Studies claim that adding drugs to drinking water could result in cognitive enhancement for the long-term betterment of society. This hypothesis has its roots in the successful fluoridation of water now hailed by some as a “tremendous human advancement.”
More recently, studies are showing that adding trace amounts of lithium to the public drinking water supply could limit suicides. This drug, which is normally used to combat bipolar disorder, some say could do for suicide what fluoride did for cavities. According to the studies, communities with naturally lower levels of lithium in their drinking water have higher suicide rates than those with higher lithium levels. Scientists claim that the levels in fortified water are too low to be of any harm to humans. However, this claim has also been made about water fluoridation, in spite of the evidence that links fluoride to neurological defects, blindness, bone cancer and thyroid problems.
Opponents of water enhancement argue that lithium is far more dangerous than fluoride. Conspiracy theorists also claim that adding drugs to drinking water could result in a population much like that envisioned in Aldous Huxley’s famous novel Brave New World. Huxley predicts a future dictatorship in which the mass medication of society renders people complacent with slavery and less likely to revolt against the political regime. Whether or not this is likely to occur, we must consider that the automatic fortification of drinking water – with fluoride, lithium, or any other chemicals – is an infringement on the right of humans to give informed consent to medical intervention. Proponents of mass medication say the opposite – suggesting that our right to lithium-free water is no greater than our right to lithium-enhanced water, and that those opposed to it can simply drink bottled water (which opens up an entirely different can of worms…). What do you think? Should the government add fluoride, lithium, or any other drugs to our drinking water? Vote on this issue in our latest poll!