No, this has very little to do with our Grandpa in the human form, but a seemingly “harmless” powder consumed by millions of people every day.

Grandpa as a pain reliever for toothache especially seems pretty harmless. If you don’t abuse the pain reliever especially in its powdered form it can help in an instant. In fact, it’s always been marketed that way. In its powdered form, Grandpa seems like the ideal, instant pain reliever. It tastes foul though but you will soon discover should you continue to use it that the taste doesn’t matter anymore or rather you become accustomed to it. It’s not as harmless as it seems though.

To be fair, all OTC (over the counter) medications or self-help medications do come with a standard warning not to use continually for more than 10 days. But how many people firstly bother to read the precaution before ingesting it? Not very many.

Cigarette boxes have a compulsory “smoking is bad for your health” sign in big bold letters that you can’t fail to read. It’s all over the box.

Grandpa and any other OTC pain medication including addictive cough syrups not so much. The warning is discreetly on the side and as humans, if we don’t see huge warning signs in big letters, we are unlikely to consider it dangerous. Our reasoning may simply be that it can’t be that bad. It’s as if we are expecting people who manufacture these products, to be honest with us as consumers and frankly that is not what being in business is about. Big business gives you the warning and expects you as an adult to realize how serious it can become. 

Grandpa is sold in the biggest supermarket chains to the smallest spaza shop run from someone’s garage. There are no statistics on just how addictive this powder is, but it is addictive.

Ask anyone you know about Grandpa or where to get it and chances are, they would know.

Again, I don’t have the actual figures, but I do know that growing up Grandpa has been the “go-to” pain reliever.

What I have discovered is that it is being used to soothe emotional and mental pain and all sorts of abuse that have very little to do with its intended use. It is used to “hide” painful memories of childhood and long-lasting hurts that have not been confronted.

The addiction is far from anecdotal, yet the sales of Grandpa continue as if it is “harmless.” Nothing consumed in excess is harmless, but OTC pain relievers are not treated as addictions such as heroin and or alcohol. Instead, it is treated as something that people can simply stop taking even when it demonstrates just how bad it is for your body and your colon especially.

Our grandparents consumed it like sweets, our parents did too and now it is our turn.

It is the one thing handed down generationally as if it’s a family heirloom.

Grandpa can’t heal generational trauma, yet it is used for that.

Grandpa can’t heal childhood abuses, yet we consume it as if it is therapy.

Maybe it dulls the senses and makes us forget the pain inside of us, but the long-term effects are devastating to our health.

We need to have rehabilitation from the addiction to these “harmless” drugs and we need to have campaigns like the anti-tobacco ones to make people understand the seriousness of this type of addiction. Warnings on packs should be bold and visible and urgently needs to be legislated like the warnings on cigarette boxes.

Hopefully, then people will hesitate before simply taking that first powder as if it was indeed given by our loving Grandpa.