Letter from Old Sarge Regarding Prescription Drugs

Sir : You mentioned this subject on an earlier blog post, but I think it is so important that I would like to see it addressed.

Post-TEOTWAWKI, we will probably be on our own for an extended period of time, and dependent on our knowledge and training, much of which can be garnered here at this excellent website.

My question is: how can we find out which medicines – antibiotics, pain relievers, etc., acquired legitimately of course, are appropriate to our survival situation? I understand your general provisos and accept them, but how do we “snuffys” get this info which is so critical to our survival? In my personal experience, the vast majority of medical professionals are unwilling to say much due to liability, etc.

My questions would be: Which of each Rx is recommended, how much of each, and the realistic storage life if kept cool, dark, and dry – like in a survival stash. Diagnosis and dosage can be ascertained by a survivalist pro (medically trained), or medical manual (like the Merck Manuals), or PDR, or personal experience.

I would encourage any medical pro, and I’m sure several must read this blog, to contribute to the rest of us. When it’s post-WTSHTF, we’ll be your only patients!!

Semper Fi, – Old Sarge

JWR’s Reply:
Regarding, herbal medicines, I recommend the book From The Shepherd’s Purse. Another useful resource is Michael Moore‘s website (coincidently mentioned in another letter today). Regarding prescription drugs, I concur that get every reader should get a copy of the latest edition of the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR). A full set of the Merck Manuals is another must. OBTW, I mention several other highly recommended medical references on my Bookshelf page, including:

  • American Red Cross First Aid
  • Where There is No Doctor, by David Werner
  • Where There is No Dentist, by Murray Dickson
  • Emergency War Surgery (NATO handbook) Dr. Martin Fackler, et al.

My philosophy is to store as many medical supplies as I can afford, and, as they near their near their expiration dates to rotate them out–donating the old stocks to medical missionaries.

There are some approaches that can be taken to minimize the frequency/expense of rotation. Some items such as isopropyl alcohol and baking soda essentially have no expiration date. I tend toward the old-fashioned method of bandaging wounds–using separate gauze and bandage tape rather than modern self adhesive bandages. Since gauze stores indefinitely, all that I need to do is buy a few fresh rolls of bandage tape once every two or three years. And BTW, if you ever find a medical (ultra-cold) freezer for sale as surplus, jump on it!

I am confident that one of the several doctors that regularly read this blog will e-mail me some other references and specific recommendations on exact varieties and quantities of medications to store. (For their privacy I will of course keep their comments anonymous.)