacks - Wikipedia

Here is it's native range. If you have a climate like the Southeastern USA - the green areas below--you can grow it or maybe in a solarium (sunroom, greenhouse) next to your Meyer Lemon tree.

Saw Palmetto extract only has a shelf life of two years.

pyranablade's picture
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Thanks Wendy

In the short run, I'm going to go with western medicine.

Very helpful to know that stuff though.



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Alternative Transportation Ideas for Rural Seniors/Elders

I'm trying to research whether an adult tricycle might be a good fit for my situation.  our community is poor (& getting poorer) so there's minimal public transportation, which i believe will become less and less available due to funding issues. 

my husband and i live on a small farm (in the Pacific Northwest).  we live about 10 miles from the nearest town, which is pretty small.  the roads between our place and town are all 2-lane. i have a friend about 3 to 5 miles away (on the way into town) who sells me produce every week---it would be nice to have a way to get to her place w/o driving every time.  the idea of an adult tricycle appeals because they usually have at least one basket, which could hold the produce i buy from my friend.  

given the current world situation (oil situation, contracting economy, etc), i'm trying to come up with alternative transportation ideas, esp those that don't involve gasoline or electricity.  i have vestibular problems which keep me from riding a 2 wheel bike & i'm now in my early 60s.  i realize that eventually bikes/trikes may become obsolete due to their parts.  however, in the nearer future, they may make sense, at least in some situations.

has anyone in this discussion group (or other discussion groups on PP) addressed alternative transportation for seniors/elders who live in the country?  i *really* hope to stay in the country if at all possible; i have concerns about the municipal infrastructure (such as city water and sewer services), as well as their currently rising costs (at least in our area). 

seems like as the economic crisis (in my opinion it's a crisis) accelerates, there may be less traffic on the roads, making it a bit safer for people to use bikes. 

Any thoughts or ideas about this?


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A trike would be very viable

A trike would be very viable for seniors, as long as you could keep it in good repair. My grandfather rode his trike around his small town until a week before he died ... at age 96.


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Sustainability : Higher Education's New Fundamentalism

I'm a member of The National Association of Scholars (NAS) which seeks to sustain the tradition of reasoned scholarship and civil debate in America’s colleges and universities.  It is well established that college facultties are overwhelmingly liberal in their politics and that they, either deliberately or inadvertently, influence the beliefs and political orientation of students.  Rather than encouraging free inquiry and the non judgmental exchange of ideas, academia is more commonly intolerant and dismissive of conservative opinions. 

In March 2015 NAS published a report on Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism. True to the current climate in American colleges, faculty has given its total support to Sustainability, as it did with Climate Change.  There is no reasoned consideration given to its enforcement in either monetary terms, the availability of natural resources, the global cooperation of nations, or the civil liberties of our global population.

Although I support the goals of sustainability when willingly adopted by individual citizens who understand the variables in their limited environment, I do not support a global imposition of unproven standards on unwilling citizens.  Civil liberties are more important than the imposition of  standards when SO LITTLE is known of the variables involved in sustainability.  Just as in climate science, little is known about a subject as vast as the climate of planet earth.  We do not know enough about long term sustainability to impose rigid laws on an unwilling public.

 If we are good stewards of natural resources, then sustainability should follow.  The United States has enforceable environmental laws. But a global effort is required for long term sustainability, just as for long term protection of the environment.  But we can't even enforce our environmental standards on the entire globe.  We've seen that the Chinese can barely breathe in their polluted areas near factories and are unwilling to impose strict environmental laws.

My husband was a scientist, a geologist with the USGS, who scoffed at the idea that man knows enough about nature's variables to impose his will on Earth's climate.  The behavior of the sun, the oceans, volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural phenomena are quite unpredictable -- as is climate change.  

I believe the same is true of global sustainability.  We have neither the knowledge nor the power to enforce a global effort.  We only have the hubris of our academic faculties.   See for the text of this article.

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Arthur Robey
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I Disagree Noetic

And I thank you for raising the subject

On a ship on the ocean the captain's decision is final. Even though he may be not have perfect knowledge. 

We cannot go back to a more innocent time, now that we know that in fact we are aboard a very small ship in a vast and hostile ocean. 

Our freedoms in this case are secondary to our survival. The moral issues are clear.

Yes that little dot is our ship.


Source NASA

skipr's picture
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medication and bikes

I'm 68 and my medication problems are primarily for an epileptic condition.  Right now they would put a serious crimp in my wallet if it wasn't for Medicare and my Supplemental plan.  I'm therefore considering corrective brain surgery in order to eliminate the blackouts and seizures that would occur without them.  I better do it soon before Medicare disappears.  All but one of the others can be replaced with a healthier diet and more exercise.  I wonder if the pharmacies would allow me to stock up on them before TSHTF.

As far as bikes and trikes go, I have ridden many different types.  I have owned mountain bikes, recumbents, and road bikes, but haven't ridden a trike.  They may be good in a rural area since their lack of visibility on larger city streets is scary.  They look like they are well suited to carry groceries etc.  A trailer may be a good alternative if you are riding a mountain or road bike.  I used to own one that could carry more than 200 pounds.  It was a significant tug though.  I would go for two grocery bag sized panniers on a road/mountain bike.  In the longer term I think you better be able to ride around with muddy and heavily pitted roads since we are probably past peak oil and, therefore, peak asphalt.  Mountain bikes will rule.  I doubt that bikes will disappear.  The amount of energy needed to make them is orders of magnitude below that required for cars etc etc.  About 20 years ago a friend went on a business trip to China.  When he got back he had a lot of stories about how a long string of bikers would somehow snake around the occasional car that would pass by.  I bet things are a lot different now.

I'm also looking into relocating to the northwest.  The northern end of the Olympic Peninsula is my #1 choice right now.  30 years ago I biked through there during my Seattle-San Francisco bike trip.  I was originally trying to get down to LA in 3 weeks.  I had to ride 80 miles a day to do it.  My relatives kept me too well fed, so I quit in SF.

rheba's picture
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bike option

Hi there - I gave up conventional bikes 20 years ago. You can get a recumbent trike with really good granny gears. If you don't have to contend with hills you will be fine. The two wheels will be on the front and you will be in a comfortable semi-reclining position. Look at

If you have hills or are weaker you might try putting on a RideKick trailer. I don't like electric bikes because they are heavy, they break down, bike guys hate to repair them etc. But with a trailer if you break down you pull the trailer off and chain it to a tree and ride home. Get the LiFePo battery, maybe two of them if you need to travel long distances.

That is my solution after 20 years of research, much wasted money.... You should expect to spend about what you would for a decent older used car.

Yoxa's picture
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Adult trike

 haven't ridden a trike.  They may be good in a rural area

Yes. My grandfather had a trike which he rode around our small town for years. The terrain around here is mostly flat so it worked well unless winter weather got too difficult.

It had a big basket for carrying things, and of course balance was a lot more stable than it would have been with a two-wheeler.

The trike let him keep some independence once he was past driving a car. His last errand with the trike was less than a week before he died at age 96.

I don't have a trike yet but it's on my preps wish list.

skipr's picture
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Posts: 168
more recumbents

I got into recumbents right after finishing that Seattle-San Francisco trip in 81.  I nearly got butt blisters after 6 days on that road bike.  I had to stand on the peddles all day during the 7th day.  The Avatar 2000 is what I bought after getting back:

No more butt blisters, numb hands, sore neck etc etc with it.  I still have it, though it wouldn't be safe to ride now.  When I retired it I got this Vision R40:

I consider it the best recumbent ever made.  Unfortunately they went out of business after building a factory just before the dot com downturn.

While I was walking the dogs a guy on a trike passed by.  He was really close to the ground.  I would want a very bright flashing strobe light located as high as possible if I were to get one.

Edwardelinski's picture
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Gallbladder Challenge:

I have a place on the Cape.The price Martenson pays for insurance is standard in MA.Last year I needed a Gallbladder scan.Being Peak I decided to shop the price for the scan given the deductable.One hospital quoted me in the neighborhood of 600.00The other around 800.00.The billing dept was pissed that I even asked.Here is the rub,The holding company owns both hospitals.It gets better,6 weeks later I get a bill from Brigham and Williams  to the tune of 900.00.When the results come back they tell me immediate removal.I decide to consult off cape.The surgeon tells me not immediate or in the future.Not now or ever did i need the Ivy League consult for the gallbladder.They thought I did, operating under the guise of caring.The 10,000 surgery has not happened..And I am OK...

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elder living

I have/use an adult tricycle, and I really love it! I realize this comment is about 3 years after yours! LOL

rheba's picture
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Posts: 74
Elder Living and recumbent trikes

I still ride my recumbent trike. Hills are still hard and help with bike repair is getting harder to come by. The cost of living is so high that young people can't afford to make/repair bikes

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